I have great admiration for the entrepreneurs of the recent burgers fad. Some are young F &B first timers, some are veterans in the industry and some are well, opportunists looking into making good money with the recent craze.
But whatever their motivations are, I’m only interested in the end product – are their burgers worth the calories and money?
At the recent, and I must say the most “memorable” and pomp launch to date for a burger joint, I asked Mr Will Soh, the founder of Smashies Burger in Setapak, KL why he decided on a burger joint.
And his story goes like this.
To be frank his story is pretty cliche. But I guess all of us (or most) have this little dream of having our own cafe/F&B business don’t we? Or being able to quit our jobs to establish our own business or to do whatever we like.
For Mr Soh, I guess his dream has materialized. His first burger joint “Smashies Burger” opened months back and at the recent launch he even had President Obama in town to officiate the event!
Here is Mr President “swearing in” with his hand over a burger.
All in all, it was in the name of fun. You don’t actually think it is the real President Obama do you? 😀
The political icon representation was in homage to the recent independence day of USA, birthplace of the original burger some 273 years ago.
I thought it was a rather creative marketing strategy, and having attended many events & launches myself, it was definitely memorable; press releases in a file with a rather cute clip, pretty info-graphics as per the ones you see above and the menu below, casino chips as tokens for our next visit and a very well-written story of how Mr Will Soh started Smashies Burger.
But at the end of the day, did the burgers match the hype?
I had a beef, chicken and a lamb burger. I didn’t finish every single one of course, though I would have if it was good. My Happy Cow (beef) probably just had a dip in the Dead Sea and was missing the bacon. The lamb was much more palatable, though I had to pick out tendons or some chewy bits (sinew probably) from the patty with every bite. I was thankful for the mint sauce. The chicken burger, the one fowl burger I tried was probably the best, since it didn’t involve much other than cooking the chicken, slapping on some sauce and topping it with the ever-friendly ingredient of sweet pineapple and an egg.
Lately I had learned not to expect much when local F & B outlets proudly print “caramelized onions” on their menu.
BEEF: Happy Cow (16.99). Salty and greasy.
Caramelized onions. Yea…
It was too peppery for me too. By the way, every burger comes with a standard 120 grams patty.
CHICKEN: Hot Chicks. Red bun, cheese, pineapple, egg and hot sauce (essentially BBQ sauce).
I took a bite just for sample and it was decent. The real owner of the burger David enjoyed it.
LAMB: Watch Your Back (RM17.99) – Green tea bun, lamb, cheese.
Similarly to the beef, the lamb is a 120gram patty and cooked using the “smash technique”. Like I have mentioned earlier, the mint sauce really helped for flavour.
Most of the sauces used (and there seem to be liberal amount of it on every burger) are commercially bought. I’m not the biggest fan of greasy burgers or mayonnaise, so I can’t say I like any of the burgers here very much.
At least the patties are cooked right though, retaining the moisture and pink insides. Dry patties are worse.
The buns itself aren’t bad. The orange ones are orange flavoured, green is green tea, red is red yeast, yellow for lentils and black for well, what else but charcoal.
Here’s the menu and prices. I must admit the names are really creative! 🙂
During our chat Mr Will revealed a bit of his expansions plans for Smashies Burger. He explained that the principle and methods of preparations as well as his recipes are modeled for ease of scalability. Thus there won’t be homemade sauces, in-house baked buns and any time/labour intensive type of prep work.
For those who rarely venture to the Setapak/Genting Klang area, fret not as his other outlets (maybe PJ?) should be ready within 6 months if not sooner. Mr Will is after all, a shrew businessman with an investment banking background with more than 20 years in the financial industries both locally and abroad.
While I think his kitchen need some work, his marketing strategies (a very professional PR team is assisting him at the moment) and business sense appears to be very sound. Like I said, I admire all the entrepreneurs of the recent burger fad. In Mr Will’s case, you can take the banker out from the bank but not the banker out from the man? LOL!
The race is on. Watch out as Smashies Burgers may be popping up near your neighbourhood and in malls soon! 🙂
Lot 126-G-5, Metro Genting, Jalan Genting Klang, Setapak
53300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
12.30 – 11.30pm Daily.