IN-N-OUT Pop Up Restaurant, Singapore

I have never been a big meat eater, I was practically vegetarian for the best part of 15 years throughout my pre teen and early 20’s and still struggle with the idea of eating large amounts of meat even now. Yet I have always been deeply interested in food  and cooking (My copy of Larousse was one of my favourite 21st birthday presents – after the diamonds 😉 )  and so decided that I would like to educate my palate as much as possible, trying as many different dishes as possible in order to ascertain what I did actually enjoy and what I didn’t and the results are always a source of amusement to friends and family. Whilst I can happily enjoy bone marrow, black pudding, sweetbreads and brains (in small amounts admittedly) Sea urchins and fish cheeks, the possibility of me managing to eat a whole steak is absolutely zero, yet I can happily talk to you about the best way to eat your fillet/rib eye etc and see and feel the best produce to order. The first time I actually remember eating a burger since the 1980’s was at the brilliant Burning Man festival back in 2009 and I was lucky enough to be sharing a camp with the outstandingly fun and talented Yanni Papoutsis who at the time was running the Meat Wagon (along with doing his usual day job) in a car park in Peckham and has since gone on to open the extremely successful Meat Liquor, one of, if not the best burger restaurant in London. The hunger (I don’t think I had stopped dancing for the best part of 3 days) combined with Yannis enthusiasm and special burger cooking methods ( I manned the grill with him and it was a sight to see) meant that whilst this was the first burger I had experienced in an extremely long time, it certainly wouldn’t be the last. But good burgers are few and far between and since then I have probably still only eaten a handful of burgers from Danny Meyers Shake Shack in Union Sq Park,  Bar Bouluds outstanding Piggie Burger ( a beef pattie with pulled pork on top) to BRGR and Classic Burger in Beirut but the search for a perfect burger, like the one I experienced that day/night (you don’t keep time in Black Rock City) is still with me. So imagine my pleasure when lying on my sofa on my day off this week, a tweet suddenly popped up saying that Legendary Californian Burger restaurant IN N OUT would be doing a pop up restaurant today for 4 hours only in Singapore. IN N OUT for those of you that aren’t familiar with it is an extremely well loved burger chain operating mostly in California and renowned for using the freshest (never frozen) produce. The pop up in Sydney sold out in 23 minutes!! As it was due to open at 11, I planned to get there for 10:30 – and boy was I glad I did as people who arrived 15 minutes after me learnt it had sold out – they ran out of wristbands entitling you to one of their burgers before the official opening time of 11am. Arriving at 18 Circular Road, I wasn’t exactly surprised to see a queue had formed early, the fact that the queue was stretching 2 roads back, along the waterfront of boat quay was somewhat more of a surprise. I was queueing with a mixture of food mad Singaporeans (yes i know – who knows a Singaporean that isn’t food mad?!!) of all ages to lucky tourists and plenty of Expat Americans who made the 2.5 hours i waited to actually get my hands on a burger seem far less painful than it could have been. The enthusiasm was contagious, people from all walks of life from bankers in suits to kids in board shorts all here for a shared love of good food. When we eventually made it into the small shop front we were given the option of ordering a double double (2 burger patties and 2 slices of cheese), a hamburger or a cheese burger. You then got the option to go “Animal style” where they grill the patties with mustard and add extra sauce ( a cross between mayo, thousand island style dressing and chopped pickles) and pickles or “Protein style” where the bun is replaced by lettuce (they are from California after all) The anticipation of the wait meant I went for a double double Animal style, which along with a diet coke (i know – whats the point right!!!) and some crisps or potato chips as they call them came to an incredibly reasonable $8. Taking my seat at the back of the crowded restaurant, I was delighted see that this was a burger that certainly looked the part. The fresh tomato, lettuce and onion were just that – fresh, cool from the fridge and crunchy. The burger cheese was also a pleasant surprise (OK I admit it – I’m a snob, the whole idea of “Burger Cheese” is just wrong, plastic and fake tasting but not here..) and the meat was also perfectly seasoned and cooked correctly for a burger. Whilst a pop up restaurant serving 300 burgers should, of course be able to produce  a better burger than Mc Donalds or Burger King, word from people around me was that this was the real INN OUT deal, the flavour from home they loved. Taken into consideration their ethics on sourcing (no branch is too far away from  their meat suppliers that the burgers need to be frozen) and the fact that this burger looked like a shot of a burger in a food magazine or an advert and actually tasted great I would have no doubt in joining the crowds again and again to sample more IN N OUT burgers. Whether they do a roll out like Danny Meyers brilliant Shake Shack ( the only thing I enjoyed when i was in Kuwait) remains to be seen but I for one certainly hope they do. Now if only we could get Yanni over here too……

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Victoria says:

    Well I would never have even considered going to Gillman tomorrow if I hadn’t have read that….hmmmm

    1. beirutibrit says:

      Its a lot of standing around waiting and queuing thats for sure but i enjoyed the experience and thought the burger was very good!

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