PERMANENTLY CLOSED: Half Pound Burger Bar, Purvis Street: Before It Closes for Good…

I visited Half Pound Burger at Purvis Street twice and it was empty both times; I was the only customer on both times (although someone walked in later). I think if this continues, it will close down soon. So before it closes permanently, I should write a review. Spoiler alert: It’s okay.

The restaurant focuses on burgers–its signature, half pound burger ($22), uses 220g of Angus beef patty–but it also has sirloin steak ($28), duck confit (250g, $20), and pastas from $10 to $20. They also serve six draft beers from Germany and US and on Wednesdays, house beers go for $10 a pint. The lunch set menu goes for $15 (2 courses) onwards. Really fantastic value for lunch at town area.

On both my visits, there was only one person who acted as cook-cum-server. So if you happen to be rushing for time, perhaps it’s best not to come here.

On my first visit, I took 2-course the whole day set  ($25++, with a non-alcoholic beverage). For starters, the crispy wild mushroom (additional $2) is humongous. Eating this alone would make you full af. It’s a load of battered fried mushroom atop some greens. Addictive and umami. Rather good.

For the main, the lamb burger is excellent too. The buns are a little tough and generic but the patty is excellent. It’s tender, juicy, and not at all gamy. It tastes slightly like masala, which gives it a spicy edge. It also has pineapple, which is a nice touch, adding to the overall tropical feel. On this trip, I paid $32.

To make this review more accurate, I visited it again; this time for the lunch set, taking the 3-course for $20. Not sure if it’s the price difference, but this lunch set is inferior to the whole day set I had previously. The first course is basically uneatable: just shredded vegetables overloaded and overkilled with a LOT of dressing, and they call it a garden salad.

The main this time, a beef quarter pounderis ok. I like charcoal buns because I like to think it has detoxing properties although I’m probably lying to myself. The patty is not too bad but it is not hot; it is rather cool, and it came to the table rather quickly. It also doesn’t have that delightful beefy taste. I don’t know what is worst: the generic plastic cheese, the pineapple (in a beef burger??), or the bright pink mayo. I really don’t like bright-coloured food because it is likely to be food colouring (although in this case, it may be beetroot?).

The fries on both accounts are terrible. It belongs to the same class as the generic supermarket fries and they overdo it that it is dry and crunchy.

The best thing in this 3-course lunch set is the dessert, a egg sponge cake that comes with lots of berries. Berries are great, full of antioxidants. On this second trip, I paid $23. Quite good for so much food.

Actually, I don’t understand why Half Pound is failing. Many business owners ask me about the magic formula that makes a restaurants popular. It’s really a lot of luck and making contacts with the right people. Some restaurants have mediocre food but they are packed. Some restaurants have amazing food but they close within months. For Half Pound, they have ok food at affordable prices in a comfortable, fun setting. They should do well but they aren’t.

On the whole, I think it’s not too bad. The pricing is very reasonable and the portions are humongous. As for the food, it is run-of-the-mill, but if you can pay more, the quality gets a lot better and the food becomes more delicious.

Half Pound Burger Bar & Grill
8 Purvis Street Singapore 188587
tel: +65 6906 1900

Food: 6.25/10
Service: 6.5/10
Decor/ambience: 6.5/10
Price/value: 7.25/10

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Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.

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