Funan 2.0 – the recently rebooted Funan Centre from IT mall of Singapore to Sports and Healthy Lifestyle mall with a co-living (lyf) and co-working (WeWorks) in there with lots of quick dining options to cater to the fast moving millennials.
Wolf Burger started in Pasarbella in Suntec City as a concept store of providing gourmet burgers with a local twists. The brainchild of several banking professionals (so at least the capital part of the enterprise has been sorted out) with one that can cook, they decided to turn the hobby into a restaurant.
Started with really strange sounding burgers like salted egg chicken, etc, it was still the classic Wolf Burger that attracted me in the first place.
Original Wolf burger
At first glance, it wasn’t that appetising. The soft bun was a class better than the fast food giants, but the assembly was a notch below In-n-Outs or even Carl’s Jr. But under the sloppy appearance was a good burger with fresh ingredient. The lettuce and tomatoes used were market fresh with the right crunch and moisture. The cheddar has fully melted from the heat of the patty, making it a bit too oily, but that’s what good cheeses do – melt properly. Perhaps, they need to improve it further with a slightly thicker cheese.
The beef patty (not the wagyu version, they have another more atas version) was competent – well salted and moist, nice char with that slightly burnt smell. Lovely when combined with the rest of the ingredients. But my favourite sauce from all burger joints was still the McD Big Mac sauce. This was just a simple mayo + ketchup combo.
Salted egg chicken burger
A innovative spin of a recent trend, the salted egg chicken burger was a McChicken on steroids. Instead of fresh lettuce, it was coupled with pickled cabbage to take that edge off the salted egg sauce. One downside, the mayo was totally unnecessary in this burger.
Hainanese chicken rice burger
Here’s one of the local “burgers”, what the innovative restaurants would called Chinese sliders. It is made of a kong ba pau bun (what we called the hap chui bao, the wallet bun) with fried chicken (familiar?), cucumber and achar, and smothered with a garlicky, gingerly, Hainanese chicken rice chilli. All the Hainanese chicken rice flavours were condensed into the chilli. If not for the chilli, it would just be a fried chicken slider. I would love to try a poached chicken version, but I don’t think it will go down well with our Western friends (Americans in particular) who may be turned off by cold chicken. Good try, would see this as a seasonal thing than a staple burger.
Finally, there’s the slaws. Reminded me of the Chinese Western food store, you know the ones that serve your chicken chop with baked beans and this particular coleslaw that is drowned in sweet mayonnaise. Nostalgia, 哥吃的是回忆 (thanks for the memories).
Fast Food 2.0
This will be template for the shop of the future. There are only two front store staff, one to guide the customers on the ordering system, the other takes charge of cleaning up the dining area. And their roles are interchanged as and when required.
Even with this minimalist setup, the service staff was attentive and prompt. Especially when we (as in every customer that came in after us for that evening dinner) were stuck using the automated ordering and collection system, the auntie that was manning the front was really patient and was really friendly and chatty about the food and concept.
So here’s how it works:
- You order from a kiosk, just like McD, pay and take a seat. The software was not as efficient though, because you can customise every burger. If you want a classic Wolf burger, why would you want salted egg mayo for another $1?
- There’s no collection counter or kitchen. Instead you have little cubicles like those you would use to collect your Taobao at the back of your office building. However there’s a video of feed of the kitchen operations to show that it’s made ala minute.
- Your queue number will be displayed on the monitor above the cubicles. It would be better if you can show the queue number somewhere in the sitting area, unless you want everyone to crowd at the front of the store.
- Once your number is up, scan your receipt and the cubicle opens with your tray of food in it. If it is a large order, you have to do this multiple time.
The overall process needs to be tweaked, but it is still efficient and manpower saving. I am sure this would be the modus operandus for the fast-food of the future. But it’s still about the food
Between this and Shake Shack, I would recommend Shake Shack for a really tasty burger. But for the overall experience (like not queueing and waiting for over 50 min for a burger) and innovation, I would give it to Wolf Burger. If only they would improve the basics and not just depend on the sauce.
Wolf Burgers (Funan)
107 Northbridge Road #01-05 Singapore 179105
Tel : 9820 4564
Date Visited : Oct 2019