Purveyor: Chur, Surry Hills NSW, Australia
Menu Item: Marinated Grilled Chicken w Hot Mayo and Minted Slaw
Price: $10 AUD (Spicy Chips $6, L&P $5)
Squawk: We’ve been fans of this place ever since we first tried their BBQ pork sandwich. It’s so good we’ve never been able to make ourselves order the chicken burger until now. And that’s saying a lot, because you KNOW how much we loves them chicken burgers.
When you order you’ll see a sign behind the bar that says “We proudly serve McClure’s pickles.” So we asked for those to be put on the burger. Turns out this was an excellent idea if we may say so ourselves. They’re good. The Hot mayo isn’t that hot really, but it does add a nice bit of kick. And if you need more, just reach for one of the many options in their beer style six packs of hot sauces. The meat is nicely grilled chicken breast, nearly blackened and it’s all held together, barely, by a nice soft brioche that’s not sweet like some. This is a real contender, not quite a top-scorer, but some Dijon mustard, crispy bacon, or a thick tomato slice just might bring this one into “Best Burger” Champion range.
Buaawk: Lots of sauce. Maybe too much sauce. It’s super messy, and impossible to eat without getting your hands covered. Fortunately there’s a whole entire roll of paper towels always at your disposal. And tasty beats messy 7 days a week. Our major gripe is that it’s always too loud. The music isn’t for the customers. Its for the staff. And that’s been a problem every time we’ve come here. We didn’t come to dance. We came to eat and catch up with out mates. If they fix this then they’ve fixed nearly everything.
Purveyor: City Edge, Surry Hills NSW, Australia
Menu Item: Vietnamese Schnitzel Roll
Price: $10 AUD
Squawk: It’s BIG. It’s cheap. Most of the “Vietnamese” flavour seems to come from soy sauce which actually added a nice and unexpected bit of flavour – and cucumber which added a nice bit of freshness, crunch and necessary moisture. And when we say necessary, its because that bread roll is just maybe a tad too big.
Buaawk: This place is popular – probably this has more to do with large portions for little money, than amazing food. All that popularity means you’re gonna be waiting in line – although it moves fast. Judging by the lines – and all the people who encouraged us to try this place – City Edge seem to be a literal crowd pleaser.
But you are here because you don’t follow the crowd. You’re a chicken burger connoisseur. You aren’t satisfied with what feeds the masses. You want special. You want mouth joy. And while we did find some with the soy sauce and cukes, it was countered with long strands of coriander – the stalks, not the leaves which basically turn into nature’s chewing gum after awhile if you don’t pull (or spit) them out. We mentioned the bread roll. Its nice and fresh, but it’s so big that even with the “Tangy Asian Slaw” and mayo, it’s still dry in the mouth. We would have liked to see a bit more salad on here – or some vinegar perhaps to soften things up. The schnitzel is the same old boring schnitzel you get anywhere that serves boring old schnitzel. And its overly chewy nature belies a lifetime spent in a freezer.
We didn’t see the optional addition of fresh chilli mentioned on their menu board until it was too late, and nobody offered it to us when we gave our order. If they had, it could have earned them an extra point or two.
Bonus Tip: Tip: Share this one with a friend if you need to stay awake after.
Purveyor: Surly’s, Surry Hills NSW, Australia
Menu Item: Cajun Chicken Burger
Price: $18 AUD
Squawk: Cool new venue with good intentions. Great to see this incarnation of a chicken burger on a menu in Australia – you see it everywhere in the USA, but not so much down under.
Buaawk: Sadly Surly’s looks great, but has little substance. This was true of the food we tried, and the decor/vibe. For example, they have a bizarre door policy that reeked of nightclub attitude. We arrived just as the doormen were switching shifts. The first guy said they were full despite several empty tables, but he was instantly replaced with a friendlier version who seemed to have no idea what his job was, and so we just walked right in. Weird right? Doormen at a BBQ joint?
But you’re here for the food, not the attitude, so here goes. On paper this burger looks amazing – it’s got things we love like provolone cheese, cajun seasoning… bacon! But somehow it just doesn’t come together they way it should. It was tiny. The bun was too sweet. The spice not spicy. The chicken, boring. And here’s the thing: Cajun spice (real cajun spice) ain’t boring. We see this all the time in Australia – the dumbed down version of spicy food (Sweet chilli sauce is the perfect proof of this theory). Get some balls people!
To make matters worse the Surly’s team do have the balls to charge $10 for a small basket of spicy* fries making a burger and chips a near $30 outlay. Get over yourselves. Oh – and when our guest asked for an extra bread roll to mop up some of his brisket sauce? They brought him a cold one straight out of the fridge. (sigh).
* Guess what? They weren’t spicy.
Purveyor: Tripod Cafe, Darlington NSW, Australia
Menu Item: Crispy Chicken Burger
Price: $15 AUD (Lunch Special: with chips and homemade ginger beer)
Squawk: A nice surprise in an unexpected spot. This burger is big. Like “need a nap after eating it” big. It comes with a nicely prepared slaw and jalapeños which make this burger competitive. The fact that it comes with nice, but not amazing, chips/fries and Tripod’s homemade ginger beer – which is delicious – for just $15 make this good value as well.
Buaawk: Farking BBQ sauce! Why?! Why would you do that? Mayo? Sure. Garlic aioli? Why not. Sriracha? Yes please. But that shitty BBQ sauce that’s full of sugar, artificial colour and chemicals has no business on this burger. They’re already winning with the slaw and jalapeños – if they’d just stopped there this could have been a real contender, but no. Also the chicken was generous, moist and filling, but it was too fried – nobody wants to taste the oil it was fried in, and we could.
Bonus Points: Ginger Beer!