Words: Dominique Montiel Photos: Monica Tindall
As I ventured into the mystical, unknown, and promising land of Pavilion’s 7th floor I struggled to quiet my giggling excitement. I felt like a little girl discovering that there were colours other than pink. The Dining Loft was everything I had expected and more; there was a crisp smell of newness and possibility in the air, not to mention – was that the scent of crunchy onion rings and the sound of celebrity-praised burgers being ripped apart and devoured by content eaters? I adopted a determined pace towards the welcoming blue hued venue to my far left and immersed myself in the relaxed cool atmosphere of The Counter Custom Built Burger.
|The Counter Custom Built Burger, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur|
Founded in 2003 and based on the philosophy of being ‘counter intuitive’ (yes, that’s where the name stems from) by offering people the chance to custom build their own burger masterpieces, there lies no surprise in why Oprah mentioned the fast growing phenomenon during one of her shows. However, it is Jeff Weinstein’s, the launcher of the concept and restaurant, non-advertising vision that makes the location so approachable, yet top-notch at the same time.
With an astonishing capacity of seating up to 160 people, the space could have run the risk of being impersonal; however, the warm lighting hovering above the booths and the honey tones of the hardwood floor cozy up the venue and label it as the place to visit with family or friends on a Sunday afternoon. The sophistication of the sleek metal counter top at the back of the room in addition to the mesmerising view of the Petronas Towers at a distance and Bukit Bintang at a close-up nevertheless provide the spot with a hip and upcoming atmosphere. Make sure to be seated next to the glass wall!
One of the things I was most looking forward to trying as I looked over the bountiful menu was one of their various milkshakes and smoothies. The combinations and ingredients offered were unimaginable and I could already feel my heart pounding faster at the anticipation of a sweet treat.
Unsurprisingly, the Caramel Apple Crumble Shake (RM16) tasted like liquid goodness. With its generous size, rich khaki colour, and fair share of whipped cream and caramel syrup on top, it was almost assurable that it would be yummy. The flavour was very authentic – it tasted like true apple crumble dessert – and had a perfect amount of sweetness to it, not to mention award-worthy creaminess and thick consistency.
|Apple Caramel Shake|
The next drink in store was the Hollywood Hoola Smoothie (RM16), a vibrant and refreshing mix of mango, banana, coconut, orange and frozen yogurt that can only be described with the phrase: ‘it tastes like Hollywood’. The result of all these tasty fruits was a sweet yet tangy, predominantly coconut-tasting icy drink that brings back non-existent memories of palm trees and LA avenues at sunset.
|Hollywood Hoola Smoothie|
Once the drink delights were slurped away and they began lodging themselves in Monica, Caning, and I’s thoughts forever, the meals began to find their way onto our window-side table.
For our aperitif we all munched on a 50-50 version of Parmesan Fries (RM20) and Sweet Sriracha Fries (RM18), a harmoniously balanced basket of flavourful garlic alioli heaven on one side and toasted sesame, scallions, and a hint of vinegar on the other. The choice of French fry strain was shoestring and their thin body was fried to perfection, this being the verdict after hearing their marvellous crunching sounds when bitten into. The portion is of a generous nature, so you could easily get a basket to share with a friend as a post-cinema snack!
|Parmesan and Sweet Sriracha Fries|
|Corn on the Cob|
After we gorged on the fries, all of us moved onto the next prey: the Bacon BBQ Burger (RM45/52). With a soft, buttery Brioche bun sandwiching a juicy, halal beef patty, double the amount of beef bacon strips, and crispy onion rings, our first burger for the afternoon was already a view that didn’t disappoint. The presentation was simplistic, the burger settled its plate with a metal container on the side full of homemade hickory sauce. This choice was one of the expert’s picks, which means that it is already built for you just in case you’re feeling lazy and uninspired.
|BBQ Bacon Burger|
The Meltdown (RM26), our only sandwich order, featured an astonishing amount of sharp provolone cheese, chicken breast, onion confit, sautéed mushrooms, among other ingredients like peppers and a side of basil pesto on the side. Needless to say, its impenetrable amount of cheese and rich vegetable flavours made it one of our favourite meals. And the sauce? To die for.
For our healthy and sans-bread pick we decided on one of the restaurant’s burger in a bowl options and opted for the Tuna Kalamata Burger In A Bowl (RM35/41). The burger in a bowl concept is based on having a carbohydrate-free version of a burger, where the result is a beautifully green salad including organic mixed greens, green beans, Kalamata olives, roasted tomatoes, onions, hard boiled eggs and a delicious lemon vinaigrette with a large hand cut ahi tuna patty. It was very flavourful, the vinaigrette having a crisp zesty taste, and surprisingly very filling.
|Tuna Kalamata Burger In A Bowl|
Our custom built burgers came next, all a bouquet of smart, fresh ingredients and three different kinds of everything. Monica’s pick was a veggie hybrid packed with a homemade vegan patty, Greek feta cheese, sesame ginger dressing, oven-roasted tomatoes, carrot strings, onion confit, kale, sliced avocado, marinated artichokes. a multigrain bun and a side of two grilled vegetable skewers. It was a vegetable masterpiece; the freshness of the ingredients and the delicious consistency of the patty made this dish one to look out for. (Pricing depends on size of patty and choice of ingredients.)
|Custom Built Burger with Vegan Patty and Wholemeal Bun|
Next came Caning’s choice, a mix of a halal beef patty, fresh mozzarella cheese, roasted garlic aioli, tangy thousand island sauce, honey Dijon, sun-dried tomatoes, carrot strings, a sunny side up egg, beef bacon, sliced avocado all sandwiched in a brioche bun and with a side of sweet potato fries. With an explosion of flavours and a stellar choice of bread, this custom burger was marked as one of the messiest, yet more rewarding ones. The side of sweet potato fries was an especially loved one; they were crunchy, tasty, and perfectly paired with homemade steak sauce. The builder was especially entertained with his pick.
|Custom Built Beef Burger on Brioche|
Finally, it came time to try my own selection. I opted for the Halal certified turkey patty, a much spoken about delight, and paired it with horseradish cheddar cheese, hot wing sauce, habanero salsa, lettuce blend, grilled red onions, celery, sautéed mushrooms, on a pretzel bun and with a side of crispy onion strings. I specially enjoyed the turkey patty, its taste was incredibly intense and it resembled the zest of a turkey leg; paired with spicy sauce choices and a great pretzel bun, this custom burger made its way into my favourites. The side of crispy onion rings was also praised among us because of its thin and delicate presentation and perfectly crunchy coat.
|Turkey Burger on Pretzel Bun|
To close off the gourmet afternoon, we added a little sweet to our palate with a Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie and Vanilla Ice Cream, and a slice of Key Lime Pie (RM18). The cookie proved crunchy on the outside and mildly chewy within. The pie’s limey flavour was on the spot-not too sweet, not to bland, and the unusually soft crust added novelty and excitement to the classic dessert choice.
|Giant Cookie and Ice Cream|
|Key Lime Pie|
As we waited to say goodbye to the incredibly welcoming managers, the scent of newly made burgers for other guests filled our nostrils. If only we could go through this experience again. All in all, The Counter Custom Built Burger changed our expectations of a burger joint; run by an innovative, practical and dynamic team, the restaurant’s fresh feel and great food beckons us all in Kuala Lumpur to go take a bite!
Reasons to visit: customize your own burger – make it exactly as you please; great stop before or after visiting the cinema; options to please the healthiest of eaters to the most decadent of cravings.
The Counter Custom Built Burger
Pavilion Mall, lot 7.01.01 Level 7
Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03-2117 5309