Inside Toa Payoh’s Mapletree Industrial Estate, Big Bern’s American Grill is opened by Bernie Utchenik who also started Botak Jones and sold off his shares. At its height, there were 13 outlets.
Big Bern’s is situated in an industrial cafeteria and focuses on American Southern food. They have also opened another outlet at the hipster kopitiam called Timber+. On the whole, the food is not terrible, but it is expensive at an industrial canteen. And it is monotonous, mostly spicy and sour.
The bestseller, Big Bern’s Beef Whoop-Ass Cheeseburger ($11.90 a la carte/ $14.90 with two sides), is a big beef patty, with cheese and chilli con carne, which is sour and spicy. The other specialty, Cajun chicken ($6.90 a la carte/ $11.90 with two sides), consists two pieces of dry chicken breasts, with mozzarella cheese and Cajun sauce–also sour and spicy.
The sides: Mexican rice is soggy, sour, and spicy; gumbo is sour and spicy; Cajun fries sour and spicy; and coleslaw, not spicy but sour. The batter of the fried oysters (3 pcs for $7.30) is so hard that you don’t know if there is any oyster meat.
There is nothing wrong in sour and spicy food. We rather enjoyed the sides, especially the fries, because sour-and-spicy sides are appetizing and served in small portions. But when it comes to mains, too much of a good thing can be sickening. And besides, it gets boring to eat similar flavors.
We paid $40 for two persons. Expensive, right?
Big Bern’s American Grill
978 Toa Payoh North, Mapletree Industrial Estate #02-01, Singapore 319001
T: +65 6710 7362
11.30am – 9pm daily
Decor/Ambience: NA (canteen)
Overall rating: 2.833/5
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.