Purveyor: Ze Pickle, Foveaux St. Surry Hills NSW, Australia
Menu Item: The Southern Hick
Price: $16.50 AUD
Squawk: First of all, the Worldwide Holy-Cluck Reviewer Team prides itself on knowing about all things chicken burger, so when our friend and famous actress, Kristin Sweeney, popped into Sydney for a visit and told us she thought she’d stumbled across a solid nine or ten at place we’d never heard of, we were all like, whaaaaaa? Turns out homegirl was right. Ze Pickle was literally entering its second week of business when she dragged us back for her second burger in a row. (On two consecutive days, not the same day. Don’t be gross). Before we even got inside, we liked it. The interior is wide open and welcoming, with great decor done by the owners themselves. It mainly consists of walls comprised of marijuana sacks and black drawers (possibly full of weed), and a lone PacMan neon light. They have a great beer list, that changes frequently so you can try new things each time you go back, and the service is attentive and on-point. Adam, the friendly Owner, told us he interviewed over 300 people for 20 positions and it’s clear he chose well. And not just in the front of the house, but in the back too, because the burger we had was off the chook. (Sorry. Hook.)
There are TWO chicken burgers on the menu, so we’ll be back to review the other one soon, but for now we settled on The Southern Hick. It comes with maple smoked bacon, jack cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, and ZP’s own secret sauce but it was the smoked jalapeños that really put this one over the top. (Note: they come standard on the other burger, but we asked for them on the Southern Hick because SMOKED JALAPEÑOS! Even without those, the maple smoked bacon is the best we’ve had in Australia and it adds a unique sweetness that we haven’t enjoyed anywhere else. Speaking of sweetness, these knuckleheads have created a dessert called the “Oreogasm” – two Oreo cookies deep fried in doughnut batter with toffee caramel ice cream and topped with liquid Nutella and a cherry. Proceed at your own risk.
Overall we were very impressed with what Ze Pickle has to offer, they are onto a winning formula and we can’t wait to go back to try chicken burger number two. Factor in the usual teething pains most restaurants suffer through during their first few months of business, and the fact that these guys get so much right, right out of the gate is even more impressive. If they keep it up, they could well be on their way to a Best Burger Award this year.
Buaawk: There are a couple easy points to deduct from this nearly perfect burger. For starters, chips are extra. At $16.50 you’d expect at least a small portion to be included. Our general feeling at HC is that charging for chips with a burger is un-Australian, un-American, un-Everything. Unless they’re amazing chips. We didn’t order any, so we’ll report back when we review that second dirty bird burger on the menu. The bread roll isn’t anything special – normally we like a nice brioche or sometimes a toasted rye bread, but in this instance the rye would have looked out of place, and sweetness of the brioche along with the sweetness from the maple bacon would have made the whole thing too sugary. The fact that the Chef knew this gets them a 7, but the roll itself is a 5. If you’re a regular reader of Holy-Cluck then you know we love our sauces. Ze Pickle have a special ZP sauce, but we have no idea what it is and it wasn’t apparent on the burger. Asking for other sauces got us a small ramekin of Cholula, a great choice, but bring the bloody bottle so we can slather at will, and more options is more better.
UPDATE: We went back. Brought some friends. This burger stacks up. Solid nines and 9.5’s all around. And this time we ordered the beer cheese sauce and maple bacon fries. All we can say is they’re super tasty and we’re gonna need bigger pants. We still think chips should come with the burgers as opposed to being an add-on, but as far as add-on’s go, these are the goods.
Purveyor: Keg & Brew, 26 Foveaux St. Surry Hills NSW, Australia
Menu Item: Diablo Chicken Burger
Price: $16 AUD ($9.90 on Mondays)
Squawk: The smokey cheese was the only highlight of this burger – that, and it looked appetising when it landed on my table. How wrong I was.
Buaawk: Where to start? The chicken wasn’t spicy, as advertised. It was, however, overcooked, and had the consistency of chicken you would find in the frozen section of your local supermarket. The brioche tasted a day old. Even the freshest of brioche has no business housing a chicken burger, in my opinion.* I think it had coleslaw, but there was so little that I’m struggling to remember.
– Tim B.
*Editor’s Note: This is a subject of much debate here at Holy-Cluck and is largely brioche dependant.
Purveyor: The Local Taphouse, Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia
Menu Item: Fried Chicken Burger
Price: $18 AUD
Squawk: The Local has long been regaled for its ever-changing and always wonderfully varied beer list, but not once have we heard anyone remark about the quality of their food. So it was a bit of a surprise for us to discover a such a good burger here. For starters the chicken itself was beer battered breast meat, the perfect combo of juicy and crispy. We did wonder which of the many beers on their list they used to make such a lovely batter. The perfectly toasted, almost burned, bun appeared to be too thick at first, but turns out it was merely fluffy and squashed down perfectly to fit into our gobs. We loved the artisanal pickles too and wished there were more of them, especially when they’re sitting atop a slice of that fake cheese product we love so well. (We love “real” cheese too). Finally, the chipotle mayo was an unexpected delight. This is a great burger and we were very sad when it ended.
Buaawk: We would have enjoyed a few more pickles. Things like Dijon mustard, crispy bacon or a nice Ox Heart tomato slice could have put this one over the top. Fries were good, but not spectacular. All that said, this one is a definite contender for the upcoming Best Burger Awards.
9/10 Updated Score: 8/10 See comments for more info.
Bonus: Amazing beer list.