Never before has Wakeley been searched so often in Google Maps. The reason? It's the home of Sydney's newest burger joint, the first standalone venture by Jovan Curic of burger fan favourite Pub Life Kitchen.
Let me save you the trouble. Wakeley is next door to Fairfield West. Curic - who grew up in nearby Carramar - has taken up residence in a nondescript strip mall complete with a massive car park. Forget about public transport to this neck of the woods. You'll need to drive.
Best in the West
The former takeaway shop has had its original timber panelling and glassed-in display cabinet retained. All that's missing from my childhood are a couple of arcade games in the corner. Double Dragon and Wonder Boy anyone?
The most obvious addition here is the Best in the West signage in neon, already beset by a flickering tube like every Hollywood movie you've seen.
Superior Burger menu board
Six different burgers dominate the menu. The grass-fed beef comes direct from a farm in the Hunter Valley. It's then salt-aged by Curic with patties made daily by Curic's dad, who himself opened Belgrade's first burger shop in the 1970s. Vegetarians don't miss out either, with a confit field mushroom burger sandwiched with cheese, slaw, mayo and smoked barbecue sauce.
There's more work behind the scenes than the menu lets on. The housemade sauce is made from roma tomatoes and garlic that is smoked in the alley out the back.
Toasting buns on the grill
Just like the old takeaways of yore, you can watch your burger cooked and assembled in the open kitchen - everything from your buns being toasted...
Melting cheese on beef patties
to watching cheese melt on beef patties over the grill.
By 7pm on a Friday night, the place is packed. Takeaway trade is heavy. At 8.30pm, a cavalcade of 20 motorcyclists rumble in.
Superior Burger $15 + $4 for double smoked bacon
Beef, cheese, tomato, lettuce, superior sauce and pickles
Cheeseburger $14 + $4 for double smoked bacon
Beef, cheese, McClures pickles, onion, tomato sauce and mustard
It takes 20 minutes for our order to arrive. We go with the Superior Burger and the cheeseburger, both with added double-smoked bacon. The patties are cooked to a juicy medium with a beefy meatiness that carnivores will relish. There's no gumminess or sponginess here; and no greasiness either. The buns are perfect too - not too soft, buttery nor sweet.
We find the Superior Burger a little on the salty side. The cheeseburger is my clear favourite, with that satisfying tang of pickle (McClures, if you will) and mustard.
Beer battered potato scallop $1.20 each
Regular fries $4
Fries come wrapped up in butchers paper. Tearing that bag open brings back all those childhood memories.
Mash 'n' gravy $8
Mash 'n' gravy is a hefty portion, a mountain of creamy mashed potato drowned in gravy. You'll be wanting to dunk those fries in the gravy too.
Hot 'n' sticky wings $10 for 4
Beer battered potato scallop $1.20 each
The hot 'n' sticky wings are definitely for sweet tooths. We found these super sweet and not at all spicy. I did end up dipping my fries in the puddle of sauce at the bottom though.
And the traditional milk bar favourite of potato scallops are here too. The beer batter is a little heavier than we expect - and one of ours wasn't fully cooked through - but a few tweaks could make these a glorious throwback to yesteryear.
Fried chicken 'n' pickles $6 for 2 pieces
And you score a hefty portion of a thigh on the bone and a chicken leg in your fried chicken 'n' pickles combo. The crunch of that batter is deafening, and the flesh is super hot and succulent. Forget about two pieces. Pass me a bucket of these.
Cheeseburger with added double smoked bacon
We had no room for dessert - a rotation of flavours of soft serve and an ice cream sandwich. But we'll be back. They should have their alcohol license soon too - Coors on tap. Sweet.
Burger on the pass
Pink flamingoes in the kitchen
Shop 5, 30 Bulls Road, Wakeley, Sydney
Open daily 12pm-10pm
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11/06/2016 05:01:00 pm