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Friday, July 03, 2009

Grill'd - Grilled Healthy Burgers, Crows Nest, Sydney

When did burgers get so popular?

Suddenly, it seems, Sydney can't get enough of them. These aren't the greasy takeaway shop kind, with pre-made patties cooked on the grill by a sad and resigned owner who sighs with each order.

I remember those hamburgers of youth with fondness, a behemoth of beauty piled high with the greasy fried egg, rasher of bacon, juilenne of wilted lettuce, discs of soggy tomato, square of cheese, deep purple beetroot, sweet ring of pineapple, and the patty of beef, globules of fat soaking into the buttered and toasted hamburger bun, the overflow dripping onto the greaseproof paper and slowly running down your wrist.

Oh they were good times indeed.

Today the local takeaways in the suburbs are fast disappearing. In their place are new, bright, shiny, clean, happy, chirpy burger bars, which is how we've come to Grill'd, the latest burger chain to hit town following its success in Melbourne, across Queensland, Newcastle and now the bright lights of Sydney.

Interior decor

We find wooden countertops, mirrored walls and chairs painted in fire engine red at the outlet in Crows Nest. Help yourself serviette dispensers and plastic sauce bottles in the shape of tomatoes keep a relaxed family feel.

Tomato sauce bottles

There's a quirky sense of humour in the line drawings on the walls too, although I'm not sure if adding personalities to the food I'm about to eat is meant to make me feel better or worse...

"My last favourite body part? I'd have to say my saggy udder"

"C'mon ladies - and stretch..."
"I should've stuck to pilates"

The emphasis on fitness is meant to underline the Grill'd philosophy of "Healthy burgers, healthy mind", with burgers "cooked to order using super lean patties that are full of flavour".

Prepping a burger

Suze and I have prime viewing over the kitchen, and I'm impressed to see the patties really are made by hand from a huge tub of mince. The staff, all young and bouncing around to the in-store music, attend to the burger production process with surprising cheerfulness, although I can't help wincing each time the chicken breasts are mercilessly squashed, prodded and poked with regulation tongs to make sure they're thoroughly cooked.

Hot chips $4.30
Thick chips with Grill'd herb mix

Our hot chips arrive in a paper bag, a plastic container of tomato salsa sealed with the lid even though we're eating in. Sprinkled liberally with dried rosemary, thyme and salt, there's quite a strong herby flavour to them, and whilst the chips are dark gold in colour, they're not quite as soft and fluffy on the inside as you'd expect.

'Baa Baa' Grill'd lamb burger $11.90
Grilled lean lamb pattie with avocado, tasty cheese,
salad, relish and herbed mayo
with extra pineapple and egg and brie $1.30 each

Our burgers arrive spiked together with a full-size skewer, an upside-down Grill'd sticker taped to the top like a golf course flag. The option of three different burger buns is a nice touch, particularly the gluten free option ($1.50 extra), the other two being traditional sesame seed or panini with no sesame seeds.

Suze's lofty gustatory ambitions is evidenced by her addition of pineapple and egg and brie to her 'baa baa' lamb burger. The lamb patty has plenty of flavour, juicy without being overly fatty.

Almighty Grill'd beef burger $12.50
Grilled 100% lean beef, tasty cheese, crispy trim bacon,
free range egg, a couple of slices of beetroot
with salad, relish and herbed mayo

My Almighty beef burger is not for the faint-hearted either. It's a struggle to finish, the toasted bun dwarfed by its filling of beef patty, tomato, egg, bacon, lettuce, cheese and beetroot. The lettuce is a particular highlight, crisp bright green leaves of baby cos, even if Suze doesn't like her salad (I eat hers too).

Oh and a special note of thanks for the drinks cabinet - Cascade ginger beer is a welcome sight, alongside bottles of sparkling apple juice, sarsparilla and fancy fresh juices (why are other drinks cabinets always depressingly mundane?). To my surprise, they're also licensed, selling bottles of Corona, Asahi, Stella Artois, Carlton Draught, Pure Blonde, Cascade Light and Skyy Vodka ($6-$7.50).

Staff are vigilant with checking ID. To her horror Suze gets carded. She must like getting grilled.

Grab Your Fork dined courtesy of Grill'd with thanks to Amanda from Undertow Media.

View Larger Map
Grill'd on Urbanspoon

57 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9436 0699

Opening hours:
Sunday to Thursday: 11.30am til about 10pm
Friday and Saturday: 11.30am til about 11pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Burgers - The Counter, Crows Nest

15 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/03/2009 02:10:00 am


  • At 7/03/2009 2:49 am, Anonymous Simon said…

    The burgers look somewhat unwieldy. Does the healthiness show through over other burgers.

