There is this sense of nostalgia, for people who grew up having Botak Jones are probably in their 30s and 40s – from teenagers then to perhaps parents with kids now.
Botak Jones known for its burgers and Western food such as Cajun Chicken and Fish & Chips, had more than 10 outlets in Singapore during its hey days.
It was a regular haunt for its affordable Western dishes with big portions. There weren’t that many burger places in Singapore a decade ago as well.
I recall it was an inexpensive alternative when I wanted a meal near Orchard Road, with meals at their makeshift tables at Youth Park (now who remembers that?)
It is owned by Bernard Utchenik, an American-turned-Singaporean, who is really better known as “Botak Jones” (“Botak” means “bald” in Malay.)
His food has never really left us though, with two Big Bern’s outlets at Timbre+ and Gluttons Bay, though both outlets have closed in 2021.
Botak Jones is back to Depot Lane in a Yue Hua Eating House – a kopitiam in the middle of an industrial estate. (There are a few famous stalls here too, such as Wong Kee Noodle.)
The queue during Day 1 of operations landed up to be 2 hours of wait for many old-fans, with the food was sold out by 2 to 3pm.
They originally intended to have dinner service, but have now planned to shelve it to start on Friday so that they can better iron out operations. Thankfully I pre-ordered before hand.
Available on the menu include favourites of The Botah Burger ($10.50 for burger, $13.50 for set), Chilli Dawg ($13.50 for set), Cajun Chicken ($7.50), BBQ Chicken ($7.50), Fish and Chips ($8), Norwegian Salmon Fillet ($18.50), Rosemary Lamp Chops ($22.50), NZ Ribeye Steak ($23 for 250gm) and Caesar Salad ($5.50).
Also offered are side of Whoopass Chilli Con Carne ($4.50), Bar-B-Qued Chicken Wings ($2.50, min 3 per order), Mushroom Soup ($3) and Double Baked Cheese Potato ($4.50).
The Botak Burger ($10.50) is probably what fans have to order, with options of a Double Botak ($16.50, $19.50 with set) for two patties, and U-Crazy-What ($24.50 for burger, $27.50 with set) for a mega three-patties tower.
The beef patty is hand-made, marinated with mixture of spices, and flame-grilled to medium-well. If you like your burgers well-done, let them know before hand.
The patty was still considerably juicy and flavourful after dabao, also coming with cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato and onions.
It was still that good-old classic Botak Jones Burger that would give you that sense of familiarity and comfort; but if you have never tried it before, you may wonder what all the fuss is about.
Loved those crinkle cut Spicy Fries with salt and their own spice mix. Addictive.
The Fish and Chips ($8 for regular, $15 for large) uses White Basa breaded with Japanese bread crumbs.
However, the slab of fish could be cut too thin and so it became on the harder side after takeaways, and customers may prefer something more flaky or juicy.
The Cajun Chicken ($7.50 for regular, $13 for large) is another fan favourite, and I enjoyed that light smoky flavours after it was being char-grilled.
The mozzarella cheese on top would have tasted more melty if dine-in, while the spicy Cajun sauce had a bold flavour with subtle earthiness, though could be spicier.
The team was apologetic for the long queue as response was beyond expectations. They have just installed more equipment to ensure the food is prepared to their standards.
”A short apology to those of you whose food wasn’t as expected, we can and will do better, we have to.”
The Original Botak Jones
Yue Hua Eating House, 118 Depot Lane, Singapore 108754
Tel: +65 9380 5339
Opening Hours: 11am – 8pm or sold out (Mon – Sun)
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