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: Hinano Cafe, Venice, CA USA
Menu Item: Turkey Burger
Price: $9 USD (w/ Cheese)
Squawk: First of all, don’t get your panties all in a wad over the fact that we’re reviewing a TURKEY burger on a chicken burger blog. Turkeys and chickens have a lot in common: both have two legs, one beak, lots of feathers, can’t fly very well and taste delicious. Secondly, it would take a very special turkey burger to earn a spot here on Holy-Gobble… errr… Cluck. Point is, Hinano claims their burgers are “world famous” and while the validity of such an overused claim is in part due to their iconic location right at Venice Pier, it’s also due to the fact that they make a kick-ass burger in a salty, old run down dive bar, that if you didn’t know better, looks like it would surely be home to a sneaky salmonella or two.
Thankfully it is not and more thankfully, they get it consistently right. We love the simplicity of serving in a cardboard tray, the random bag of chips that gets thrown in (You don’t get to choose – I got Cheetos, my friend got Sour Cream & Onion), and we especially love the accompanying pickled chilli peppers and dill pickle. It may not sound like it all makes sense, but trust us, it does. Simplicity is the key here. Other than choosing a cheese (Cheddar or Swiss) you don’t get a ton of options like some other places (See The Counter review coming soon), but you do get a perfectly grilled turkey patty on a nice bun with fresh lettuce, tomato and if you need to sauce it up there’s big ol’ squeeze bottles of yellow mustard and red ketchup within easy reach.
Buaawk: Did we mention this place is a dive bar? It’s seen better days, and so have most of the regular patrons who hold court there – and their relentless flow of nonsensical drunk talk sorta drives us bananas. But then again, maybe we just didn’t have enough to drink.
Bonus Points: Sawdust on the floors and a jukebox that just don’t give a fuck.
Purveyor: Oporto, Everywhere in Australia
Menu Item: Bondi Burger Meal (Small)
Squawk: Fast n cheap. Reliably consistent. Easily found in case of chicken burger emergencies. And they’re not afraid to put a shit-ton of chicken salt on your chips. It may be all chemicals and way to bright yellow to be good for you, but damn its tastes good.
Buaawk: There was a time in Australia when Oporto was considered THE definitive chicken burger. Their unique Portuguese style chicken (spicy, but not painful), great sauce and value for money helped them quickly grow from their original Bondi Beach location into the national chain they are today. But sadly all that growth came at a price. The mass produced bread rolls are mostly air and sugar. The chicken overly processed. Their sauce used to be the “real deal,” but now it’s a colour that cant possibly be natural. And so far, every Oporto we’ve been in has been a mess – dirty trays, wrappers, empty bags and cups strewn all over. Even when the place is empty it can be hard to find a clear place to sit. But hey, they still got that nasty (read: we love it) “chook salt” on their chips.