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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Burger Project, Sydney

Bacon Project at Burger Project by Neil Perry, World Square Sydney

Sydney's obsession with burgers isn't just a fad. It's a lifestyle. The crowds that plagued Burger Project when they first opened in late October are just as strong five months later. They've changed a few things since then. The thick buns that were chastised as being too dry by punters has been swapped out for a softer and sweeter version. What hasn't changed is Neil Perry's presence - you'll still see him working in-store in a standard issue Burger Project t-shirt. He's clearing tables and wiping them down with a Chux cloth on the day we visit. Neil might have a three-hatted restaurant in Rockpool, but he's chirpy with enthusiasm as he buses each table.

Outdoor seating at Burger Project by Neil Perry, World Square Sydney
Outdoor seating at Burger Project

Mingling with the common people might be seen as a marketing gimmick, but there's more to Burger Project than just a celebrity chef head. There's a commendable ethos behind Burger Project, one that doesn't just use Cape Grim free range beef, but orders in specific cuts and then minces them onsite.

That kind of attention to details makes their burger pricing even more impressive. The classic burger starts at $8.90. A double will set you back $13.90.

Burger queue at Burger Project by Neil Perry, World Square Sydney
Burger queue

The Friday lunchtime queue runs 30-deep during peak hour. Order at the counter and you'll be given a buzzer that will light up when your order is ready. The system isn't without issues. When our group lunched here, five of our buzzers (on individual orders) refused to light up. After 35 minutes, we showed our time-stamped dockets to a server who immediately fast-tracked through the missing orders with profuse apologies.

Instagramming burgers at Burger Project by Neil Perry, World Square Sydney
Instagram time!

For the most part, though, burgers generally take no more than 15 minutes to be ready for pick-up. Plastic cutlery, serviettes and sauces are all self-serve. Plonk your plastic tray at the first available table. The dining room is bigger than it first appears, a hidden alcove filled with small round tables and a long counter that suits couples or solitary diners.

Cheese and bacon burger at Burger Project by Neil Perry, World Square Sydney
Cheese and bacon burger $10.90

Prices have crept up a little since they first opened. The cheese and bacon burger used to be $9.50 - now it's $10.90 - but it's still a reasonable sized burger, jammed with a grass fed beef patty, bacon, melted cheese, pickles, salad and what they call "secret sauce".

Magic mushroom burger at Burger Project by Neil Perry, World Square Sydney
Magic mushroom burger $10.50

On the flip side, the magic mushroom burger has dropped in price. Its price at opening was $12.50 before gradually making two price drops. The veggie-friendly grilled confit mushroom now sells for $10.50.

Add a salted caramel thickshake and fries and you're guaranteed a belly-busting meal.

Aussie burger at Burger Project by Neil Perry, World Square Sydney
Aussie burger $10.90

The hot dogs have gone and so have some of their more esoteric burgers, like the Korean burger with kimchi and the crispy spicy pork belly burger. There's a more streamlined production of beef burgers now with riffs like the American cheese burger (with rose mayonnaise) and the Aussie burger with beetroot.

Cheese burger at Burger Project by Neil Perry, World Square Sydney
Cheese burger $10.90

The classic cheese burger defies usual convention with the inclusion of fresh tomato and lettuce. The beef patties across all burgers are on the thinner side that lends itself to a medium-well cooked state. There's a slightly greasy char to their surface that reminds me of the burgers from your old skool takeaway.

Chips with chipotle chilli at Burger Project by Neil Perry, World Square Sydney
Chips with chipotle chilli $2.90

I'm guessing the relentless crowds are the reason behind the chips no longer advertised as thrice-cooked either - the originals were crunchy spears of carb-laden satisfaction. The current offering isn't a bad replacement on the crunch factor dusted either with salt or chipotle chilli powder. The deletion of the salt and vinegar option is an interesting affirmation of the general Aussie distaste for soggy chips, unlike our Antipodean cousins in England.

Spicy chicken in a bowl at Burger Project by Neil Perry, World Square Sydney
Spicy chicken in a bowl $10.50

The only non-beef meat option at the moment is the spicy chicken burger. You can get it in a bowl for the same price, the buns replaced with lettuce leaves. The free range chicken thigh is assembled with coleslaw, pickles and a smear of jalapeno paste across the top.

The Bacon Project at Burger Project by Neil Perry, World Square Sydney
The Bacon Project $13.90

The newest addition to the menu is The Bacon Project piled high with bar fridge smoked bacon. If you haven't seen how to convert an old fridge or freezer into a cold smoker, here's how.

Smoked bacon in The Bacon Project at Burger Project by Neil Perry, World Square Sydney
Smoked bacon in the bacon project burger

It's a pretty impressive sight, slabs of porky goodness draped over a burger patty with melted cheese. The bacon isn't thin and crispy but more on the juicy side, with a smoky sweetness that hums as a gentle backnote.

The Burger Project might only be five month old but it continues to evolve, and judging by its persistent crowds, Sydneysiders are happy to go along for the ride.

Burger Project by Neil Perry, World Square Sydney
Burger Project on Urbanspoon

Burger Project
World Square Shop 11.06 (next to Din Tai Fung)
644 George Street, Sydney
No telephone number nor reservations

Opening hours:
Open 7 days 11am-9pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Burgers - Mary's, Newtown
Burgers - Mister Gee Burger Truck, currently at Haberfield
Burgers - Pub Life Kitchen at the Lord Wolseley Hotel, Ultimo

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28 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/15/2015 01:22:00 am


  • At 3/15/2015 7:10 am, Anonymous Nagi@RecipeTin Eats said…

    This is food p0rn central right here. All those burgers.....

