Purveyor: Bennett Street Dairy, Bondi NSW, Australia
Menu Item: Hilda’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken on Lux Brioche
Price: $18.50 AUD
Squawk: We never thought it would happen, but there we were, stuffing our faces trying to find fault with this amazing burger, and we could not. Nothing. Sure, the place isn’t licensed, so no beer. Sure they got the “comes with chips” part wrong. Sure the unevenly weighted presentation with the two squishy pickles isn’t going to blow up on Instagram, but this burger is so good it overcomes all those things. The brioche is sweet – too sweet for most the burgers we’ve reviewed, but it is so perfectly matched with all the other innards, you can’t fault it. The smoked cheddar is fantastic all on it’s own, but factor in the way these guys get it melted to perfection with just the edges a bit burned and crunchy, and you can’t fault it. The Jalapeño Mayo has enough kick to warrant the name. We’d love more heat, but you can’t fault it. The rocket (aka rugula) and roast tomato do the job they’re there to do, it’s a good combo and you can’t fault it. And the house-made onion relish adds the perfect amount of moisture and tang to offset the aforementioned super sweet brioche, and you can’t fault it. Lastly the chicken is pure white meat, perfectly fried with just enough crunch, and without the excess oil that plagues so many other establishements, and you can’t fault it. Congrats to owner James Meek and Chef Cliff Baskin – Grandma Hilda would be proud.
“You can’t fault it.”
Buaawk: No beer. No chips. Pickles aren’t the best. A little bit expensive. And none of this matters.
Purveyor: Cook & Archies, Surry Hills, NSW Australia
Menu Item: Southern Fried Chicken Burger
Price: $19 AUD
Squawk: There’s a lot to love about this burger and Chef gets bonus points for being ballsy enough to put a pineapple slice on it and have it work. To most of us here at Holy-Cluck pineapple seems like the sort of thing you should just pull out before your first bite (and it was hard for us not to), but when combined with the crunchy chicken and tartness of the fermented cabbage and green apple slaw, it all comes together in a truly original – and delicious – way. The combos including the smoky mayo and jalapeños are perfectly balanced, high quality and unexpected, providing a good mix of textures and flavours without any off-putting mouth feel. Good sweet potato chips too, although the portion was small.
Buaawk: Somebody’s never been to “The South” coz this ain’t even close to how they do fried chicken down there. While we enjoyed the thin, crunchy pieces, any connoisseur would agree the sandwich doesn’t deliver what the menu promises. All of us felt the burger was too small in both diameter and height for $19 and some of us felt that despite all the interesting and well paired ingredients, it was a bit dry and the bread roll too thick in relation to what was inside it.
Purveyor: Orto Trading Co, Surry Hills, NSW Australia
Menu Item: Southern Fried Chicken Benni
Price: $18 AUD
Squawk: The brioche (They call it an English Muffin, but it’s not even close) is one of the best around and the sweetness is just right with the butter and Hollandaise. Egg is just right – oozing the needed yolky moisture to make the semi-dry chicken go down smoothly. We love the venue and the friendly staff. We heard it was sold recently so went back to see what the new Owner was up to. Turns out, they kept all the things we loved about the place – and added a few new delicious non-chicken items to menu as well, The “Orto Brekky” is a fave. We highly recommend the place overall, but if you’re heading out for a high-ranking chicken burger, keep walking, the exception to this being, if you’re supremely hungover. In that case, one of these and one of their perfect coffees, just might get you through the morning.
Buaawk: This should be knock your socks off delicious. Sadly all socks stay on. (Maybe that’s a good thing.) Point is this could be something special with a little more love, attention to detail and creativity. Our biggest issue is with the chicken itself, too much oily crust, and the three times we’ve tried, it always seems like it sat in the fryer for just a bit too long. And a side of something potato-ey would go a long way.
Menu Item: Chipotle Chicken Burger
Squawk: Man, this was tasty. Two generous hammer flattened, grilled chicken breast fillets cooked to perfection. Not dry at all. The brioche bun was fresh and squishy and the tomato and lettuce inside juicy and crisp. The pièce de résistance was the huge dollop of avocado and chipotle blended sauce. It was literally dripping out of the bun. Just the right level of spice for everyone.
Not a traditional fried burger but extremely fresh and juicy. An at $8.50 a filling bargain.
Buaawk: It’s cash only but the cashier just said “We will start making it while you go get cash”. Good sales tactics and really friendly. Some slaw would be a great addition to help hold in all the sauce. So underground they don’t have a website
Bonus Points: Despite this not being a sit down venue the Thai English misspellings on the menu and delightful staff makes this hole in the ground one not to be missed. Plus its cheep cheep.
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.