Monday, September 25, 2017

Review: Burger Bar fails to cut the mustard

There is a common fallacy among gourmands and uninspired restaurant critics that a small menu is a mark of a good restaurant. Fewer dishes equals better dishes is the oft-repeated mantra. After all, a restaurant that specialises in only one thing must sure as hell be good at it – right? In many cases, of course, this is true. But in just as many it isn’t, and should evidence of this fact be needed you’ll find it at this week’s restaurant.

Photos: Facebook / Burger BarPhotos: Facebook / Burger Bar

Burger Bar, the hype-laden new diner on Bo Yar Nyunt Street, specialises in burgers. Four kinds of burgers, to be exact: three if you account for the veggie burgers that weren’t available when we visited, and two if you arrived after my guests and I ate the last two beef burgers. Not because the place was packed with ravenous, beef-munching burger fiends, I should add: There were just only ever two.

If you’re one of those people who go to burger restaurants to not eat burgers, you’re in luck: There are also several wraps on the menu (K5000). Sadly though that’s as far as your luck extends, as they’re pretty dismal. The bread itself is soft, floury and delicious, but the filling in our sausage wrap was made with an overly sweet, overly concentrated sauce that tasted suspiciously like canned tomato puree. The spicy chicken wrap, the night’s special, was decidedly better, with a creamy, coronation-chicken-esque flavour – though not particularly spicy and perhaps a bit heavy on the curry seasoning.

For a place that has made burgers its brand, the beef burgers (K6000) were disappointing. The first was served stone cold and was cast aside after a few bites, uneaten. One would like to think this cardinal sin was a one-off, though it seems unlikely since our double bacon bites (K2500) – “mini” bacon buns filled with so much mayonnaise we mistook it for sour-tasting cheese – were also cold.

Thankfully the second burger, served hot, was much better: The buns were superb, the beef patties, if slightly lacking in flavour, were thick and succulent, and I suspect the cheese wasn’t bad either – it’s just a shame we weren’t able to taste it through the masses of sickly burger sauce smeared all over it. The fluffy hand-cut French fries (K1500) also have the potential to be excellent, if only the insides of some of them weren’t raw – the second bowl we ordered was almost completely uncooked.

With its graffiti walls and cool aesthetic, Burger Bar has the air of a place that doesn’t consider the fact it seems to know nothing about burgers to be a problem. Heck, perhaps it isn’t: aspirational teenagers make up a larger market in Yangon than gourmet-burger-eating food snobs, and to them at least, the straight-outta-Brooklyn vibe is sure to appeal. After all, teenagers will eat anything.

If it’s going to appeal to the burger fetishists, however, Burger Bar has a long way to go: Serving the food hot and not being so Jackson Pollock with the burger sauce would be a good start. With a few simple tweaks, it might even pass as an above-average burger joint. Still, as my guest aptly put it, you’d be forgiven for expecting more from a place that only has to get one thing right.

Burger Bar
59B Bo Yar Nyunt Street, Dagon township

Restaurant Rating: 2/5 stars
Food: 5
Beverage: n/a
Service: 6
Value: 5
X-factor: 2
Tax sticker: Y

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