    OK, I am going to say something controversial - I am yet to try a burger anywhere else in the world that is as good as the burgers I had in America. SO disloyal I know.....Even Rockpools Wagyu burger doesn't stack up

    I'll have to try this place. I have a friend who is also obsessed with American burgers and we regularly visit burger joints in our endless pursuit of American burgers!! :)

  • At 3/15/2015 9:34 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Straight up rip off of Shake Shack. But good on them we needed real burgers here.

  • At 3/15/2015 9:38 am, Anonymous kiki@mykikicake said…

    Yummm... I visited the Burger Project for the first time this week and loved it! I had the chilli cheese and the chilli fries so my mouth was burning by the end...so worth it. Will have to try the bun-less burger next time too for a 'healthier' alternative.

  • At 3/15/2015 9:48 am, Anonymous Bianca@forfoodssake said…

    After all the negative spin, I've been a little apprehensive to check the Burger Project out. Looks like it's time to make a visit :)

  • At 3/15/2015 10:11 am, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    I'm astounded, although not surprised, at how American-style burgers have become mainstream here. I'm yet to fully immerse myself. And lol at the spicy chicken burger - more like a chicken salad, really.

  • At 3/15/2015 2:51 pm, Anonymous Cindy (a foodie's joy) said…

    I still haven't been there after all these months! One day...

  • At 3/15/2015 3:02 pm, Anonymous KT said…

    Darn, I wish I had the chance to try the Korean one.
    Last time I went I thought the burgers and fries were quite good. Not the best I've had in my life, but comparable. I might try the mushroom next time.

  • At 3/15/2015 7:11 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    All I want to say is that I freakin LOVE SOGGY CHIPS.


  • At 3/16/2015 5:57 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    Love their bacon project!

  • At 3/16/2015 9:32 am, Anonymous Tina said…

    Oh no, I liked the Korean one...!

  • At 3/16/2015 11:43 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    so happy to see that veggie burger - am mad for 'shrooms.

  • At 3/16/2015 1:00 pm, Anonymous Martine @ Chompchomp said…

    I love that concept...burgers are a LIFESTYLE! lol I soo love soggy chips. My husband is Dutch so we tend to drown ours in mayonnaise. Sooo good!

  • At 3/16/2015 2:37 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Naah, burger places can't have an "ethos".

  • At 3/16/2015 3:57 pm, Anonymous ChopinandMysauceopan said…

    Dear Helen,

    The buns have improved but looks like Neil finally came to his senses by ditching those horrible hot dogs topped with deep fried onions.

  • At 3/16/2015 7:47 pm, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    I wasn't aware of the changes in prices nor chips, etc. Will go to grab a bacon project and the new chips.

  • At 3/17/2015 7:14 am, Anonymous Hotly Spiced said…

    It's lovely that a celebrity chef doesn't think it's above him to grab a chux and start wiping down tables. I think that speaks volumes of the kind of character Perry has. This burger joint is very similar to one that's close to me called 'The Burger Shed'. It too is owned by a celebrity chef. I do think though, that these burgers look even better than the ones up the road from my house xx

  • At 3/17/2015 1:43 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    I have walked past this place that many times to go to Din Tai Fung, I really need to bite the bullet and go.

    The Smoked bacon burger looks delish!

  • At 3/17/2015 1:57 pm, Anonymous Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said…

    I look at those photos and I want to open my mouth wide and take a bite. Yummo!!

  • At 3/17/2015 9:41 pm, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    wow os many burgers were had!

  • At 3/17/2015 10:33 pm, Blogger Von said…

    I went to the Burger Project for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and really enjoyed the spicy pork burger- what a shame it's gone already! You tried so many burgers!

  • At 3/17/2015 11:16 pm, Anonymous Chocolatesuze said…

    What what how have I not had the bacon yet!?!

  • At 3/18/2015 7:54 am, Blogger Roo Food said…

    Both times I've visited I've had the WOW factor and the so-so factor...still getting mixed reviews...but overall more the burgs are better than alot of other places. Now i want to go try the Bacon Burger!

  • At 3/18/2015 12:19 pm, Blogger Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said…

    I've heard mixed opinions about Burger Project but your photos certainly look good :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  • At 3/19/2015 5:33 pm, Anonymous Foodsaurus said…

    Yum!! I love a good burger! Still yet to check this place out... it's on my burger crawl list.

  • At 3/20/2015 12:16 am, Blogger CQUEK said…

    I am sure it taste amazing . Very hard to find a good burger stall in Penang.

  • At 3/21/2015 10:29 am, Blogger Maddie Loves Food said…

    The burgers must be good, judging from the sheer amount of burgers you managed to try out! The buns looks gloriously soft, they remind me of my happy meal days, only a whole lot better. The classic cheeseburger has my eye ;)

  • At 3/23/2015 12:20 am, Anonymous Sara | Belly Rumbles said…

    After an hour from the time I joined the line, till I got the order, it would have to be a damn amazing burger for me to do that again.

    Sadly what we got didn't warrant an hour wait :( Wont be back.

  • At 4/13/2015 10:41 am, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…

    I'm disappointed to see that the hot dogs and the thrice cooked chips aren't on the menu anymore - I think they were my favourites when I went!


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