Stacked Burger appeared on the Samui scene just a few months ago, and right away caused something of a splash. It’s the contemporary restaurant of the new OZO resort, although you wouldn’t know it. Because unlike nearly all of the others, Stacked is right out in plain view on the beach road, bold as brass and twice as lively, right in the centre of Chaweng and perched wide and high, with its big outside decks looking down onto the road below.
But let’s just say, right from the off, that Stacked is about a whole lot more than just burgers – even if their Wagyu burger is a connoisseur’s delight. There are premium pork, chicken and beef steaks, racks of ribs, salmon, tuna and seafood dishes, Tex-Mex offerings and a whole selection of vegetarian and vegan plates. Not to mention the delectable desserts. Or the impressive range of connoisseur tequilas and bourbons – plus a whole range of other rare alcoholic delights – craft beers, for example.
But, getting back to it, if I say ‘burger’ and what pops into your head is a bland round disk frozen solid, then you owe it to yourself to experience the real thing. Here we’re talking American-way-of-life-national-dish burgers. All the beef at Stacked arrives chilled in the form of huge slabs of premium imported beef – New Zealand pasture-fed; Australian Wagyu (a cross between Black Angus and Hereford stock); grain-fed prime Aussie beef.
It’s butchered and sectored in the kitchens. Then it’s chilled and stored, being diced and minced on the spot when needed, and mixed-in with a subtle and mildly-savoury blend of herbs and spices, prior to being sizzled especially for you. It’s the culinary difference between buying a flat pack desk-in-a-box and having your own escritoire craftsman-made from real timber by a skilled cabinet maker.
And this same duty of care extends to the entire dining experience. As you enter you’ll be greeted and shown to a table. Your waiter will introduce themselves, offer the menus, and return with glasses of ice-cold water and refreshing towels. For a restaurant with ‘burger’ in the name, the menu is surprisingly extensive, and it’s not at all easy to pick out just one flower from the garden of delights on offer.
Looking around, everything’s all so well-put together that it’s seamless – it’s so right that you probably won’t even realise just how well-sorted it is. The evening lighting is perfect, both inside and out on the decks. The music is on the hip side of cool, and gets your feet tapping without killing the conversation. The outer-deck fans waft gently instead of blasting, and the seats are just the right level of comfortable. Other restaurants should take lessons from this.
The house wine is at a sensible price and extremely palatable – plus there’s also a wide selection of New World alternatives to go for. All the local beers are priced at less than you’d expect. There are some innovative and unusual cocktails. And if you enjoy the bouquet of a fine beer, then you’ll spend an age trying to decide between Hoegaarden, Dunkel, Hofbrau Weiss, Anderson Valley Boont, Amber Ale IPA, or Dead Guy Rogue Ale.
And while you’re chewing your fingers in an anguish of indecision, the waiting staff will pop back up again to fill that universal restaurant black hole between ordering and receiving – cheerfully dropping a big bowl of salted popcorn, a jar of assorted pickles, and a selection of breads with herb butter onto your table – again, other restaurants take note!
I could write another 5,000 words, simply listing out the contents of the menu, and the effortlessly-expert way in which all the sauces, salads and sides that come with each plate are elegantly combined together. The starters alone are huge; the equal of many a main dish elsewhere. Even the ‘humble’ burgers are craftsman-built, and come with beetroot, pineapple, salad, white cheddar, sizzled egg, stacked sauce etc., etc. (there’s a huge range of toppings and extras) and in a home-made sourdough bun. I could go on . . .
Stacked Burger in Chaweng has an attention to detail, service and quality that is the envy of many a so-called fine-dining establishment. But this place is seriously funky, it’s great fun eating here (before or after you go out on the town) and the food is utterly, mouth-wateringly, fabulous. End of story!
Rob De Wet
For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7791 5222.