Fats and Angry: Bangkok’s slice of 1950’s Americana
Hey All You Cool Cats & Kittens
Just a short walk from the Sapan Taksin BTS station, in Charoen Krung one of Bangkok’s more creative districts, is a small slice of Americana, Fats and Angry. A 1950’s style hamburger and milkshake bar that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of TV show ‘happy days’ or one of the ‘back to the future’ films. With its retro tongue in cheek neon signage (reading ‘Get Fats Here’ and ‘Fats People Club’), its black and white tiled floor, the red cushioned and chrome-plated bar stools, vintage posters and the authentic cool turquoise, red, and cream colour scheme. The retro theme carries on with the restaurant’s playlist with classics pop tunes from the 50s and 60s with hits from Richie Valens and Sam Cooke, right up to the 80s with Chris de Burgh and David Bowie.
Fats and Angry specialise in the classic American smash-style hamburgers and fried finger food together with lip-smacking, traditionally made milkshakes that even Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega would be proud of. We spoke to owner Khun Lee about the name Fats and Angry, her concept and of course her shakes and burgers. She explains the name was just a bit of fun and went well the whole feel of the restaurant it also centres around their mascot Mr. Hangry whose grumpy visage is on everything from the plateware to the lampshades. Lee went on to tell us that she got the idea for Fats and Angry from her many trips to the states for work and travel.
This was where she got her passion for American culture in everything from the architecture, music, film and fashion to American cuisine, especially the well-known burgers joints like California’s in-n-out and New York’s shake shack. Once the pandemic allows us to once again travel freely, Lee has plans on visiting many more of America’s long-established diners. These names are some of the meccas of American hamburger/diner culture which include the legendary Pie’n Burger, The Apple Pan and the iconic Original Tommy’s Hamburgers to name but a few.
A whole lot of shaking going on!
Around the same time that the hamburger was becoming popular in America having been brought over by the influx of immigrants coming from Europe, especially Germany in the early 1900s. People also began looking for new ways to cure their cravings for sweet treats so by the 1930s, milkshakes had become a big hit at malt shops, which were otherwise known as ‘soda fountains’ which were popular youth hangouts during mid 30s going all the way through the 60s and beyond.
Fats and Angry are just as serious about their shakes. Their milkshakes are made with real homemade ice-cream which is custom made to meet their specific requirements and then blended with fresh whole, full-fat milk to create that cold, sweet, creamy treat that we all know and love. There’s a good range of eight flavours to choose from which include classics like vanilla, cookies and cream, and chocolate. There’s even a two-tone shake, which is a layered milkshake of two flavours of your choice.
We went for two different varieties of milkshake, we had to try a two-tone shake where we went with the combination of classic vanilla and the hazelnut milkshake and for the other, we went for another all-time classic flavour, the strawberry milkshake. The shakes are made in front of you at the countertop bar in a proper stainless steel milkshake maker and poured in to a vintage style knickerbocker glory glass.
Our first shake was the strawberry, it had a lovely soft pink colour and had been generously topped with whipped cream and a dusting of colourful sprinkles (that’s hundreds and thousands to you Brits out there) and the addition of a wide red and white, candy stripped paper straw that just give the milkshake that look of authenticity to it.
This is honestly one of the better strawberry shakes that I’ve had in Thailand, real bits of strawberry give a lovely natural fruit flavour which combines with the creamy, sweet ice cream wonderfully without being too sweet. The blend of milk to ice cream gives the shake a nice thick, creamy consistency which is made even more luxurious with the addition of the whipped cream and the sprinkles.
Our two-tone shake was just as good and the strawberry, the bottom layer of our shake was the hazelnut (Nutella) which was again poured into the same knickerbocker glory style glassware. It had a nice soft brown, beige-like colour on top of which the second layer of the classic pale-yellow vanilla is poured. The top layer is nicely flecked with tiny pieces of the black vanilla bean, followed by a good squirt of whipped cream with black and red sprinkles again with a candy stripped straw this time in green and white. Another great milkshake, the combination of the vanilla and the hazelnut ice cream pair nicely together without canceling each other out, the same thick, creamy consistency whilst the decoration of the sprinkles adds a little crunchy sweetness to both of the shakes which is a nice touch.
Now for the burgers, as I mentioned Fats and Angry serve American style smashed burgers. This is as exactly as it sounds; these are burger patties that have been ‘smashed’ or pressed with a heavy spatula whilst they cook on the grill creating something called the Maillard reaction. This is where the sugars in the beef caramelise during cooking giving you a tastier burger, a burger that is simultaneously developing a nice crispy char but keeping the hamburger good and juicy.
