What makes a perfect burger? The meat-to-fat ratio in the patty, one could argue. The special sauce, another could say. The right balance of molten cheese and crunchy vegetable toppings to complement that meat patty, even.
And yet, it’s the bun itself that almost always end up overlooked. It’s an issue that has driven Omakase Burger founder and owner Cheng Hsin Yao and his team to find the final piece of the puzzle after six years of serving up pretty excellent American-style smashed burgers. The jigsaw finally fell into place — what was needed to make their burgers better was the choice of utilizing Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls, the bun that has helped to propel chefs and restaurants into cult acclaim.
It may not look like much, but the innocuous, pillowy-soft buns make a helluva difference. A brand born in Pennsylvania in the ‘50s, Martin’s potato rolls are made with enriched wheat flour, wheat gluten, nonfat dry milk, sugar, sunflower oil, yeast, butter, and the ever important potato starch. The result is a slightly sweeter flavor of bread and a springy texture, while the usage of potato starch allows it to retain more water and stay fresh for longer.
Shake Shack swear by Martin’s potato rolls, with the burger chain’s culinary director finding that the buns are the perfect vehicle to cradle the meat as it absorbed its juices and didn’t become soggy. Celebrity chefs including Momofuku’s David Chang and Bobby Flay of Bobby’s Burger Place utilize Martin’s potato roll; Serious Eats placed the rolls as the benchmark for great burger buns; the @breadfaceblog Instagram page kicked off with someone’s face being smushed into one of the brand’s distinctive buns.
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No smashing of faces into bread required here, even though you’d want to after taking a bite of Omakase Burger’s new-and-improved sandwiches. No doubt, Cheng is pretty chuffed his team managed to bring Martin’s potato rolls into Southeast Asia and Singapore for the first time.
“For years, we have been admiring the legendary Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls from afar. We even researched and developed two of our own buns, emulating many of its characteristics, giving our burgers their great taste,” Cheng enthused.
“Now, we are extremely thrilled that we have finally secured the bun of our dreams; one with the taste and body that best complements the beef patties made with our proprietary blend. It is the perfect burger bun and we are so excited to take our burgers to the next level with it,” says Cheng.
Now, we here in Singapore have no idea if Omakase’s burgers taste as great as Bangkok’s meticulously prepared Homeburg sandwiches, but we imagine it comes close. Using the right balance between four cuts of premium USDA Choice beef (chuck, short ribs, and two other secret selections), the juicy drips of the smashed, charred patties get locked in the toasted bread, creating bursts of flavor with every bite.
It’s a pleasant surprise to see that prices haven’t changed — the Omakase Cheeseburger remains the same at $16.90. Top up another three bucks and the burgers come with crispy Uncured Applewood Smoked Bacon. Another bit of good news: they’ve also added a new menu item, homemade chili cheese fries ($6.90), with the potato strips topped with beef chili seasoned with Mexican spices, black beans, and cheese sauce.
Omakase Burger is at Picnic Singapore, Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Road, #03-15-49.
Open daily 10am-10pm