Burgers and Bangers' star chef moves into a new operation and beefs up her patties.
After giving up a career in fine-dining kitchens to flip burgers, chef Panida “Poupee” Paethanom has found a cult following among people with loud opinions on the internet. Many have followed her trajectory from a humble kiosk at On Nut Night Market through to Bad Burger near Asoke.
A cursory scroll through TripAdvisor and other crowd-sourced foodie communities sees the words “best burger in town” fly off the page. Take those proclamations with a liberal dose of salt, but that’s not to say there isn’t a lot to like about the place. Pass up a rickety staircase and you’ll come to a dinky room (fitting around 15) above Mix and Munch health cafe that’s all faux-brickwork, construction-site vibes and pop-art portraits of superheroes. The space is nerdy but nice and charming in its lack of pretence.
On the menu, what really stands out amid the pics of molten cheese and glistening meat are the prices. Beef burgers start at B249 net, including your choice of solid enough sides like fries, paprika-spiced wedges or crunchy, sweet onion rings. You can add a quarter rack of babyback ribs to your meal for just B150, too, making for a well-priced combo in these parts.
But, if we’re to throw our B400 or so into the great, big burger debate, Bad Burger’s offerings lack the character of juicy, buttery American junk-food contenders Daniel Thaiger or Fatty’s Diner. First, the good: the house-made seeded brioche buns are soft, spongy excellence (gluten-free available, too) and the pickles are a piquant highlight.
However, on our last visit, the centerpiece Big Boss burger (B399)—a towering monument of double Australian beef, double American cheddar, double bacon and double onion rings that demands a knife and fork—was less than the sum of its parts. Seasoned only with salt and pepper, the fist-sized patties are chargrilled to the point of no return. Oddly translucent cheddar and a seeming absence of the advertised “burger sauce” meant resorting to tabletop ketchup and mustard to resuscitate the dry hunks of meat.
A passable side but lackluster main, the chewy, tough ribs (B359/579 for half/full) come in a sweet and sour barbecue sauce that sits in for smoky complexity. More enjoyable, if not wow-worthy, are the cheesy chicken (B259) and pulled pork (B269) burgers, the latter of which is dressed up with tasty apple coleslaw and smoked cheese.
Kudos too for having not one, but two vegan burgers. While the boxy space isn’t conducive to drinking sessions, there’s a small selection of Thai craft beers and ciders (from B179) to work through—though it’s a shame our choc-mint milkshake (B80) was more ice than milk. Side-stepping hyperbole, Bad Burger ticks a box for generously priced comfort food in a friendly, central setting.
This review took place in October 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.