Crafty burgers + beers

A true burger lover will not be deprived of their quarry by mere logistics. The proof is in the smouldering success of JIM’s Burger, now at four branches and looking at franchising.

We have the USA Work-Travel Visa program to thank for making burger fiends of the three Thai friends behind the brand. From flipping burgers in famous fast-food joints stateside, and working other culinary styles, on their return to Bangkok they opened Jim’s Burgers Beers at Ari Samphan Soi 3 (Aree BTS) (open 17.00–24.00 hrs). Success spawned  JB Soi Senanikom 1 (17.00–24.00 hrs), also Chatuchak way. Then Jim’s Burger Pattaya (Banglamung near Central Plaza Marina) (1130–2400). And,  most recently, JB at Yotse (1130–24.00), just over the canal bridge heading from MBK to Khao San.

We visited the latter branch which bizarrely seems to be the only eatery in the area – a minor detail when burger cravings strike.

NATTY PATTIES

There’s an art to building a good burger. The key is the patty. JB gets it right combining  prime minced Thai and Australian beef (or beef and pork) and herbs to create a deft balance of succulence and structure. With a neat vertical edge it fills the bun – original, charcoal, whole-wheat or spinach – to the edge. Pierced with a stake everything holds together, though even after squashing, you have to tilt to get good purchase. The toasted bun adds a nice crunch to the umami explosion.

There are lots of versions: the signature JIM Burger with onion ring, bacon and cheese;  JIM’s Honey with honey and cheese (B270); Lava Cheese, with a torrent of melted cheddar and mozzarella; M-16 Mexican with guacamole and jalapeno; Rolling Stone with pork knuckle and egg; Rib Burger (de-boned); Twin Head Dragon with double patty (390); Philadelphia Cheese Steak Sub; Poseidon Fish Burger with a dory patty; USA Kentucky burger; Chicken Burger; Vegetarian with mushroom omelette and grilled mush in BBQ sauce; The Musketeers mini waffle burgers, etc. The new El Nino Mexican (240) in tortilla bagged 3rd prize at a recent competition in Pattaya.

Crunchy nachos smothered in minced beef spiced with jalapeno and BBQ sauce with melted cheese on top (pork 190/beef 220) is amazing. While the patties took the tasters ten goes to get right, the BBQ sauce blew minds at first attempt.

Sides (59) include hash browns, waffle fries, French fries, Afro fries, onion rings. Plus Mr. Maew Chicken Wings (B140) and Chicago French Fries (B110), Barbecue Ribs (325), Quesadilla (180) and on. No desserts but decent oatmeal raisin and double chocolate cookies are only 20 baht.

Some branches also do brisk business in craft beers. They reckon they have all the labels that are currently imported, from Brothers Toffee Apple and Brewdog Jackhammer to Angry Mayor IPA and Mahanakorn White Ale, a Thai beer brewed in Taiwan because of licensing issues.

In another sharp move, each branch presents a distinct face, a kind of Minion meme. The Yotse branch has a library theme. Book shelves line the bare brick walls and there’s a ladder to reach the topmost volumes which are quite high given that it’s a traditional shophouse. A mezzanine also holds tables. Wood floors and rustic benches with trestles supported by beer kegs, coupled with a graphic representation of the craft brewing process, feel American saloon-like.  Aree’s strictly street, Soi Senanikom is prison style (nice), Pattaya is sports, complete with basketball hoop.

Music is easy listening so you can chat and nothing upstages some seriously good burgers, beers and more.