    Love the tomato sauce bottles. Reminds me of the Goodies :)

  • At 7/03/2009 9:10 am, Blogger K said…

    Yummm.... glad you made it to Grill'd. Their burgers are truly huge. For lunch I only order the kiddie burger. :)

  • At 7/03/2009 9:56 am, Blogger Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    Hehe at suze getting carded! The burgers look huge & tasty!

  • At 7/03/2009 2:06 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    I went to Mumu, Crows Nest last week, and was gobsmacked at the amount of restaurants and eateries there. All the places that I knew the name of, but never quite knew where they were - well they're in Crows Nest! And now you're adding another to the list!

  • At 7/03/2009 2:41 pm, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    I love a drippy burger with beetroot and pineapple, so it's great to hear they do them on gluten free buns!

  • At 7/03/2009 7:04 pm, Blogger red bean said…

    I like Burger Bun's smear-you-face-with-flour buns, and Poporo's fusion Japanese burgers. I usually try to eat those type of gourmet burgers with a knife and fork like steak in bread..

  • At 7/03/2009 10:21 pm, Anonymous Esz said…

    Grill'd is very awesome. Always nice and tasty and very very large ;-)

    Did your burger hold up alright? I know some giant ones tend to start falling apart the closer you get to the end. But most of the time I've found my Grill'd burger stays together. Could be the even distribution of the filling?

    Aaaah, burger physics ;-)

  • At 7/04/2009 10:21 am, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    those are some huge burgers. the chips look divine, it's ashame they don't deliver.

  • At 7/04/2009 9:22 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    i cant BELIEVE i got carded! argh! the humiliation!

  • At 7/06/2009 2:09 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Simon - Oh but I do like an unwieldy burger! It was a huge portion - I watched grown men struggle to finish them.

    The Goodies! It's been so long!

    Hi K - A kiddie burger sounds like a great idea!

    Hi Betty - Suze was not happy at all! lol

    Hi About - I agree. Crows Nest is a great hive of eateries NOTB (north of the Bridge - haha). I also find that Neutral Bay has good eats too.

    Hi Arwen - I was impressed they offered gluten-free buns too, and yes, I thought of you! lol

    Hi Red Bean - A knife and fork could possibly work with these beasts of a burger. And lol and flour-smeared faces. I've always loved the nutty crunch of toasted sesame seeds.

    Hi Esz - Ahh the all-important filling distribution. My burger did start collapsing - in fact just cutting it in half prompted the threat of a landslide! Burger physics indeed! I'm sure there's a college in the USA that offers a subject in that? lol

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - Home-delivered burgers? Because every calorie is precious! lol

    Hi Chocolatesuze - Haha, you'll be thinking of that episode with wistfulness with 20 years!

  • At 7/09/2009 2:06 am, Anonymous divemummy said…

    Shame the chips didn't live up to their looks - they looked delicious.

    It is hard to get an old-fashioned burger with beetroot these days - I seem to only find them when on holidays in small towns. Although I'm sure they still exist in those take-aways near industrial estates.

    Hmm...there could be some interesting contests..who can eat their burger the fastest...who can eat their burger without losing any filling...

    Brie in a burger? Not sure the delicate flavour of brie wouldn't be overpowered by all the robust flavours in a burger. Brie in a toasted rare roast beef sandwich with avocado, grated carrot and onish relish is good.

    I wonder if those sauce bottles get swiped.

    And did you notice the equally clever take-away sign next door - Wrapido (rapido means fast in Spanish).

  • At 7/09/2009 9:11 pm, Anonymous Julia said…

    Aah, Grill'd... I'm currently on a mission to eat my way through all the burgers on the menu, one at a time ;)
    And they are pretty good burgers - huge and filling. However, I find that I'm getting the strangest aftertaste in my mouth the day after - a sort of fake, chemically sweet taste - which sort of turns me off Grill'd nowadays. I haven't figured out what it is.

  • At 7/13/2009 10:52 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Divemummy - Oh you can't beat a burger with beetroot. The brie was Suze's extra, and I'm sure in her mind, you can never have too much cheeeeeese.

    Yep it seems that it's not just Thai restaurants that enjoy a clever pun. And swiped sauce bottles? This is the North Shore darling! lol

    Hi Julia - Hmm... sounds bizarre. I don't think we experienced that although I did have an aching belly from eating more than I really should have!

  • At 7/17/2009 3:50 pm, Anonymous Jackie McMillan said…

    I did this one recently too, love your burger shots, they really get the size of those burgers across!

  • At 7/17/2009 9:55 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Jackie - The burgers are huge aren't they? And lol, nothing like a tantalising burger photo!


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