The end of April marked two months since I moved to Seoul. It also marked the start of some intense English food cravings. All I wanted to do for an entire weekend was stuff my face full of fish and chips, full English breakfast, and an Indian takeaway. As well as English food, I wanted some decent Western food in general, particularly a good burger and fries. So when I mentioned this to my friend the other day, she suggested we go for to a place called Fingertips in the Seongsu neighbourhood of Seoul, a small but popular burger restaurant.
My friend and I had arranged to meet at 5:10 to be there early for their evening sitting opening time of 5:30. Unfortunately, their opening on this day was pushed back to 6:00, but our early arrival time proved useful – a large crowd of people formed in wait, but we were first on the list. We were ushered inside and got to choose a table ourselves after being handed an all-Korean menu. But no fear, my non-Korean-speaking companions; my friend asked for an English menu and one was brought out straight away.
Looking at the menu, there was a varied but concise selection of burgers – to my amusement, all named after the five different fingers on your hand – with the choice to add toppings to any of the set variations. Fries come in a variety of flavours, ranging from the standard plain to sesame or garlic toppings. Also on offer are burger and soup sets, a salad, and an intriguing side dish named “Fried Cheese meatball in Hell”. The beer selection was quite impressive and included different Asian beers as well as American and European, as well as a few pale ales. There were also the standard soft drinks, plus some ‘ades’, milkshakes and coffees, if beer isn’t your thing.
I ordered the ‘Thumb’ burger; a 100% beef burger sitting on the restaurant’s own ‘finger sauce’, red onion, tomato, grilled onion and mushroom, and topped with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, salsa, sour cream, bacon and a fried egg.
Oh. My. Word.
When I said that I wanted a burger, I wasn’t talking about your bog standard fast food offerings. No, I wanted what I call a ‘fancy burger’, i.e. one with many toppings and that will probably fall apart in your hands because the meat is so juicy and the bun is so soft. With the Thumb burger, that’s exactly what I got. The meat was perfectly cooked, the brioche bun was soft and not overwhelming (an issue I often find with burgers) and the toppings were simply a dream. My beautiful fresh grapefruit ade sat forgotten for quite some time, as did the accompanying plain fries that I had opted for. The burger was exquisite, and I’m already trying to decide how soon is too soon to go back and try another one.
One of the few, admittedly minor, complaints I have is that the portion of fries is quite small and looks a little bit sad on the plate. They were great fries – skin-on and soft and crispy in all the right ways – so I would have liked a few more. As well as this, the serve-yourself sauce bottles were in significant need of changing for new ones as many of them were practically empty. Also, my friend, who is Korean, said that the staff were a little bit rude to her – something I can’t verify, but that I trust her on. But rude or not, the service was very quick and efficient, we waited only a short amount of time for our food, and the atmosphere was comfortable and laid-back with some good English music being played for background noise.
Fingertips has been around for about three years, grinds all their own meat every day for the patties, and bakes their rolls fresh each morning. Set in the back streets of Seongsu-dong, it’s a burger haven and hidden gem. Only in a location sense however, as proven by the long queue of people that formed before doors had opened. At Fingertips, I ate arguably one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, and couldn’t recommend it more. It’s a little tricky to find, but it’s definitely worth it.