by Luke Finn
Occupying three floors of a former shop-house on Keong Saik Road, Potato Head Folk adds another dimension to China Town’s burgeoning food and cocktail scene. In a neighbourhood once known for its seedy dive bars, Keong Saik has transformed itself in the past three years with the arrival of a number of serious F&B operations.
Potato Head Folk is no exception. Perfectly poised in one of the finest examples of art deco architecture on the street, Potato Head Folk comprises of a ground floor kitchen with street tables, the Three Buns casual dining room on the first floor, the plush Studio 1939 cocktail bar on the second and terrace bar The Rooftop above. The connecting staircase, adorned with eclectic wall art, sets the scene for Australian artist David Bromley’s interior décor – think colourful bunting, statuettes and eccentric objets d’art. It’s whimsical and fun – it’s a burger joint, how serious can it be?
This is not to say that the burgers are not serious – using only the finest meats, homemade sauces and a touch of creative flair, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better selection of well-endowed buns on the island, with the accompanying sides justifying their presence with panache.
First tried was the delicious Rambo, which features a lamb patty with feta, aubergine, pickle and cumin aioli, presented in a generous wholemeal bun. The meat was perfectly cooked and the flavours balanced beautifully. The top-selling beef patties include the Burning Man, dosed with smoked cheese, roasted jalapeno relish, hot ketchup and the Smokin B-Boy, lathered in double smoked cheese, beer and treacle cured bacon, BBQ ketchup and smoky Mayo. Don’t fret, go in a group and try both. Just so you know what to choose next time.
Non-meat eaters need not despair. The Roots features seasonal vegetables, cheese fritters, coleslaw, lettuce pickles and Big Poppa Hot Sauce. Also guaranteed to make you feel good, the James Brown, aka Codfather of Soul has fishfingers, mushy peas, and bread and butter, pickle tartar sauce in a delightful ode to traditional seaside British cuisine.
To wash down all this heartiness, Potato Head Folk offers a selection of craft beers, wines and cider but we’d recommend working your way through the cocktail list. Separated into shakas, jerks and twists these offer specialities like the Disco Daiquiri and the Many Berry Margarita, creative takes on classics like the Moscow Mule, Dark and Stormy and Tom Collins, and craft bottled cocktails blended in the kitchen like the aptly named Zombie. A blend of four rums, absinthe, maraschino, homemade falernum, passion fruit syrup, pineapple, grapefruit and Angostura bitters, it’s best taken one sip at a time.
Above the dining room, Studio 1939 is a classy option for a pre-dinner cocktail or digestive. With its eccentric mixture of antiques, art pieces and classic furnishings, it’s an ideal setting to sample Potato Head’s signature cocktails in comfort. The cocktail theme continues at The Rooftop, the breezy roof terrace bar which has fast become one of the more popular drinking haunts in Chinatown, quite a feat considering the strength of the competition.
36 Keong Saik Road, Singapore
Ph.+65 6327 1939
For the Love of Port by David Wong Often ignored in favour