Manila will probably never tire of burger joints. After all, a great burger is permanent in the holy grail of comfort food. It’s like a vacation: the first thing Iron Man requests after being released from his captors, and one of comic character Jughead Jones’ most favorite things in the world.
Burger Bar in Greenbelt has been satiating Makati’s appetite for juicy burgers since late last year. It can be likened to the fictional Pop Tate’s Chock’lit Shoppe in the Archie Comic books where Archie and the gang would usually hang out. Located on the second floor, above NamNam Restaurant, Burger Bar continues to draw people from all walks of life with the promise of an authentic burger experience soda shop style.
Despite being a burger place, Burger Bar also serves bar chow favorites such as nachos, fries and other deep fried goodies. A must-try is their Loaded Tex-Mex Ground Beef Nachos (P330).
Loaded Tex-Mex Ground Beef Nachos
Generously topped with beans, ground beef, jalapeno, salsa, grated cheese and avocado chunks, these nachos may very well satisfy three big appetites. Heaped on a plate, with every chip crunchy and fresh, it’s a beautiful picture of what real nachos should be.
Another great appetizer is their Onion Rings (P80). I’ve never been a fan of onion rings because of their greasiness and ability to taste anything but onions. Burger Bar’s version easily remedied that with their golden brown rings embraced by a delicate barbecue flavor.
Leave it for a half hour or so, and you’ll see that these crisp rings do not succumb to excess oil and sogginess. They remain flavorful, with a crunch that is reminiscent of crispy fries. By far, these are the best onion rings I’ve tasted in Manila.
Survey the menu further and you’ll notice these ratings: GP and R18. This is Burger Bar’s code for their meal add-ons. Make your meal Rated GP and add P85 to get skinny fries and a soda. If you want something more explicit, make it R18 by adding P105 to get skinny fries and a local beer, or P190 for skinny fries and imported beer.
Big on letting their guests customize and experiment, Burger Bar devotes an entire page on their menu to properly give instruction to making the burger you desire for only P185.
Here’s a quick DIY:
- Select your choice of bun: sesame seed, brioche or Kaiser. – A Brioche bun has high egg and butter content, making it slightly puffy and giving it a rich crumb, while the Kaiser is crusty and has a slightly chewy exterior. Everyone’s familiar with a sesame seed bun, of course. Not too keen on carbs? Skip it and request for the bun to be replaced with lettuce instead. They will gladly oblige because it’s your burger and you’re the boss.
- Next, pick your toppings. Burger Bar makes these available: fresh red tomatoes, white onions, crisp lollo rossa lettuce, pickles, ketchup, mustard and mayo. My recommendation? Pile on the veggies and choose one to two condiments.
- Finally, choose your beef from among these:
The Beef Bomb – chuck + short rib
The Steak Cut – sirloin + chuck
The Big Game – hanger + brisket
The House Blend – secret mix, but trust it to be real meat sans extenders!
For those too lazy to think and customize, there are ready-made variants of the classics and “artisanal” burgers.
Hankering for a hearty meal of the good old kind? Trust the ever-reliable Double Cheeseburger (P285) to reacquaint you with your love affair with burgers. It has everything an American cheeseburger should have – tender beef patties grilled to medium, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese nestled between perfectly toasted sesame seed buns.
Grab it with both your hands, sink your teeth into it, and know bliss.
“Burger connoisseurs” raring to try something new will find The Rising Shroom (P280/single patty, P375/double patty) intriguing.
The Rising Shroom
A couple of oyster mushroom tempura puffs sit atop the steak cut blend of mustard-fried sirloin and chuck patty. White truffle creamed cheese and sautéed mushrooms are slathered in between them. The gourmet masterpiece is embraced by a toasted Kaiser roll. If you love the smoky, almost meaty taste inherent in mushrooms, you will revel in this creation.
Burger Bar deemed June milkshake month, introducing a slew of fanciful milkshake varieties such as Key Lime Pie Milkshake, Speculoos Cookie Butter Milkshake, Red Wine Milkshake, and Turkish Coffee Milkshake, to name a few.
We tried the Nutella Milkshake, which was served thick with cornflakes on top. Although it only tasted vaguely of hazelnuts, the milkshake did a good job of cleansing our palate off the savory things we’ve eaten. It’s creamy, almost like melted ice cream, and the crunch of the cornflakes provided a good break from the dense concoction.
My favorite dessert in Burger Bar is there Black & White Banana Split (P135). Served in a jar, fresh banana slices are combined with chunks of chocolate brownies, vanilla and chocolate ice cream, topped with caramel sauce, whipped cream, peanuts and strawberry syrup – just remembering it makes my mouth water.
Black & White Banana Split
Unlike Jughead Jones, who remains svelte despite his (non-)diet of burgers and shakes, I have a normal metabolism to reckon with. Indulging once in a while is what makes life worthwhile, though, and Burger Bar is just the place for a cheat day. After all, those calories are too precious to waste on mediocre food.