Millennials LOVE Instagram. (I’m sure psychologists are having a field day — or field years — analysing this, but that’s a topic for another time.) I personally post on Instagram maybe once a year, but I love scrolling through my feed and looking at pretty pictures. Heck, entire businesses have been built and are thriving based on how Insta-worthy they are. Apparently Black Tap is one of them.
Frankly, I had no idea about its Instagram cred. I got to know about it the old-fashioned way — MRT adverts on my way to work everyday. (Traditional advertisements still work!) They plastered the huge wall at Bugis MRT along the passageway from the Downtown line to East-West line with delicious-looking burgers and crazily-adorned milkshakes, and signs proclaiming they’re just “two stops away at Bayfront” (and one stop away from my workplace — so convenient!)
I love burgers with fries, so anything that calls itself “Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer” is bound to get my attention. And when I read that it’s a famous New York City burger joint transplant, I was even more eager to try it. Surely it must be famous for something! Must be great!
Well, I’ve tried it. Yup, they are famous for something — making milkshakes that look absolutely stunning on Instagram. Beyond that, I’m not so sure though. I didn’t leave feeling as satisfied as I thought I would be.
Look, the burgers aren’t bad. The patties are juicy, and the portions are huge. The buns seem to be normal white bread buns — at least they didn’t taste like anything special, though I could be wrong — but that’s fine with me. I just don’t think the burgers are spectacularly out-of-this-world amazing for me to pay more than $20 for them. (Then again, I’m a world-class miser, so anything above $20 nett is bloody expensive to me — though that doesn’t stop me from occasionally going crazy and plonking down $30 for LUNCH. ON MY OWN.)
I wouldn’t mind sharing them with a friend and splitting the cost though, because the portions are ginormous. If you do that, the burgers are totally worth your money. (They have salads too, but we didn’t try those, so no idea if they’re worth it or not.) Plus, I LOVE thick-cut crispy fries, and the burgers come with a ton of those, so that’s a win!
HOWEVER, these wonderful fries were ruined for me — because of the condiments. I eat my fries with sweet chilli, and Black Tap doesn’t serve that. They only have ketchup and sriracha hot chilli sauce, neither of which I like, so I couldn’t enjoy the fries properly. Obviously, the restaurant wouldn’t know what I like, nor would (or should) they cater to my specific tastes even if they did. But genuine question here: how many Singaporeans like their fries with sriracha hot chilli sauce?
If you don’t know the difference, sriracha sauce is way spicier and less sweet than the sweet chilli sauce that is served everywhere from Mos Burger to Long John Silver to Burger King to Manhattan Fish Market to Astons to Fish & Co to the Ramly burger stalls in pasar malams etc. It tastes more like eating a chilli pepper than anything else. The sauce is popular in Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants in the US, and was created by a Vietnamese immigrant to America — but that’s in the US. Imagine pairing your McDonald’s fries with chilli padi! That’s a weird combi, but that’s also how it tasted like to me.
Perhaps Black Tap can do a market research survey, or an experiment to see which bottles moves faster here: sriracha hot chilli sauce or the sweet chilli sauce that locals are more used to. I would love to know the results, because personally, I wouldn’t go back to a restaurant where I just bought a $24++ burger with fries that I can’t enjoy properly because I don’t like the condiments. :S
Even their mustard tastes weird. Perhaps I’m just not used to their brand of mustard, which doesn’t taste like the Heinz yellow mustard or the full grain/wholegrain mustard I’m used to. (Not sure which brand Marche uses, but that’s the one I usually eat.) Who knows, maybe this brand they’re using is the most authentic mustard ever, and I’ve been eating fake mustard all my life and can’t appreciate a good thing when I have it. All I know is it tastes weird to me and my enjoyment was marred because of that. But obviously, you’re not me and don’t have my tastes, so feel free to disagree!
Now we come to the thing that made Black Tap go viral on Instagram: their CrazyShakes.
They smear the sides of the milkshake glass with some salty chocolate fudge and then stick whatever it is of their choice (in our case, m&ms) on the fudge, so by the time you fill up the glass with milkshake, spray a heap of whipped cream on top, stick a few sticks of pretzels and Reese peanut butter cups (or whatever it is that you ordered) and drizzle with sauce, the milkshake becomes a monster. (With insides that could have come from an actual creature: We scooped out several weird chunks of chocolate from inside the milkshake that looked extremely unappetizing. As far as I know, those weren’t in the menu description.)
If you count calories, I bet it’s in the thousands. I actually tried to finish the m&ms stuck to the side, before realising that I definitely WILL get diabetes if I continue any longer, so I gave it up as a lost cause (reluctantly, because I hate wasting food). I shared the Sweet N’ Salty peanut butter shake with my friend and we still couldn’t finish half of it! It was so thick and rich and sweet and salty that I could almost feel my organs shutting down from the sugar overload. And I have a sweet tooth!
And you know the craziest thing? One CrazyShake costs a crazy $20++! ???
Seriously, share it with at least four friends to make it worth your while. And drink a ton of water, or your throat will die.
You can check out Black Tap Singapore’s menu prices here. We ordered two burgers and a CrazyShake and spent around $42 each. Too pricey for a meal I didn’t thoroughly enjoy, but if you share the portions, it isn’t so bad.
The burgers aren’t bad, but more worth your money if you share them with a friend. If Black Tap serves condiments that I actually like, I might go back. And for heaven’s sake, don’t order the CrazyShake to drink alone, unless you love throwing away money or getting diabetes!
Black Tap Singapore is at L1-80, Bay Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (the end furthest away from the Helix bridge). Opens 11am to 11.30pm daily. No reservations accepted. Not halal-certified, but if you aren’t too strict about that, there are non-pork options on the menu.