When Andrew rang a few months back to tell me that he may have found Jakarta’s best burger joint, I was dying to get back from Ubud to test his theory out. A good burger can be hard to find, and our best experiences to date were at the much acclaimed Goods Diner, which serves up thick slabs of beef in a no-holds barred approach to meat-loving (and calories). After a morning in Kemang this weekend, we decided to pop past this celebrated burger joint for lunch, which happens to be the newly established Three Buns.
Three Buns is the initiative of French-trained chef, Adam Penney, who at the end of his laborious education in the culinary arts, decided that he simply wanted to make a great tasting burger. After years of research, he developed a classically-inspired but gourmet-flavoured menu, featuring some pretty juicy numbers including the ‘Honky Tonk’, with buttermilk fried chicken, coleslaw, pickles and ‘big poppa hot sauce’, and the ‘Smokey B-Boy’, lined with treacle cured bacon, smokey mayo and caramelised onions.
Three Buns is also a fixture on the Singapore food scene, and it shows. The interior boasts high, slated-wood line ceilings, a creative building-block style seating area that spans three open stories and a retro food van that doubles as the Three Buns kitchen. It all screams trendy with a capital T and has the prices to match.
Now, I’m a big believer in paying for quality, and one of the few things I mind forking for is delicious food. But with Three Buns burgers starting from RP90,000 with no sides (I repeat, not a single free fry in sight), even I raised an eyebrow. That’s not to say that the burgers aren’t delicious, but when they’re served to you wrapped in a sheet of wax paper, the ‘gourmet’ element becomes a little mismatched.
Prices aside, however, Three Buns inarguably produces a fantastic burger. Perched up in a little birds nest on the third floor, I chomped down on a truffle-mayo beauty while Andrew indulged in the Four Floors speciality, packed with a double Aussie beef burger patty, triple cheese and fried onions. Sides (an extra RP35,000) were some pretty gloriously deep-fried potato cuts, and a last-minute indulgence of slated caramel gelato (RP35,000). The staff were friendly, the tunes good, and the ambience – well, let’s just say it attracts the kind of people who don’t mind forking out RP200,000 per person on what is essentially gourmet McDonald’s.
If you enjoy exploring Jakarta’s rapidly evolving and often surprising food scene, then Three Buns is a must, if not only to assess just how hipster the landscape has become. I’d suggest a lunchtime drive-by on pay day, where you can also indulge in a sneaky cocktail from their expansive drinks menu and focus your afternoon efforts on digesting one of Jakarta’s best (albeit expensive) burgers.