SINGAPORE, April 16 — So, you already know that rapper Sheikh Haikel opened up a FatPapas Burgers and Shakes eatery, the first halal offshoot of Fatboy’s The Burger Bar.
But what you might not know is that Haikel, 42, has a secret menu at his new burger joint.
The man is heavily involved in the business, which sees lines forming from the moment it opens at 5pm, and stays busy until it closes at 11pm. The wait can be as long as three hours.
Haikel stands by the door, managing the crowd and welcoming people.
“Yo, bro!” he booms in his larger-than-life style, greeting passers-by. He shoots the breeze with those waiting for tables, laughing at inside jokes — even at his own expense. He flashes a peace sign with to a neighbouring store owner drifting down Bali Lane, where FatPapas is located.
But he drops his voice suddenly.
“Hey,” he whispers into his walkie-talkie, which is linked to a system for servers on the second floor. “Any chance of getting a table soon?” he asks them. “There are people waiting down here.”
He turns to you and says: “I’m always worried when the line doesn’t move. People are hangry.”
But back to that secret menu, which Haikel presents to the people he personally seats. Secret menus are beloved all over the world, from In-N-Out Burger, to Starbucks. But perhaps none but Haikel present it this manner. “Everything about me has to be a performance,” he says.
Thus, he asks you as he walks you to your table whether you know what you want to order — then cuts you off as you begin to reply.
“I’m going to screw you up now,” he says, before launching into a rap-like, rhythmic spiel.
“Aight, check this out! My secret menu contains two burgers. The first burger is a Country Fried Sheikh Burger. That burger consists of a bun, mashed potato, fries, bacon, and a piece of country fried steak and sauce,” he rattles. In fact, it also contains yet another piece of country fried steak, more bacon, and more sauce.
“If you’re going out after this, please don’t do it,” he says.
“The second burger I have is called Beef Ucken. That’s because it’s got a beef patty, turkey bacon, and fried chicken. This one comes with jalapeno, sun dried tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and nice, smoked chipotle sauce.”
Getting into the groove, he lists an array of fries — and on the secret menu, “I’ve got Disco Fries, which are fries with brown sauce and melted cheddar cheese. I’ve got Groovy Fries, fries with brown sauce and cheese sauce”.
He goes on to tell you that there is a salted egg chilli chicken dish as well.
Haikel’s secret menu — the burgers are S$22 (RM69), the special fries are S$7, and the chicken dish is S$11.50 — is bound to grow bigger as FatPapas expands, says his business partner, Bernie Tay, the owner of the Fatboy’s franchise.
“Haikel has the imagination,” said Tay, who adds that the plan is to take FatPapas into Malaysia and Indonesia. Tay and Haikel intend to extend hours for Ramadan, which begins in late May, to provide services for those who want to take home food to break fast with their families.
The two are also looking at other spaces here to open another burger shop. The success of FatPapas, which opened in February, is down to Haikel’s philosophy — that he is providing an option for good halal food to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
“These are my people we are feeding,” he says. “Breaking bread together is special. Food makes blood.”
In the meantime, if you visit FatPapas, here’s another secret: Do not be afraid to ask for extra sauce — no charge, says Haikel.
“In fact, I’ll encourage you to drink it, it’s that good,” he says. That is just the kind of guy he is. — TODAY
FatPapas Burgers and Shakes is at 17 Bali Lane. Tel: 6291 8028.