Friday, 27 November 2009

sydney's best burgers

Heston Blumenthal may have a lot to answer for, when it comes to breaking down seemingly simple food into levels of sub-atomic partical analysis. Take chips, for example. A few years ago during the series In Search of Perfection, Blumenthal broke down the art of the perfect chip to an exact science. The type of potato (Charlotte or Belle de Fontenay are best), the thickness, fat to be used, as well as duration and temperature of cooking.

When it comes to burgers, you'd expect nothing less than a deep understanding of what makes a truly good burger tick.

Here are some interesting stats:

  • Number of ingredients to make a cheeseburger: 5 (meat, cheese, bun, sauce, pickle)
  • Number of ingredients to make a Blumenburger: 32
  • Time required to make average cheeseburger: 7 minutes (3 minutes of prep, 4 minutes cooking time)
  • Time required to make Blumenburger: 30 hours, 4 minutes (30 hours of prep, 4 minutes cooking time)
..and if you want the recipe, click here

This may seem somewhat overcomplicated,  but this search for perfection does provide some insight in terms of what makes a truly great burger:

The bread: Forget wholegrain, heavy or overly flavoured buns. The texture should be soft, light and almost brioche-like. Sesame seeds are a must.

The meat: No lean stuff here, Blumenthal makes his with three cuts of cow (chuck, short rib and brisket) - there needs to be enough fat in the meat to render juicy results, and, of course it must be seasoned to a tee.

The cheese: Aged, harder cheeses doen't tend to melt well. You're looking for cheese that melts evently and oozes its way into all available crevices within the burger.

Beyond that, a potent tomato sauce, pickles and lettuce are also a must.

So, armed with these rules and an empty stomach - where does one hunt for the best burgers in Sydney?

3. The Burger Joint

393 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst, 2010

This little hole in the wall, just off Victoria Street may not be dine-in paradise, but the best thing about The Burger Joint is their hardcore dedication to doing just one thing right, and that's constructing a solid burger. Try the classic beef burger Aussie style, with beetroot or if you're more into creative deviations, there's a range of fancy versions including a grilled chicken tandoori and more.

2. Plan B by Becasse

204 Clarence St, Sydney, 2000

I'll admit at first, I didn't see the point of a wagyu mince burger. Why use a fattier type of cow when anyone could just grind beef with added fat to get the same result? I'll be the first to admit how wrong I was. Yes, the marbled quality of wagyu gives a more succulent result, but also, what better way to utilise less popular cuts of the cow in question - and with luxe results to boot.

Perfectly sized to seize with both hands and inhale, Plan B's burger features a marble score 9 Wagyu patty, onion confitted in duck fat, pickled beetroot and cheddar on a brioche bun. At just $10, it's a no brainer - just do it.

1. Rockpool Bar & Grill

66 Hunter St, Sydney, 2000

The much discussed $22 Rockpool burger may have some baulking at the price, but most who have actually tried it would argue that it's twenty two smackaroos well spent. Situated on the ground floor of Neil Perry's Sydney restaurant empire, the swish art deco surrounds and slick service make the perfect foil for burger heaven.

The burger in question features brioche bun, full-blood wagyu beef patty, Gruyere cheese, house-made Zuni pickle, Schulz house-smoked bacon and relish. These flavours are, of course familiar and comforting...but plugged in and amped up to 10 on the flavour scale.

The crisp hand cut chips and Spanish onion rings make great accompaniments.

Don't use a knife and fork; you'll only insult the burger.


Simon Food Favourites said...

hoping to try Plan B burger next week. it's my xmas wish :-)

Strawbs said...

Sydney's best burger joints? As they have been on my list for some time, I better start organising myself so I can get me some of that!

gk said...

Check out NZ Fish & Chips on Botany Rd in Mascot, just past Gardeners Road heading to the airport. It's a takeaway shop with a couple of tables, but their burgers are perfect.