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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mister Gee Burger Truck, Burwood and Knafeh, North Strathfield

Double Fat Boy burger at Mister Gee Burger Truck, Burwood

There's a new wave of food trucks trundling around Sydney and I'm excited. And hungry. This next generation are focussed on doing one or two things only. And doing them well. Sydneysiders can't get enough of them.

Take Mister Gee Burger Truck. They do one burger. Fries. And one type of shake. Who needs to fuss with endless menu variations? They first propped open their shutter on November 5 but have already gathered a legion of burger-loving fans in just six weeks.

Mister Gee Burger Truck at Burwood Deluxe Car Wash
Mister Gee Burger Truck at Burwood Deluxe Car Wash

Mister Gee has one thing going for it. A semi-permanent location - for the moment anyway. When Burwood Deluxe Car Wash finishes up for the day, Mister Gee moves in. They currently set up every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

Mister Gee Burger Truck menu at Burwood Deluxe Car Wash
Mister Gee Burger Truck menu (the burger changes regularly)

We turn up at 6.50pm to find a queue of twenty people already perched on milk crates set up in front of the truck. At 7.07pm the shutter opens and the crowd forms an orderly queue. It's predominantly a young crowd - in their teens to thirties. Noone pushes in.

Saucing fries on the Mister Gee Burger Truck at Burwood Deluxe Car Wash
Fries being sauced

The team on the truck is lean: one taking orders and making milkshakes; one on French fries and one burger master flipping patties.

Prepping burgers on the Mister Gee Burger Truck at Burwood Deluxe Car Wash
Prepping burgers

The kitchen is slammed from the start but they don't appear fazed at all. Meanwhile everyone sits back, chats and waits for their order to be called.

Dirty fries from the Mister Gee Burger Truck, Burwood Deluxe Car Wash
Dirty fries $5

Our dirty fries are ready first. It's a mountain of golden fries covered in diced tomato, grated cheese and lashings of a Thousand Island-style cream. They give you a fork to dig in but we have more fun using our fingers.

Double Fat Boy with bacon jam from the Mister Gee Burger Truck, Burwood Deluxe Car Wash
Fat Boy with bacon jam $10 
and extra patty $3

The Fat Boy was on last week when we stopped by, a classic combo of beef, lettuce, red onion rings and cheese with a belt-popping addition of bacon jam across the top. We bump into these two and get the double patty tip off. It's a worthy investment. An extra three bucks doubles your protein.

You can see them pull these hand-shaped patties fresh out of the fridge. They're cooked so they caramelise at the edges but maintain a juicy core. The cheese is melted, the brioche buns are soft but sturdy, and then there's the sweet and smoky tang of that rubbly bacon jam adding a porky accent to every bite. 

Dirty fries by the Mister Gee Burger Truck, Burwood Deluxe Car Wash
Dirty fries

We order the baklava shake ($5) too, not overly nutty in taste but more caramel in nuance. You do need to stir that baby up with the straw, otherwise you'll hit a backlog of pastry bits at the end. We had flashbacks of soggy sweet Weetbix with those final slurps - not necessarily a bad thing.

Picking up orders at the Mister Gee Burger Truck, Burwood Deluxe Car Wash
Picking up orders

The non-stop arrival of customers is pretty phenomenal. Generally there's enough seating as people polish off their burgers reasonably quickly and move on.

Tonight (Wednesday 17 December) they'll be bringing back The Truffe: grass-fed beef, rocket, Muenster cheese, onion confit and truffle mayo on brioche. It'll be available all week until Saturday.

Dirty fries and double Fat Boy burger at the Mister Gee Burger Truck, Burwood Deluxe Car Wash
Dirty fries

And what about dessert? If you head to Mister Gee this week, you won't have to go far to find Knafeh Bakery, currently trading two suburbs away in North Strathfield.

Knafeh - Jerusalem Street Food

Bearded men at Knafeh, North Strathfield

Head to Knafeh and you'll feel like you've stumbled on one big street party. There's music pumping, bright lights and crowds of young people, kids and families. This mobile shipping container sets-up in a different location roughly every two weeks. They sell one thing only. Knafeh.

