killer gourmet burgers - kgb

1:51 AM sians 1 Comments

"what do we demand of the perfect hamburger? that the meat patty be profoundly beefy in flavor, mouthwateringly browned on the outside, and succulent (a combination of juicy and tender) on the inside. the bread or bun should not interfere with any of these virtues. it should be soft, mild, and unassertive; it's job is to absorb every last drop of savory juice trickling from the meat while keeping the burger more or less in one piece and your hands dry."

jeffrey steingarten, an always precise food critic and writer, has decidedly listed the virtues that define THE perfect hamburger. 

he reiterates, almost with a sense of resoluteness...

"mouthwatering, beefy, juicy and tender - not too much to ask from life but entirely elusive, at least to me. it's not as though i haven't tried. God knows, i've tried"

mr steingarten is also a man with a brilliant food mind, whom i have utmost respect for and look up to as my inspiration for my foodie ways. so who am i to argue on his views of the quintessential hamburger?

valid points but these are merely the foundation that is mandatory for the perfect hamburger to build on; throw in a few more essential pre-requisites: a beautiful deep brown crust where the flavors are concentrated (think the maillard reaction) on a thin beef patty (not a fan of the thick patties - at that point, i'd rather go with a steak) cooked medium rare/medium on the griddle.

hmm... perhaps, those are more like my preferences.

// the maillard reaction - also known as the browning reaction - is a series of chemical reactions that take place when protein-rich foods are heated. large proteins break into smaller compounds which react with others, recombining into new configurations. they break apart again, recombine, and on and on in a cascade of chemical reactions that creates hundreds of brand new compounds."

sometimes keeping it simple is the way to go - the good ol' cheeseburger (with a ton of cheese, of course). even so, there are always those days where bacon, sauteed mushrooms, avocado, caramelized onions add ons can either elevate the flavors or accentuate the beefy greatness to a greater intensity when intricately paired.

THAT is my ideal hamburger.

and these were the qualities i was looking for when i was picking out one of their renditions under the crust seared burgers menu at kgb, short for 'killer gourmet burgers'.

its industrial inspired setup was akin a shack with exposed red bricks as its backdrop where the brightly lit sign hung above the menu behind the counter. once orders and payments were made over the counter, i took my metal number tent and picked a wooden table with metal chairs for two, while waiting my dining companion to complete her order.

it was tough to choose a burger i wanted, but my cravings had made the selection easier - the animal style - crust seared (of course!) 100% steak grade australian grass fed beef, mustard grilled, sharp cheddar, caramelized onions and shack sauce that i had requested to have it on the side (rm 14.90)

stamped with its signature logo on the top of the bun, and the cheese melted on the seared beef patty glistened slightly in its juices under the spotlight (literally... well, there was actually a bright lamp  just right above the table).

the juicy patty was cooked almost to the doneness i had requested for - medium-ish, begging for just a slightly more crust to the sear and another sprinkle of salt and pepper. the patty comes apart effortlessly with every chew in the mouth, intensifying the beefy flavor that shone behind the melted cheddar. it paired beautifully with the slight sweetness of the caramelized onions but the bun fell short (i frowned momentarily) - it was dry.

while all these time, the shack sauce was benched on the side as a spectator. there's a history between us, the shack sauce and i. my first kgb experience was a few years ago when i had gotten myself the same burger. my burger had been over-sauced, the sauce overwhelmed the palate and casted an eclipse over the beef patty. this time, i cautiously dipped my burger lightly in the shack sauce and took a bite - creamy with whispers of light spicy tartness. my personal inclination remained the same - without the sauce, please.

weak against fries, i succumbed to ordering a basket of fries with just salt and pepper to be shared. medium thick cut, deep fried but not too greasy. but most of them were not crispy enough either.

tldr // kgb starts their burger with the right stuff: all natural thin beef patties, seared crusted just enough to lock in the juices in the beef. some fixing are needed though, the dry bun distracts from the patties and the shack sauce - strong in its presence (sometimes too strong) may overwhelm the tastebuds. get those right, then we may have something great in our hands.

killer gourmet burgers | location 
232-b lg, the gardens mall
mid valley city,
59200, kuala lumpur
{opens daily: 11am - 10pm}

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.


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