FOOD REVIEW: Wildfire Chicken & Burgers — come for the burgers, stay for the amazing fried chicken
SINGAPORE — Wildfire Chicken & Burgers is a casual joint nestled in the confines of Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts where the Skylight Studios let budding artists with nary a care in the world, paint in natural, evenly distributed daylight. Campus one houses the school of jewellery making and photography and is also where you might find future Carrie K-s and Leslie Kee-s, both outstanding practitioners in said fields.
Wildfire's immediate neighbour is Toast Box, which, in regular non-pandemic times, sees a steady stream of harried students downing a shot of Kopi-O alongside arts practitioners sitting idly around enjoying a cup of Teh during their precious one hour break. I would, in fact, go as far as to say that most of the eateries at this part of Bugis are purpose-built with students in mind—Thai Gold Food, Merely Ice Cream, The Big Cheese. That would mean simple fare that's unpretentious, value for money, and wallet-friendly.
Which is exactly everything that Wildfire Chicken & Burgers stands for. One might find Wildfire a familiar moniker, having occupied spaces around the island almost like a pop-up—313@Somerset and Global Kitchens at Singapore Science Park—but with a little less sass. To start this review proper, allow me the indulgence to declare: The burgers at Wildfire are a welcome source of comfort, but it is their fried chicken that deserves the highest and most generous of praise.
But before I get too carried away, let's address the burgers in the room. Because, when in Rome, am I right? We start with the Classic 001 Cheeseburger (S$9/single patty, S$13/double patty), a mainstay that you can order if their already lean menu is somehow overwhelming. After all, it has been a while since we last ate out, and anything beyond what Grab and Foodpanda recommend on our screen would likely induce panic.
In a gorgeous medley of flavours, the Classic 001 comes with caramelised onions, cheese, a bright chipotle mayo, and a tart gherkin. Sandwiched between brioche buns, is a USDA certified Black Angus beef patty that's every bit as juicy and exclusive as it sounds. Wildfire sources their meats from Creekstone Farms; home of the Black Angus cattle, and Snake River Farms; a premier producer of American Wagyu steaks and roasts. They're serious about their meats here, and it shows. In fact, go ahead and order a double for that precious melt-in-your-mouth cliche, here brought satisfyingly to life. Get ready those napkins because things are about to get messy.
Equally satisfying is the Shabu burger (S$13)—wide ribbons of USDA Black Angus Karubi boneless short rib that is anything but short in quantity. Yakiniku sauce liberally coats and hangs on to each strand of meat in a loving embrace such that every bite is a poetic mouthful that's all sorts of sweet and flavourful.
I can see myself enjoying the Eggstarter (S$9) for brunch. It comes with a creamy scrambled egg folded on itself and liberally sprinkled with crispy bacon. Don't let sit for too long lest it gets soggy as the buns absorb all the juicy goodness of egg and chipotle mayo. Unless of course, a messy and dirty bun is your thing, then, by all means, let it sit and don't anyone dare tell you how to eat a burger.
And then, there's the fried chicken (S$4 for 1, S$11 for 3, S$35 for 10). I wish I can wax lyrical about it. Still, I worry it may come across as disingenuous and a bit overcompensating. But something this drop-dead gorgeous should not shy away from my effusive praise. And so, I do confidently, and without any shadow of doubt declare this the best ever fried chicken I've ever had the honour of tasting. Chic-a-boo comes close, but even that is nowhere near the same juiciness that Wildfire's purports, nor does it possess the sweetness of Mirin that coats the batter outside. This is a chicken that has been expertly brined very slowly and clearly double-dredged and double-fried until the skin comes apart from the meat with ease. It's a bite that I wish wouldn't end and an experience so groundbreaking, I guarantee it will knock your socks off.
Equally fascinating is the Truffle Parmesan Fries—but not for the reasons you would expect. Sure, truffle is fragrant and gives off a luxe vibe, but here, the star of the show is the fries. And not just any ordinary fries, no. These are Stealth fries—cuts of potato that are thinly coated with a transparent batter made with potato starch from the same potatoes used to make the fries. The result is fries that retain heat and stay starchy from fresh off the fryers until almost an hour later. It's the kind of fries you bring home to meet your mother because it will not disappoint.
Wildfire also carries a range of trendy, millennial drinks that are sure to whet the appetite of students and practitioners of the fine arts. There are bottled Bootstrap cold brew coffee and tea in various flavours: Brewdog beer and cider for casual drinking in the day, and a curious Coca Cola Signature mixer with flavour profiles such as Spicy, Herbal, Woody, and Smoky. I tried the spicy flavour and if you're worried that it might be much too much, fret not. I wished it was spicier, but it's coke and who can complain about that, am I right?
Website | 80 Bencoolen Street #01-15, Singapore 189655
Weekdays: 11 am to 3 pm, 5 pm to 9 pm
Weekends: 11 am to 9 pm
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