Harpoon Harry

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Harpoon Harry verdict: 6/10

 

Beef Burger: 5/10

Soft Brisket Roll: 8.5/10

Sides: 6.5/10

 

Why this place?

She says: We pass this place together on an almost weekly basis on our weekend pilgrimages between our respective houses in Newtown and Darlinghurst. For months we have wanted to try it and after some positive blog feedback it seemed like a no brainer.

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He says: Noticed these guys had a burger that was regularly recommended on various food blogs. With a couple of mates in tow and in the midst of a Sydney Film Festival marathon and we needed somewhere that both looked the goods and was close to the city – Harry’s fit the bill.

What did you order?

  • The Harry’s Burger: $18
  • The Soft Brisket Roll: $16
  • Diablo Chicken Wings: $12 ($5 on Sundays)
  • Crispy Polenta Fritters: $12
  • Calamari: $18
  • Guacamole – Dressed: $14

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Tell us about the Harry’s Beef Burger?

He says: When this came out it looked to be a winner and I was excited about the pork and beef short rib patty as a point of difference. Unfortunately it didn’t really do much for me. The patty was both way too big and overcooked and the guava ketchup didn’t really do much to further it’s case. Perfectly edible but at $18 and with a reputation behind it really was a let down.

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She says:  I was immediately disappointed with this one. We eat a lot of burgers and I accept that standards we have are high but the meat in this one really poor. And there was a lot of it. It was too oily but also with a tendency to fall apart, the outside of this super thick patty was blacked and dry while the inside was grey. It was reminiscent of the taste of your great-aunt’s home-made rissoles that are cooked for hours to within an inch of their lives. I couldn’t see past it to comment on the rest of the burger.

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So then, how did you find the Soft Brisket Roll?

She says:  THANK GOD FOR THE SOFT BRISKET ROLL. (While not technically a burger, there wasn’t any other option and He is a HUGE brisket fan (and is cursed by the fact that wherever we go with brisket, when we are there it is almost always sold out). The bun was soft, the brisket was beautifully cooked and seasoned and the salady bits were crunchy and fresh. I would go back for this again and again. A winner!

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He says: There wasn’t another burger on the menu so we thought we’d indulge in our love of brisket with this little guy. Unlike it’s sibling burger this was utterly delicious. The brisket was cooked to perfection and the only issue here was that it was about half the size it should of been.

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And what about the sides?

He says: As mentioned earlier we had a few friends in tow and this in turn afforded us the ability to order more sides than we normally would. The dressed guacamole was a favourite and came adorned with smoked bacon queso fresco and cheese.  The chicken wings were solid but nothing to bang on about. I had difficulty eating the polenta fritters as they were bland and had a strange texture to them. The fries served with the burger and brisket roll were simple but cooked well and, as they often do in a meal, shone accordingly.  

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She says: The fries were the winner for me, as He says, simple and done well. The guacamole was also pretty good, nice and fresh and served with some pizazz. I didn’t mind the chicken wings but probably wouldn’t get them again. The polenta fritters looked great and the crunchy exterior was nice because it was bathed in salt but the innards lacked flavour and they were too thick to rely on that outside seasoning to carry through.

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|| 40-44 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills, NSW, 2010 || www.hotelharry.com.au || 02 82628800 ||  info@hotelharry.com.au

HOURS:

Mon – Sun: 11:30am – Midnight

 

The Local Taphouse

IMG_5216 The Local Taphouse verdict: 9/10

 

Beef Burger: 9.1/10

Chicken Burger: 8.5/10

Sides: 7/10

 

Why this place?

She says: Full disclosure: a friend of mine’s partner is imbedded in some capacity in the Local Taphouse (I am not going to lie – really not sure what his role is and wouldn’t like to speculate. Let’s say he is the Junior Vice President)  and my friend mentioned their burgers to me previously. He and I made our usual deal where friends are involved. Which is a) we let you all know straight up that we have mates involved and b) if it sucks we eat it and don’t review it – rather than lie to you beautiful burger fans in order to save our friendship. Luckily it didn’t suck!

He says: I’ve enjoyed the beers here on numerous occasions and a chance meal there a few weeks prior gave me burger envy whilst watching a friend devour their beef burger. Unlike the magnificent She I have no personal affiliations with the establishment and so have no qualms being negative if the experience genuinely called for it.

