How lucky are we to be the first pick when restaurants decide to expand overseas? From South Beach‘s Vatos Urban Tacos to Guenpin Fugu at Tanjong Pagar, it seems like everyone wants a piece of the lucrative pie that is Singapore’s foodie culture. The latest to come onboard hails all the way from New York, and it’s Black Tap, the burger joint that seems to have all the right recipes for success.
Headed by Michelin-starred Joe Isidori, who was once President Trump’s chef at the Trump International Hotel, this 140-seater at Marina Bay Sands is quite the stunner. It’s decked out in decor that harkens back to 80s hip-hop and pop with music to match, while a series of boards display the some 20 craft beers. Notable brews on tap include the Brooklyn Lager, Sweetwater Hop Hash Session IPA, and local brews such as the Singapore Blonde Ale by Archipelago Brewery — all at $16.
Normally, I’d be the first to order a pint or two, if not for the desire to try out the restaurant’s acclaimed CrazyShakes — the name is trademarked, so it has be good, right? And so against the advice of my bulging waistline, a round of giant milkshakes soon came to our table. They are bizarre things, and look like a kid was given free reign at the dessert counter for five minutes.
The Cotton Candy ($22) has a bright pink lollipop sticking out of it, while the Sweet n Salty ($20) is covered in M&M’s. There’s a fruity pebble-covered Bam Bam Shake ($20) that looks like breakfast — if your idea of breakfast included whipped cream, taffy, and strawberry pop tarts, that is. Once I get past the novelty, the shakes — strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, and even peanut butter — are actually quite tasty. But please, share these with someone else.
You’ll want to order some burgers, of course. The All-American ($22) is a classic — fluffy brioche, 8oz Prime patty, American cheese, tomato, and a special sauce that tastes like mayo, Worcestershire, and chipotle had a three-way. It sets the standard for the other burgers, which is a strong ‘A’ grade. The exclusive-to-Singapore Cantonese BBQ Burger ($24) takes a bit more getting used to with bacon, black bean mayo, spicy acar pickles, and sambal BBQ sauce all packed together. Not my choice pick, but the combination is interesting.
Black Tap has a great Crispy Chicken Sandwich ($23) that leans towards Asian tastes with a Korean gochujang BBQ sauce and a lot of cilantro. The fried chicken is juicy and tender, and topped with some spicy mayo and buttermilk coleslaw that adds a lot of flavour to an already delicious burger.
Eat this with snacks such as Crispy Brussels Sprouts ($14) with sesame-tahini dip, particularly stretchy Fried Mozzarella ($14), and Onion Rings ($11) that are as chunky as your palm. Oh, and some award-winning Spicy Korean BBQ Wings ($13) for good measure.
Rounding out the menu, there are simple cocktails to try if you prefer your sugar in the form of alcohol. And at $21 each, they cost more or less the same as a shake. Perhaps a classic Aperol Spritz, Negroni, or citrusy Tokyo Lemonade will do you good. So yes: lots of booze for the parents, sugary milkshakes for the kids, and quality burgers for the whole team. What else can you ask for from a humble New York burger joint?
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer is located at L1-80, Bay Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018956, p. +65 6688 9957. Open 11am – 11.30pm daily.