Knafeh ready for pick-up at Knafeh, North Strathfield
Knafeh ready for pick-up

Knafeh is a baked dessert that originated in the Levant - that includes Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Israel, Syria and northern Egypt. The version they serve here is similar to what you'd find in Jerusalem, although co-owner Ameer El-issa is reported to have said his mother's recipe is a "lighter and creamier interpretation".

Shipping container set-up at Knafeh, North Strathfield
Shipping container set-up with giant whisk light fittings

The dessert first made an appearance at the family's restaurant Shisha Bar and Grill in Croydon Park. It was so popular they saw the potential to make it a separate business, run by brothers Joey and Ameer and their sister Mouna Emsis.

Ladling the fresh cheese mix at Knafeh, North Strathfield
Ladling the fresh cheese mix into bowls

Joey's usually the one taking orders. He's warm and chatty and will engage every customer with light-hearted banter. "Helen! Helen of Troy!" he exclaims, when I give him my name for our order. "Is this your first time?"

We explain we've visited before, when they were in Botany and experienced a black-out. "She's back! She's back!" he yells with excitement. He adds a #she'sback to my order tile. It's all part of the show but it's easy to buy into. Their smiles are way too infectious.

Adding the secret crumb topping at Knafeh, North Strathfield
Adding their secret crumb topping

There's an overriding sense of fun here. Every now and then, brothers Joey and Ameer break out into impromptu dancing to entertain the crowd. Their mischief-making carries over to their Instagram account which is dotted with jokesrock 'n' roll moves, dance offs and fun.

Spraying water onto the knafeh before they are grilled at Knafeh, North Strathfield
Spraying water onto the crumb mix before the knafeh goes under the grill

The open kitchen means you can watch everything being prepared while you wait. The cooked cheese mixture is ladled into bowls, covered with a special crumb mix, spritzed with water and then flashed under the grill. Once the bowls complete their conveyor belt run, they're sprinkled with crushed pistachios.

Knafeh at Knafeh, North Strathfield
Knafeh $8

Ameer calls out orders when they're ready. He greets me with the enthusiasm of a long lost friend, yelling "She's back!" when he sees the note on my order card. I'm not easily won over by token smiles but these guys seem genuinely excited to be serving you.

Huge squeezy bottles of sugar syrup sit on the counter so you can make your dessert as sweet as you please. Half the customers tonight are ordering takeaway, the bowls packed into pizza boxes with mini containers of sugar syrup on the side. Some blokes walk back to their car carrying eight serves of knafeh.

Stretchy cheese knafeh at Knafeh, North Strathfield
Stretchy cheese beneath a toasted crumb topping and crushed pistachios

You can't beat eating this on the spot though, while the crumbs are still hot and toasty, and the cheese a gooey mess underneath. Sweet cheese sounds strange to some until you remind them of cheesecake or ricotta hotcakes. Knafeh isn't overly cheesy in taste. It reminds me more of a mild mozzarella, milky in flavour with a tantalising stretchiness. It's warm and comforting and way too addictive.

They were out of Moroccan tea ($4) when we visited but we did have their homemade lemonade ($5), self-served from a massive plastic keg. It's just like the old fashioned kind you get at the Easter Show: just fresh lemon juice, sugar and water.

The Knafeh boys will be at North Strathfield until Sunday December 21. What are you waiting for?

Preparing knafeh at Knafeh, North Strathfield

Knafeh on Urbanspoon

Knafeh Bakery
Currently at the old Arnotts warehouse
Railway Lane, North Strathfield, Sydney
Parking onsite. Enter Railway Lane via George Street or park in the Bakehouse Quarter car park behind Delitalia
Open Thursday to Sunday 6pm til late

> Knafeh will be at North Strathfield until Sunday 21 December. Knafeh tends to stay in each location for two weeks. Check their facebook page or Instagram account for location updates. 

Mister Gee Burger Truck on Urbanspoon

Mister Gee Burger Truck
Current location: Burwood Deluxe Car Wash
55A Shaftesbury Road, Burwood, Sydney
Current location: 315 Parramatta Road, Haberfield

>> Check the Mister Gee facebook page or Instagram account for latest locations and menu 

Open Wednesday to Saturday 6.30pm-10pm
Tel: +61 (0)411 092 663
21 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/17/2014 03:20:00 am


  • At 12/17/2014 7:25 am, Blogger Sarah said…

    Ok - both those places look AWESOME!