Fats and Angry burgers are made with imported Australian beef blending at an eighty/twenty meat-to-fat ratio which keeps the patties from drying out on the grill. There are a whopping fourteen burgers available, counting a few regional burgers like the Oklahoma City onion burger and the New Yorker as well as classics like the double cheeseburger and bacon cheeseburger. There’s also the interesting sounding pizza burger, as well as a fried chicken and a fish cheeseburger.
The first burger on our hit list was the California Cheeseburger, the smashed Australian beef patty is sandwiched between a homemade white, well-toasted bun. The American cheese that has been melted over the beef patty whilst still on the grill giving that lovely gooey texture that just makes for a perfect cheeseburger. Crisp iceberg lettuce adds a nice cool crunch, while the tomatoes give a nice sweetness that is contrasted by the raw bite of the onion, the acidic tang of the pickles and the Fats and Angry house burger sauce. The sauce is your classic burger sauce a combination of yellow mustard, mayo, Ketchup but with a pinch of cayenne pepper and a splash of pickling juice that give the sauce a nice tangy spice kick.
For our next burger we decided to go for the more modern classic of the Avocado Bacon Cheeseburger, this time two crisp charred and juicy beef patties are placed between the soft white bun which has been well toasted on the grill. More of the American cheese is melted over of the smashed double patties filling up the crags on the crispy surface and edges of the burgers. On top of the cheesy patties, smoked streaky bacon which has been cooked until crisp is laid on top adding a lovely smokey flavour and contrasting texture to the creamy avocado slices. This is all finished off with fresh lettuce, tomato and the house Fats and Angry burger sauce. All the burgers on the menu are very reasonably priced starting at 190 baht and none over the 300 baht mark, there are also combo sets available. However, all the burgers do come with a handful of smiley fries.
Fries and Sides
At Fats and Angry there’s a selection of four sides to accompany your burger of choice. All of the sides and fries are imported from the US for that real diner flavour; there are curly fries, smiley fries, onion rings and fried chicken wings which come in four portion sizes from small to extra-large as well as having the option of the Fats and Angry platter that’s a combo of all of the above plus yummy fried herb and cheddar cheese cube bites for just 200 baht which are just perfect to share or for the very indecisive and hungry.
The Curly Fries have nice southern-style seasoning and cooked to a nice deep golden hue. They are everything you want from good fries; they have a good crisp outside and fluffy on the inside, delicious on their own or with any of the burgers. Next, we have the Smiley Fries which are simply seasoned with salt, these deep-fried potato faces have a wonderful crunch as you bite into them and again the soft, pillowy potato on the inside that just beg to be dipped in the tomato ketchup and mayo that come with the platter.
Then, we have the Onion Rings these were coated in a delightful crunchy bread crumb batter, then fried to a nice golden brown yet another great accompaniment to all of the items on the Fats and Angry menu. Finally, there are the Fried Chicken Wings, these are southern style fried chicken wings which have been fried to nice deep gold leaving the batter crispy and the chicken succulent. They are then covered with a tangy, spicy, semi-sweet powder rub that just give the wings an added zing.
Fish and Chips
As an Englishman in Bangkok, I’m always intrigued in how other cultures prepare and cook our beloved national dish of Fish and Chips. I had previously never encountered an American diner style version of our most cherished comfort food and my curiosity got the better of me so we ordered the fish and chips as our final dish. At Fats and Angry for just 165 baht you get a sizable piece of golden breadcrumb battered fish and a portion of the southern-style curly fries. The golden breadcrumb batter gives a wonderful crunch but also protects the delicate fish inside, leaving the fish moist, flakey and flavourful. This was served with both ketchup and tartar sauce which is always great with fried fish. I liked the dish, it really reminded me of fond childhood memories going to Wendy’s (in the UK) or some place like that for friends birthday parties in the late 80’s. It was filling and great value for money.
Let’s go, Daddy-O
The name Fats and Angry is actually something of a misnomer, because I can assure that if you come to dine here you will find the servers both kind and welcoming. Our servers, Ice and Moji both did a fantastic job hosting us. What’s more is they give away cool stickers, as well as having cool shirts for sale. If you’re feeling hangry and looking for some great burgers and delicious milkshakes get yourself down to Fats and Angry or check out their sister restaurant Gump in Ari you may leave fat but you won’t leave angry.
Other reviews of American restaurants from Bangkok Eats TV.