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Deconstructing the winners of Phuket’s Best Burger 2019

Dining
By Amy Bryant

Saturday 27 April 2019, 10:00AM


Prime Burger – Phuket’s Best Burger

The lowdown
Winning an award is one thing, but taking away two trophies a mere month and a half after your restau­rant has opened? That’s a different league, and one that Prime Burger operates in. The joint’s Stockholm burger ranked first place in the ‘Phuket’s Best Burger 2019’ category, while their halloumi burger came a close second in the ‘Phuket’s Best Veg­etarian/Vegan Burger’ division.

Tobias Garneij, owner of Prime Burger in Patong, opened the restau­rant in mid-February. The memora­ble menu sees burgers named after famous cities around the world, each reflecting that city with flourishes in its ingredients: Bangkok with a spicy hit of pickled jalapenos; Paris with a generous helping of Dijon mus­tard; London with a mature Cheddar cheese. All are available in single, double and triple sizes; all wash down nicely with the imported beverages from around the world that line the walls of the restaurant.

The Stockholm burger, named after Tobias’ hometown, is their best seller. A ‘smashburger’, the beef is placed on the hot griddle in a ball and, well, smashed thin. In this way, the juiciness of the meat is retained while the outside is browned. As the true burger geeks reading this may already know, this is referred to as the Mail­lard reaction. The chemical reactions in the proteins and sugars produce new flavours, aromas and colours.

The implement used in this pro­cess – let’s call it a smasher – Tobias had custom made. The smasher is a stainless-steel circular press with a handle and ridges in the base to seal in the moisture. Smasher and elbow grease applied, the patties make their way to the plate, where they sit between a locally-baked, lightly-toasted potato bun and are topped with American cheese, mustard, pickled red onions, pickles, tomato, lettuce and the restaurant’s signa­ture Prime burger sauce.

Tobias insists there is no secret to making the best burger; it just boils down to quality ingredients, especial­ly beef. Prime Burger uses Austral­ian grass-fed Angus beef, 70% chuck, 30% brisket, that’s freshly ground every day.

The judges’ verdict
“The patty was just so well done: crispy outside, juicy but not greasy and perfectly seasoned. Then there’s the freshness of the ingredients. It was a well-balanced burger with a hint of creation in the homemade sauce.” – Vincent Meuwly, chef and owner of Le Winch restaurant

The details
Prime Burger is located on Level B1 of Central Patong, 198/9 Rat Uthit 200, Pi 1 Rd, Patong, Kathu, 83150.
www.primeburger.co.th
093 583 8700 Open every day 11am-11pm.


Le Meridien – Phuket's Best Vegetarian Burger

The lowdown
‘Phuket’s Best Vegetarian/Vegan Burger’ was a newly-introduced cat­egory in this year’s competition, and sceptics were sure to eat their words after eating the plant-based offerings.

Although Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort entered their soft-shell crab burger into the competition – which, with battered pincers poking out of the bun, is quite the culinary sight – it was their vegetarian burger that stole the show and saw them walk away with first prize.

The burger itself was conceptual­ised by chef de cuisine Kornrawich Charncharoensin who works under executive chef Hans Kahrs. Chef Kahrs oversees the resort’s 10 res­taurants and bars, in-room dining, banquets and catering. To make a burger this good, and simultaneously have so much else on his plate, is no mean feat. The burger itself reflects the diversity of the resort’s interna­tional cuisine with European, Indian and Thai influences.

A common criticism of the veg­etarian burger is its dryness, but Le Meridien swerve this by frying the patty instead of grilling it, and mix­ing mozzarella and parmesan into the patty itself which melts during the cooking process and oozes out with each bite. Chickpeas, sweet potato, cashew and pine nuts, avo­cado, spinach and coriander root are combined to make the patty. When it meets the butter brioche bun – which is croissant-like in appearance, a nod to Le Meridien’s French roots – and lettuce and tomato, the burger stands tall and begs to be eaten.

It packs a surprising punch too thanks to the hot basil and pepper that’s sprinkled on top of the burger sauce. The basil, hot basil, mint, mi­croherbs, as well as the butterfly pea flowers that decorate the plate, are all sourced from Le Meridien’s own herb garden which was launched in March 2017 on a repurposed, underu­tilised plot of the resort.

The burger is soon to feature on the menus of three of their ten restaurants: Tonson Restaurant and Bar, La Fiamma and Beach Barbe­cue, all of which are open to guests and non-guests alike.

The judges’ verdict
“As judges, we all agreed that it was not about the most fancy or creative, it was simply about the quality. It’s tricky to find the perfect balance of quality, precision and knowledge in cooking, but they did it very, very well.” – Vincent Meuwly, chef and owner of Le Winch restaurant

The details
Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort is located at 29 Soi Karon Nui, Karon, 83100.
lemeridienphuketbeachresort.com
+66 76 370 100
Restaurant opening times vary and can be found online.

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