The burger craze is showing no signs of slowing, with new burger joints opening up on every corner. Here’s our pick of the best in the land.
The burgers in Sydney run the gamut from gourmet to greasy – and we love them all equally. Sydney is so burger-obsessed that the inaugural two-day Burgapalooza burger festival was held earlier this year to sell-out crowds.
SEE ALSO: Australia's 10 Best Burgers
Melbourne import Guilty (from Jimmy Hurlston of Easey’s fame) occupies a prime spot within the Republic 2 complex courtyard in Darlinghurst, where the excellent Japanese Rosan and the much-lauded Lucio’s pizzeria also reside. Hurlston, burger-purveyor par excellence, has travelled the world sampling burgers; he’s even penned a tome about Melbourne’s best. To the self-proclaimed “burger lord” the key is keeping simple. On the burger menu, there’s nothing but a cheeseburger, a double cheeseburger and the Louis’s Lunch Burglar, which is white bread, beef patty, a smear of cheese spread, a slice of tomato and onion. Pair one of these with a glass of a high-end Champagnes from the menu and you’ve got yourself some kind of culinary social commentary – the meaning of which we’re not yet sure.
In the US, the burger of choice for discerning fast-food fans is the In-n-Out burger. Earlier this year, huge crowds queued in Sydney – from 6am, no less – for a taste of the American chain’s burger at a pop-up store. Down-n-Out is capitalising on the hunger for honest, straight-up American style burgers in the city – and it’s got a better name than its American inspiration. Located in the Sir John Young Hotel, Down-N-Out by Hashtag Burgers is making headlines for all the delicious reasons. First, because head chef Sebastian Cens creates a weekly special such as the Bruffle (bacon truffle burger), in addition to the simple, American-style burgers on the menu. But most recently it’s because of their Pokeburgers, which are modelled after Pokemons and are said to be as tasty as they are cute. The pub pop-up will remain in place for the rest of the year.
A frequent quibble with burgers Down Under: where’s the pickle? We’ll put beetroot and pineapple on there, but we won’t deign to layer on a few slices of pickled cucumber? Ze Pickle has gone to the trouble of reassuring its customers before they even peruse the menu that lack of pickle won’t be an issue. And indeed it isn’t. Each burger at this chain, which originated in Queensland, comes with half a pickle skewered to its bun. Pickle established, what else can we expect? Well, there’s the classic Chee-Ze burger with a wagyu patty and fried onion straws; the outrageously calorific Doughnutfukwitdis: wagyu patty, Nutella-smoked bacon and double cheese sandwiched between a grilled doughnut; and a burger that comes sans bun; in its place are TWO grilled cheese sambos.
Bondi residents are renowned for their insistence on “clean” eating but that didn’t deter Milky Lane from setting up shop and selling a ton of burgers and a load of their most famous CoNuts, doughnut bowls filled with ice-cream, Nutella and Maltesers. Whether it’s an entire suburb worth of cheat days or some kind of reverse paleo trend we don’t know, but Milky Lane has established itself as a Bondi favourite.
The cultured food aficionados of Melbourne have copped to the fact that burgers are no passing trend, and the delicacy can be found everywhere from food trucks to fine diners. Here are just some of the top-notch new burger hot-shots.
The theory here: use top-quality free-range chuck beef, grind it into fresh mince daily, sear it until it’s perfectly browned on the outside and a little pink inside – and they will come. It worked for Burger Theory in its native Adelaide, and now it’s working at the new Melbourne restaurant. The burger market is crowded in Melbourne, but Burger Theory holds its own with five burgers including a cheeseburger, a chicken burger and a vegetarian felafel burger, plus a monthly special.
It’s all about the sauce at Changz Canteen. The Elsternwick restaurant came after the establishment of Changz Hot Sauce as the condiment of choice for Melbournites in the know. The succinct menu of five burgers, including a classic cheeseburger, comes served on Japanese milk buns from Brasserie Bread and drizzled with a generous layer of sauce plus American-style cheese, pickles and onion.
Things are strictly halal at Dani Zeini’s Royal Stacks in Brunswick, which means there’s no beer and no bacon. There’s no shortage of other ways to cram your arteries full of the good (bad) stuff, though. In fact, with burgers such as the Action Bronson, which has fake bacon made with beef, you’re unlikely to even notice the lack of swine. There are seven beef burgers along with one vegetarian option plus optional extras including a deliciously gloopy mac’n’cheese croquette and Tater Tots. The desserts are churned frozen custard (which the rest of the world calls ice-cream) and drinks come out of a machine that takes orders via app.
It’s been called the city of churches, but surely a rebrand as the city of burgers would work well for tourism. Adelaide is home to some passionate burgermeisters whose wares have proven so popular they’ve headed north to Melbourne and Sydney.
The Daisy Burger van travels the city selling burgers at markets, festivals and events and satisfying lunchtime burger cravings in town. There’s a short menu that covers all basics: a classic cheeseburger on a brioche bun, a double cheeseburger with bacon, a fried chicken burger, a haloumi and mushroom option for vegos, and a new pulled beef extravaganza with coleslaw. Daisy Burger works with local South Australian suppliers including Churchill Butchers and Riviera Bakery, and all their packaging is sustainable and plant-based. Everyone wins!
There’s a nostalgic milkbar/diner vibe at Burganomix. On the menu, burgers veer away from the classic American style just enough to pique interest, but not enough to cause indignation among burger purists. Here, the double cheeseburger has pancetta, and cheddar and Swiss cheeses instead of American, and Australian café staple avocado appears on the Mosely, along with aioli. The Nomix is the ultimate nod to the Aussie milkbar burger: egg, pineapple, beetroot and chutney.
The sunny city has been building the burger culture for some time now, and is always willing to make room for some very tasty new additions.
This chain opened its fifth and sixth stores in 2016, proving the taste for good burgers in Brissie isn’t abating. Owner Brent Poulter discovered his love of American barbecue and burgers during a trip to the US in 2008 and wanted to bring the authentic experience home. That’s why Getta Burger grinds its own meat and smokes brisket and pork in a smoker bought especially from the US. Try the classic Getta Lot for the real flavours of America: beef patty, bacon, double cheese, grilled onion, lettuce, tomato, barbecue sauce, mustard, pickles and mayonnaise.
Miel Container, Sunnybank
This new outpost of the CBD original sticks to the MO, only on a much larger scale. The new restaurant seats 120 burger-lovers and has some snacks and share platters too. Miel Container, so named for the red shipping container the first restaurant is situated inside, is justifiably famous for its burger offerings. There’s the classic cheeseburger, but equally popular are the Crunch Prawn Burger (deep-fried prawns with bacon, pineapple, lettuce, tomato, and cocktail sauce) and Korean BBQ Bulgogi Burger (thinly sliced beef, red onion, cheese, tomato, lettuce and soy and garlic aioli).
The owners of Patissez are responsible for the monstrous Freakshakes stuffed with brownies, pretzels and everything but the kitchen sink that hit Instagram circa 2015. Mother and daughter Gina and Anna Petridis are back with a second Patissez café in Canberra city centre. The towering burger consists of two wagyu beef patties, several breakfasts worth of bacon, two types of American cheese, bacon jam, lettuce, tomato, pickles and Patissez special sauce. Pair that with a Freakshake and you’ve got yourself a challenge.
Top image: Ze Pickle