[Weekend Pick]: Potato Head Folk for killer burgers and cocktails

It's Friday. What could be more perfect than grounded meat seared to Maillard reaction glory between two sweet slices of buns? Maybe that old-fashioned you're holding in your other hand while studying the bewitching cross-sectional view of the burger. A burger is a simple premise, but doing them well is a dark art. For me, Potato Head Folk has always been on my radar (view here and here) and in a world where consistency is scarce, repeated visits have proven their culinary pedigree.

But first, the illicit goods.

On the 3rd floor of the heritage building is the newly revamped Studio 1939. Bearing slight tiki vibes from the jungle decor, the swanky marble counter and red leather bound books as decor leads to the bar defying classification. Threading a similar path, the menu features an oddball collection of ambitious drinks, many of them paying homage to local flavours.

I'm not gong to talk you out of ordering the Hyde N Seek ($21) to start.  Inspired by heritage buildings in Singapore, this perfect sundowner beverage combines orange blossom water, Tanqueray Gin, yellow watermelon juice, a splash of midori, lime juice and sugar syrup. Refreshing and very well received, especially after a 3-floor climb to Studio 1939. New on the cocktail menu is Internal Healing ($20), a lively concoction that may just be the next best thing in healing the soul of its bastard patchy work after a horrible heart break. A twist on the Tommy's Margarita, pineapple juice adds a tropical dash of acidity to the mix while cilantro boost a savoury edge. For some who have don't have a penchant for cilantro, these flavours rhapsodised may be a tad hard to grasp but adventurous palates will definitely gravitate towards this beverage.

I let out a purr when my eyes brushed across the opening act - a menu of Old Fashioned variations. Stiggings Fancy ($22) reads like a dream, it is fortified by the fact that Trigona honey, one of its components is extremely rare and expensive. Derived from a stingless bee, this liquid gold is twice as nutritious and has tons of medicinal values. Here at Studio 1939, it gives an undeniable heft to the rum old fashioned. It's musky sweetness commanding your attention. Make sure to save space for the rest of the old fashioned on the menu; imaginative and weird on paper, they are the perfect tipples for minds who value diversity.

Hyde N Seek - Gin, orange blossom water, watermelon juice, lime juice

As you warm your bar seat, peruse the food menu, because I'm sure the smells wafting through the lounge will raise some cause for food envy. Burgers, hot dogs and fries done with a flourish are the order of the day. If it's just a light bite you're after, the perennial favourite of Naughty Fries are a must. Above blistered hand-cut chips is an alluringly sloppy mess of hot beef chilli, formaggio oro del maso, spiced béarnaise and crisp fried shallots - sounds messy? Sure is, otherwise also known as a profusion of brilliance.

If you're leaning towards the turgid sausage casing instead of loose mince, the hotdogs here aim to please. The D.O. Double G is an umami bomb of flavours, miso mustard, ketchup, crisp bawang, onion relish over 100g prime beef frankfurter. Inhaled that a little too fast? Well, get another, the Truffle Hound comes highly recommended. It's definitely not a sloppy, intoxicant fuelled afterthought to crunch all things delicious on that humble sausage and bun set up though it sounds a hell lot like it Roasted portobello mushrooms, garlic and miso butter, true aioli (who's to say no?) and melted cheese leads to familiar but unexpected. Yes, Potato Head Folk has done the impossible of pimping out the hotdog.

The same can't be said about the Burning Rice which weighed down like a brick in the tummy. Packed rice (which had a glutinous rice semblance) has cheese draped over its bulging belly, a trail of big poppa hot sauce jet sets your taste buds to spicy town. It has no place in a burger and cocktail joint and to get me to eat this again, I'd need to be pitch forked.

I would describe the new Watermelon Man ($19) as remarkable. Watermelon compressed in garlic, chili, anise and vanilla salt comes with oozy Quader de Cavra cheese and 150g of black Angus beef. Call it stoner food or comfort food, but at the end of the day, its the type of stuff you don't just respect but crave. Move along now watermelon cake, watermelon burgers are here to stay.

The Fun Boy Three ($23) looks vulnerable on a plate, but hey, hear the words garlic and miso butter and portobello mushroom will sound like music to the potentially inebriate you. That's till you realise the roasted portobello mushrooms steals the limelight from the beautifully seared patty itself. Perhaps the good folks should experiment with a breaded shroom burger filled with the likes of melted cheese.  Yay or nay?

With mellow music in the air, this dimly lit dining room cum bar becomes an oasis of calm away from the cacophony of the ever-developing foodscape of the Keong Saik precinct. Come here, whisper sweet nothings about that burger in hand and nurse your old fashioned with oily paws. It's okay. Perfection is overrated. A little sloppiness shows vulnerability. Live real.

Studio 1939 at PTT Head Folk
36 Keong Saik Road
t: 6327 1939

Operating Hours:
Daily (except Monday): 5pm onwards

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