Tokyo's freshest burgers arrive in Singapore06 December, 2010 by Chad
Freshness Burger finally opened its first store at the new nex shopping complex at Serangoon Singapore on the 1st of December. We had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the franchise for months since the announcement earlier this year, after having been won over by their delicious burgers in Tokyo. Last weekend, I headed down to see how well it compared to the original.
It was initially planned that Freshness Burger would see a September launch. But like most construction projects in Singapore, the opening of the nex mall was met with delays. But the wait was well worth it (at least for those living in the North) as we would soon learn.
The 6 floor nex is the largest neighborhood shopping center in Singapore to date. For the benefit of those overseas, I’ll liken “neighborhood shopping centers” in Singapore as the local equivalent of Jusco, just with lots of people doing their shopping in their pajamas. The nex is advertised as being larger than Ang Mo Kio Hub and Junction 8 (formerly two of the largest neighborhood malls) combined but more important is the fact that most of the 6 floors are occupied by restaurants and eateries of all sorts.
Singapore’s first branch of Freshness Burger is hidden somewhere in a corner of their basement behind a escalator.
Expecting it to be packed, we got here a little early for dinner to avoid the crowds. The shopping mall itself was ridiculously crowded and it took us a while to find our destination but the Freshness Burger itself was pretty empty. It was only until after we had gotten our order later on that more people started to arrive but amazingly it was actually less crowded here than the other fast food places in the mall, like Carl’s Junior.
It helped that the Freshness Burger in Singapore was incredibly larger than any other I’ve seen elsewhere. Apart from that the same classic wooden counters were used and the store continued their trend in playing artsy music. However unlike Japan, the music was drowned out in Singapore’s ambient noise.
For those who require a summary, Freshness Burger is basically where Starbucks snobs go to when they need to eat. It serves to-order burgers and drinks made from organic stuff. If that wasn’t pretentious enough, they even add the whole “From” thing to their logo. But at least unlike TWG, they are honest in putting their actual date of origin instead of the date their country was discovered (though “From 30,000 BC” would be kind of hard to believe).
All this trash talk might lead you to believe that I’m actually leading to something negative but that isn’t the case. For Freshness Burger can be as pretentious as they want in Japan, as they serve the most amazing burgers you’ll find at any franchised eatery.
Freshness Burger is not your usual fast food place. Like the coffee at Starbucks, orders are only made on request. The outlet here was much better staffed than the ones in Japan (which typically only had a couple of people running the shop) so the order actually took less time than expected.
Yan and I both ordered the classic burger, which is their default must try item on the menu. He also wanted a vegetarian tofu burger, but it wasn’t available yet locally. YQ ordered the Salsa Burger.
Surprisingly, the classic burger was actually cheaper here than in Japan. SGD$5.90 vs 480 yen ($7.50). The “upgrades” weren’t as attractive, $2 more for extra cheese and a double classic burger cost about $10, putting them on par with their Japanese counterparts. I’ve seen some complaints online about how the drinks at Freshness Burger Singapore were pricey. It may seem so for those expecting the usual fast food fare but the drinks here are comparable with your usual cafe. It’s actually cheaper here than over in Japan as drinks were going for about $5. As opposed the 500 yen you’d pay back in Japan (the equivalent to Starbucks in the city area). Still, I’ve learnt to stay away.
When it came to the classic burger, there were of course differences from the original. Firstly, the importance of tomatoes and onions seemed to have switched, with the local version opting for a giant slab of tomato in favor of a giant slab of onion (perhaps to appeal to local tastes?) Regular buns were used for the classic burger and sadly they weren’t toasted.
It was Yan and YQ’s first time eating at Freshness, so their verdict was “great”. Personally, it matched up about 60% to the original, which is still very good and currently better than any other burger you can find in Singapore, all at a reasonable price. If I didn’t have to travel one and a half hours to get to it, I’d be eating it much more often.
Thankfully, another outlet will be opening at the Central at Clark Quay. Looking forward to a much more conveniently located source of delicious burgers soon!
Freshness Burger Singapore
nex, Basement 2
23 Serangoon Central, Singapore 556083
Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2.