Quick post because exams are about to hit with full force! My study break over the weekend was spent attending UNSW CSESoc’s Soctail. Like with any large scale event, Robert and I have to pre-eat beforehand (basically our version of pre-gaming but with food) so we head to Neil Perry’s latest at World Square, Burger Project.
If the queues are any indication, the public is well aware that Neil Perry is also the mastermind behind local favourite, Rockpool. We are here at around 6.30 pm on a Sunday and the place is reasonably crowded. I’ve personally never been to Rockpool Bar & Grill to try their burgers (only Rockpool the restaurant itself) but it’s been acclaimed in food blogging circles quote, – ‘the best burger I’ve ever had’ – unquote and with the famous chef at helm, there are only high expectations to meet. The line takes about 5-10 minutes to get to the front and place an order plus another 5-10 to get our meal, this is pretty acceptable for me.
Pardon all the photos in this post. My dining partner was famished and throwing looks at me as though to say ‘I dare you to stall my eating for another five minutes with your ridiculous food photography’. Here we’ve grabbed the Double ($11.90) which is two pieces of grass-fed beef patties, cheese, onion, pickles, tomato, lettuce and a secret sauce. Mine is the Magic Mushrooms ($12.50) which features grilled confit mushrooms and the same outfit as the previous burger. I don’t really get the whole debate about whether lettuce (or vegetables in general) is acceptable or not in a burger. I am always, always trying to make all my meals a balanced affair, so I would say Burger Project’s offering of a single lettuce leaf definitely isn’t enough! Aside from the burgers we also have some House-Made Chips ($4.90) to share with plain ol’ salt which are so good that Robert ate them all and left three for me… Other options to have on your chips are salt and vinegar and chipotle chilli.
I only had a bit of a bite of the Double. A lot of people have noted how average the bun is here at Burger Project. Perhaps us Sydney-siders have been spoiled after all these years of consuming brioche after brioche. Robert definitely noted that it was nothing too special though I’m not sure if either of us can attest to the ‘McDonald-sy’ claim that other people are labelling Burger Project’s buns with since we never eat Maccas. I’d call it not-bad not-good because it was really forgettable but not absolutely appalling. On the other hand both patties were quite moist and with a good flavour as well. I think most of my friends with a huge appetite would be happy to pay the price tag for a burger like this.
The mushroom burger has been very much talked about because of it’s comparatively hefty price tag. I adore mushrooms and was thus willing to bite the bullet in case this burger turned to be some kind of amazing. The burger arrives with a fat and juicy mushroom cap about the size and width of an actual beef patty. Biting into it I really love how the mushroom itself is so succulent and packed with flavour. Everything else like the bun and the condiments tastes as average as what was mentioned above but the mushroom itself I would say is quite good. However I don’t know if I would order this again considering it is more expensive than anything else on the menu. You can call me Asian but it just didn’t seem to be enough bang for my buck for something that wasn’t meat. Vegetarian burgers really need to stand out at establishments like these because not only do they need to be good enough to sway meat eaters, they need to be so good that the vegetarians would come back for just this one item.
There are two reasons why I’ve been annoyingly fence-sitting about Burger Project. First of all, it’s really, really new having only just opened last week. There are always many teething issues with new restaurants, the recommended practice is to usually go at the beginning if you can’t contain your excitement but also visit a few weeks later for a proper judgment of the fare. I’ve seen Neil Perry’s Instagram lately and the man is working really, really hard on this so I want to cut him some slack. Secondly, I must confess I’m not much of a burger connoisseur. As much as I want to pretend I’m into dude food, I would gladly take my sashimi, yum cha or Thai food instead, into my tea party corner – pinkies up! . So take my opinions with a generous serving of salt-ed chips. Ultimately I still think it’s worth trying, particularly since the location isn’t too far out of the way and for the price it isn’t too bad, sans the mushroom burger. I’d go back to hit up the other food blogger recommendations such as the chipotle chilli chips and the chicken burger.