Jurisdiction: American / burgers
Outcome: Jury’s still out
Ratio decidendi: Decent burgers given the price point but value proposition quickly erodes if you load up on sides and drinks. You’ll need to keep your expectations in check (this isn’t and in fairness was never meant to) compete in the rockpool burger leagues. Worth a visit to experience it for yourself, but I don’t think chur burger will be seeing a structural shift in traffic.
Salient features: cheese and bacon burger, spicy pork belly, house made chips /w chipotle chilli.
Scope of discovery: cheese and bacon ($9.50), spicy pork belly ($9.90), crispy hot wing ($9 for 3), house made chips ($4.90), mandarin house soda ($4.50), strawberry ‘real’ shake ($7 /w malt), rhubarb pie ice cream ($6)
Case note: The Burger Project’s greatest asset and its greatest liability is its association with Neil Perry. The name is a massive drawcard, but with it comes expectations – and the reference point that is the rockpool burger. The most critical part of your first visit is to hit ctrl+F5 on everything you know about Neil Perry and his burgers. Failing to do so will only lead to disappointment.
Choosing between the cheeseburger and cheese & bacon burger is not a legitimate question – bacon always makes things better. What’s surprising here is how much of a difference it makes. The salty rasher of bacon gave a surprising degree of ‘lift’ to what otherwise seems to be an average (but not by any means bad) burger. You’ll know what I mean by this towards the end when you end up with a cheeseburger after you’ve…run out of bacon.
The most satisfying thing about the spicy pork belly burger was the resounding crunch of the crackling each time you bit into it. While the pork belly wasn’t unduly oily, the balance brought by the pickles and lettuce was welcome, as was the slight hint of chilli to cut through it all.
The fries were possibly the thing I enjoyed the most – (thrice-cooked) crunchy and well seasoned with copious amounts of chipotle chilli, each bite was a delight. The crispy hot wings weren’t lacking in crunch either but I regretted not going with the Sichuan pepper option as my poor hot sauce rationing left my last wing short on standalone flavour.
In terms of sweets I would suggest giving the milkshake a miss if you prefer these ‘thick with flavour’ as the consistency is closer to flavoured milk. The rhubarb pie ice cream comprises a scoop of house-made vanilla ice cream, rhubarb compote and a crumble that tastes like broken up gingerbread biscuits. These aren’t a bad dessert option if you’re already there and not keen on having to venture somewhere else but probably not something you’d make a detour for.
Obiter dicta: chur burger remains my go-to for tasty, reasonably priced burgers. If in the CBD, North’s burgers on the corner of Bridge and George St is a good option too.