    I want all of the burgers and fries!

    And I can't believe there's a whole business just doing Knafeh - I love it! :)

  • At 12/17/2014 7:53 am, Blogger MAB vs Food said…

    OMG the truffe is back!!!! Defo going to check them out this week! And yes double burgers are a must for double the juiciness!

  • At 12/17/2014 10:16 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    love the boys at knafeh! their enthusiasm and cheerfulness is so infectious

  • At 12/17/2014 10:46 am, Blogger Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said…

    Have been wanting to try both but every weekend comes and I'm so busy or in the opposite direction. Might have to follow your footsteps and hit up both in the one go this weekend!

  • At 12/17/2014 11:06 am, Anonymous Bianca@forfoodssake said…

    Saw you from afar that night Helen but didn't want to embarrass myself :)
    Mistergee's is straight up awesome, some of the best burgers I've eaten in my life. I'm four from four now and have to say the Truffe has been my favourite. Hopefully aiming to check them out again this week to get my fix :)

  • At 12/17/2014 11:20 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    How awesome is that bacon jam in that fat boy burger?!!!

  • At 12/17/2014 12:49 pm, Anonymous ChopinandMysaucepan said…

    Dear Helen,

    That burger! I know where I'm going to take my car for a wash now.

  • At 12/17/2014 2:55 pm, Anonymous billy@a table for two said…

    Ohhhh someone just mentioned that to me the other day about Mister Gee Burgers. Nice it is close to Knafeh too!

  • At 12/18/2014 1:15 am, Anonymous Padaek said…

    OMG - the burgers and dirty fries at Mister Gee Burger Truck look incredible! And the knafeh @ Knafeh look and sound scrumptious! Ah - homemade lemonade - just perfect for hot summer nights. Lol @ #she'sback. Go Helen of Troy!! :)

  • At 12/18/2014 2:43 pm, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    OMG! i am loving that burger!!!! must visit when i am back i think.... omg omg omg

  • At 12/18/2014 8:02 pm, Anonymous Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said…

    A baklava shake? How do I calm my heart and concentrate on anything after reading that??

    I want a burger right now and that shake.

  • At 12/19/2014 7:21 am, Anonymous HOtly Spiced said…

    At least you don't have to worry about what you're going to order! I do love the look of that burger and the dirty fries. Very reasonable prices so I can understand why it attracts a younger crowd xx

  • At 12/19/2014 4:30 pm, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…

    Looks like these places are really working with the "do one thing, and do it well" concept!

  • At 12/19/2014 11:27 pm, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    the dirty fries dont sound dirty enough to me!

  • At 12/20/2014 6:10 pm, Anonymous Gourmet Getaways said…

    I love food trucks like this! They just have this open atmosphere impact on me, whatever they are selling. I always have the itch to take a peek...and grab something ;P

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  • At 12/26/2014 1:08 pm, Anonymous DroolWorthyWorld said…

    I saw some pics on Instagram of Mister Gee Burger Truck! It kind of reminds me of the movie Chef! :D Really wanna try that Knafeh! :O

  • At 12/30/2014 4:18 pm, Blogger irene said…

    Everything in this post is magical! I love knafeh!

  • At 1/08/2015 9:52 pm, Anonymous Sara | Belly Rumbles said…

    Burgers with the addition of bacon jam, who's to complain about that?

    I am just about to head to Knafeh Bakery's Facebook page to see where they are at this month. OMG it just looks so good. And who doesn't love an infectious smile :)

  • At 2/04/2015 6:39 pm, Anonymous Kate @ foodiesagenda said…

    You had me at Bacon Jam....yum. Think I need to make a visit out to North Strathfield soon!

  • At 2/26/2015 10:19 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    bacon jam bacon jam!!! :9

    damn that beef loooks so juicy.

  • At 7/08/2017 11:14 pm, Anonymous Chris Waghorn said…

    Knafeh! Love that place!!


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