Note: I’m still on my honeymoon! Here’s a review of the Burger Project though, from when I visited in early November. Point of interest – I had burgers and fries from the Burger Project for lunch as I was getting ready for my wedding last Saturday. Hair in curlers and semi-made up, chowing down on a fat juicy burger…what a sight!
When it was announced that multi-hatted celebrity chef Neil Perry would be opening up a fast food burger joint with a sub $20 menu, there was general rejoicing to be had. Those who couldn’t justify dropping $200 per head at Rockpool could finally enjoy of a taste of Perry magic at the Burger Project with a classic burger.
Within days of its opening, most of Sydney (and certainly 99% of food bloggers) had made their way to the Burger Project, with mixed reviews. Being as always somewhat behind the curve, it was nearly two weeks after the grand opening before I finally made it to the Burger Project for a quick bite before heading off to see Wicked!.
Located up on the first level of World Square, Burger Project is right next to Din Tai Fung, everyone’s favourite dumpling restaurant. We arrived early-ish around 6pm when the queue was still manageable and only had to line up for about five minutes.
The decor is stark, and you’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting the lushness of the Rockpool interiors here at the Burger Project. Instead, bare concreted and tiled floors and walls create a large blank space in which are crammed a number of plastic tables and chairs. It’s not fancy, but for the price you’re paying, you wouldn’t expect it to be. It is always busy though, so be prepared to do the ‘casual hover’ around a group that looks like they’re ready to leave, to make sure you can grab their table!
We order at the counter, and are given a buzzer that lets us know less than ten minutes later that our order is ready to picked up at the counter. So. Much. Dirty. Food. Goodness.
We start off with the K-Dog at K’s insistence, as his nickname within certain friendship circles is “K Dawwwwwg”. It’s a terrible nickname, but luckily this isn’t a terrible hot dog. On the contrary – it’s actually a really good hot dog, with the hot and spicy him chi going well with the German style sausage, especially with the crunchiness of crispy fried onions on top. A winner all around.
The Cheese and Bacon Burger was a step down from the K-dog though. It was a strange mix of mid-quality housemade ingredients (the pickles were excellent!) and low McDonalds-quality soft burger buns. I found the bacon a bit overpowering as well, so that you didn’t actually taste the flavours of the housemade grass fed beef patty. It just lacked the wow factor that one would expect from Neil Perry.
The Crispy Hot Wings were well battered and fried, but the promised “Sichuan pepper and salt” came surprisingly in a minuscule container on the side, rather than included in the batter. This meant that you weren’t ever graced with a consistent spice mix over the hot wings, as you’re left to shake the mix over the wings yourself, which was a bit hit and miss. Quite disappointing!
The chips on the other hand, were out of this world amazing. Much has been said about these house special thrice-cooked chips, and all I can add is that all the praise has been absolutely spot-on. There’s a fieriness to the chipotle chilli that really adds to intense flavour of the super crunchy chips. I could easily have eaten another bucket of these chips by myself!
The house-made drinks were also a highlight. The mandarin flavoured house soda was equal parts fresh and fruity, and fizzy and fun. It was never too sweet, and offered just enough to help cleanse and refresh your palette after the heavier fried foods.
A lot of other bloggers haven’t liked the milkshake, but I actually really enjoyed it. I added malt to my salted dulce de leche which worked really well – the first flavour hit you get as you take a sip is the malt, but you’re then left with the lingering aftertaste of caramel. It is very subtle though, which isn’t to everyone’s taste.
Conclusion? It’s worth visiting the Burger Project just to satisfy your curiosity about the initial hype. It won’t be the best burger you’ve ever tasted, or the best fried chicken either. But for the price you pay, and the relatively central location, the Burger Project’s not a bad place to have a quick dirty meal.