Only a true fan of burgers would make a trip to Sydney for the sole purpose of attending a burger festival. Perhaps I’m not that big of a fan, because this was more of an excuse to catch up with my brother’s family.
There are two things that are closely associated with Uncle Kris in my nephews minds: burgers and beer. This festival had both, so it was the perfect foil for a visit. To prepare myself for an assault on the six burger vendors, I went out for a 2 hour MTB ride with my brother the day before. Gotta burn dem calories!
There were some suggestions from the organisers that you could try all six of the burgers on offer. Although they were smaller than your average burger, I had to stop myself after three. Even then I was feeling pretty full hours later. Given three burgers was pretty much the goal from the outset, I was pretty happy with my efforts.
So, the three burgers:
- “The Don” from Pub Life Kitchen
“14 day salt aged beef, black garlic and truffle aioli, American cheese, McClures pickles on a sesame bun”
This was a good start to the burger festival, although I think the description kind of oversold this creation. Seemed to be paying off for them though, as they were easily the busiest at the time of ordering. Great pickles, cheese and meat combo. Pity the black salt and truffles really didn’t shine through.
2. “Old Boy” from Milk Bar by Cafe Ish
“Beef pattie, American cheddar, Bulgogi pork belly, kimchi, old boy sauce, crispy shallots on a sesame bun”
This one takes my award for the burger of the day – although I didn’t get to try them all. So much going on. The kimchi didn’t have too much funk, and it packed enough chili punch to be packed with flavour. the Bulgogi pork belly was delicious. I guess the only criticism would be that the burger didn’t really shine. There was a short burst of heavy rain just before I ordered this one. As they were running a production line of burgers to keep up with demand, the burger and cheese weren’t quite hot when I ate this one. But still, it was agreed that this was a clear winner on the day.
3. “Son of Cock Fighter” from Bare Grill
“Southern fried chicken, guacamole, lettuce, cheese, bacon and big bare sauce”
The line was massive for this one. Although not a true burger (chicken “sandwich” is more accurate), this was a mighty popular choice. Perhaps they were too busy, as this was clearly the worst of the day. Too much sauce, and the whole thing was too hard to eat, slipping and sliding all over the place until it was just a mess in my hand. Failed on so many counts. Sorry, but low marks for this effort.
I did wonder how a burger festival would go. I have been to beer festivals before. They make sense, as you can definitely taste many different beers. And they tend to give you small portions of each one to allow even more tastings. The burgers here were smaller than average, but still too big to be able to try all six on offer. I stuffed myself to a point beyond comfortable to get three in. That said, I love the concept, and the low entry price kind of made up for it. Given the popularity of the event, the organisers would be crazy to not do another one. I’m all for it!