Purveyor: Burger Project, MLC Centre, Sydney CBD, Australia
Menu Item: Spicy Fried Chicken Katsu Burger
Price: $10.90 AUD
Squawk: This place has been popping up on our radar for some time – people telling us we gotta try it and all that. Of course “people” don’t always know what’s up. That’s why you need experts like us. To tell you where to get lunch. And judging by the long lines, this place makes a pretty decent, if not very popular burger. And at $10.90 it represents decent value which may be a large part of why people queue up. Most everyone we spoke with got beef burgers, but that’s a whole other blog, we’re all about the squaaaaawkers, and sadly the best thing we can say about this particular burger is the chipotle chips are really great, even if they are $5.50 extra. Great chips.
Buaawk: There’s a lot of disappointment here. Overall its just a tiny burger to start with. The bun was too sugary and plastic food shiny. Chicken is thin, although evenly breaded and fried, it’s not “Katsu” at all, more of a small schnitzel is all. For heat there was some salted chopped chillies, not a sauce. Pickles were OK, lettuce was fine, and the “Katsu” sauce was non-existent. We had higher hopes. The good news is this place is a “project” which means there’s a chance for them to do better next time. Right?
Purveyor: Bar Luca, 52 Phillip St. Sydney Australia
Menu Item: Chicken Karage Burger w wasabi aioli, pickled vegetables, coriander and coral lettuce.
Price: $14 AUD.
Add Fries +$3
Add Fries and Chicken Wings +$6 (Squaaaaawk!)
Add Cheese +$2
Add Streaky Bacon +$2
Add Egg +$2 (No!)
Squawk: Three reviewers. Three identical burgers. We all went for the added cheese, pickles and the fries/chicken wings combo option because we are hard core Cluckers. Normally we would have added bacon too, but with the wings? It just all seemed a bit too risky. And by “risky” we mean anything from a heart attack to a head down, drooling nap session back at the office while our friendly colleagues draw dicks on our face with permanent pen.
In a sea of sameness these guys have a unique take on the chicken burger: Japanese. It starts of course with the crispy Karage style chicken – and lots of it – and extends to the Japanese style pickles and of course the wasabi aioli. All of which adds up to a winner. Mostly. We didn’t spot the Nippon influence right away and if we had we probably wouldn’t have added the extra “normal” pickles, not that they detracted one bit. More that we felt we’d accidentally strayed from the Chef’s vision. (sigh) Next time.
We also loved that even though we may have misfired with the pickles, they gave us the option to add them without any drama. In fact their Burger Add-Ons as listed in the “price” section above, made us very happy. It’s like having 4-Wheel Drive in your car. Even if you don’t use it 99% of the time, its nice to know it’s there just in case. And because those add-ons are there, there’s no barrier to your own particular flavour of goodness. It’s not quite The Counter, but it’s appreciated. Also we loved the wide sauce selection. We were happy to our friends at Diemen’s represented along with a new one from Changz we’d never seen before (it’s really nice.)
The venue is meh. Sort of a CBD vibe with people in suits and shorts – good mix, but it’s not a place you’d ever come for the vibe or decor. Thankfully their burger is a winner.
Buaawk: Normally when we’re out on the job we start by making a list of all the things we like and attribute point values. In this rare instance we started by trying to figure out what we could possibly take points away for. It’s that good. It may not be the Perfect 10 Unicorn, but it’s close. We knocked off points for the mayo overload. Wasabi or not, they need to ease up. Take a look at that massive glob oozing out between the cheese and the brioche in the photo above and you’ll get an idea of what we were dealing with. And the fries. A burger this good deserves better fries. Sure the parsley on top is a nice touch, but overall Bar Luca drops the ball with these shoestrings. And it’s a damn shame.
Some very interesting things going on in the Big Apple.
Via Grub Street
Some people seem to think Shake Shack just might be the best burger chain in the world. We’re not sure, but they did just announce their first ever chicken sandwich. The fried chicken looks crispy and crunchy in all the right ways and we can already imagine the juiciness of the meat. The pickles look absolutely dynamite and the buttermilk herb mayo must be addicting if it’s used so liberally. It’s available starting today for a limited time only at Shake Shack’s Brooklyn locations.