Big Bern's American Grill was founded by the same guy who also opened the famous Western-food chain all over Singapore, Botak Jones. In fact, when this "upscale" restaurant branch of Botak Jones opened at 312 Balestier Road, #01-01 Singapore 329743, I have been wanting to try it. Recently it changed its name to Big Bern's American Grill - location is still the same, as well as the number 6262 6225.
You can count on friendly greeting and recommendations the moment you step into this restaurant serving comfort food in a relaxing, casual ambience devoid of pretences. In fact, the entire place screams "homely-ness" with a very authentic American touch.
I have never eaten at Botak Jones before, and of course not Big Berns, hence it took some time for me to choose what to eat. On top of that, their menus contained lengthy, wordy descriptions and no pictures, therefore I had to use my imagination when reading the fine prints. It would be good for them to have a less-wordy menu with some photographs for reference.
We started the meal with the Gumbo (soup) consisting of sausage slices, chicken and lots of black pepper. I have heard of it but never tried it, so when I saw this restaurant serving it, I knew I had to have it. The first spoonful was a piping hot, rich, thick mouthful of spicy goodness - yes, the peppery taste was redolent. The few grains of tiny white rice mixed in added a touch of texture to the delicious soup dish.
For mains, we had burgers. This is the Big Bern's Burger with Cheese - thankful that it was not a humongous American serving. This is a rather thick burger consisting of a minced-meat patty, lettuce, tomato slices, onion strips and thick layer of melted cheese atop, served between burger bread of course. The first few bites were delicious, especially the heavily-flavored beef patty clasped with crispy vegetables. However, the patty was very salty, I had to consume lots of water and munch on bread / vegetables to neutralize the taste.
The Cheesy Steak Burger was sumptuous at the start as well, because of its strong flavor - charred fragrance of the thin beef slices and onions. The saltiness kicked in after the first few bites, so we had to turned to the crispy fries and side salad for comfort. Yes, the fries were very good - solid and crispy.
Finally, it was desserts time. After debating between the Cheesecakes, Blueberry Crumble and Warm Bread Pudding infused with Tequila - we chose the latter. It is their house specialty and own concotion. Don't be fooled by the picture - it looks like vegetable curry, but is nothing like that. The bread pieces were so soft and sweetly-delicious swamped in the goodness of Tequila-infused sauce, though we could not really taste the alcohol. The Bread Pudding dish was a tad too sweet, but this was the perfect closure to our very salty meal.
We spent SGD$23.00 each on our dinner here. Overall, the experience is quite all right - holler louder if you need service though, this can be a little on the slow side. It is a nice, cosy little restaurant / cafe located in a district known better for its hawker-style food, and a welcome for people looking for Western cuisine, of course.