What did you order?

  • The Local’ Beef Burger: $18
  • The Buttermilk Chicken Burger: $18
  • Slow Cooked Crumbed Brisket: $12

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Tell us about the ‘The Local’ Beef Burger?

He says: This was outstanding. A flavoursome patty with serious character and cooked to just the right amount of pink lay down on a bed of to die for ‘secret’ sauce and soft American cheese. I would have put this in the top 5 burgers we’ve had on the blog if it wasn’t slightly let down by a dry brioche bun. Would love to see some milk bun action up in here!

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She says:. I was surprised by how good this one was – it didn’t really look the part but it was actually a pretty special burger. The proportions in both burgers were really well done. This one had exactly the right ratios of meat to sauce to bread. I didn’t have a problem with the bun, but He makes a good point about the milk bun – it would have taken this bad boy to the next level.

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So then, how did you find the Buttermilk Chicken Burger?

She says: One great chicken burger – smooshy and a bit fall apart – which worked here. The chicken was nice and soft but still well cooked. The batter was golden and crunchy – not too thin/not too thick. Good coleslaw, pickle and a nice amount of awesome sauce. A real smashing snack that I would go again and again.

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He says: Again this was excellent. Was a massive fan of the buttermilk chicken used here (top marks for crunch and seasoning) and it’s hard to fault chicken of that ilk when combined with allies like slaw, American cheese and a creamy mayo-esque sauce. Again had the same issue with the brioche bun but maybe that’s a personal thing and even with it’s presence it remained a fantastic little chicken burger. 

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And what about the sides?

He says: We went for the slow cooked crumbed brisket because it wasn’t something either of us had tried anywhere before. It wasn’t so much my thing. The brisket itself seemed to suffer a dryness after being deep fried that couldn’t be saved by the surrounding horseradish cream. Taste wise it just didn’t make much sense to me. The fries served with the burger were of the McDonalds shoestring variety and went down a treat when coated in the delicious house aioli. Also will be kinder on the sides here as had the arancini balls and Taphouse fried chicken the week before and they were both delicious. Good to know this is more than just a cracking place to have a beer! 

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She says: The brisket was a bit strange – I wasn’t a massive fan – maybe because it looked a bit like a croquette so I was expecting it to be much less dry than it was.  I do love a maccas style chip though – mostly because our good friends at Mary’s. To be honest, our previous sides choices (detailed above) were much better!

|| 122 Flinders St, Darlinghurst, 2010, NSW || Website || Email || 02 93600088 ||

HOURS:

Monday – Sunday: 8:30am-8:00pm

 
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Milk Bar by Cafe Ish

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Milk Bar by Cafe Ish verdict: 8/10

Brekky Burger: 6/10

The Big Mick: 8.5/10

Korean Fried Chicken Burger: 6.5/10

Sides: 9.5/10

Why this place?

She says: We have been going past Ish regularly and ever time we enter into the same argument – I say that Ish used to be at the bottom of Hollis Park in Newtown (where the current Café Ism is) and He says either that he isn’t sure that is quite right or points out that I say that every time we go past. Anyway – the FBAS (Fatties Burger Appreciation Society on Facebook) has seen a couple of reviews lately so we thought we would get on board. Turns out Ish have the nicest, smiley-est, friendliest staff ever, (who chased me all the way to Redfern station to return the phone I absent-mindedly left behind) and I would go back there just to get to hang out with them and eat the chips every day of the week.

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He says: I’d been here before in those dull pre OBM days and remember it being solid. Word of a new menu, a belter of a hangover and our friend Sam along for the ride we walked through the doors on a windy Sunday primed to devour.

What did you order?

  •        The Big Mick (weekly special) – $15.50
  •        Brekky Burger (weekly special) – $16
  •        Korean Fried Chicken Burger – $10.50
  •        Twice Cooked house fries – $6
  •        Freakin Awesome wings – $4.95
  •        Chuck Norris Milkshake – $7.50
  •         Snickers Milkshake – $7.50

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Tell us about the Big Mick?

He says: The menu here is enormous and our lovely waiter insisted profusely that we try the specials and he was on the money with this one. This is Cafe Ish’s version of a Maccas Big Mac and it shines as an up market relative. Juicy and flavoursome patties mingle with a cracking milk bun and delicious Jack cheese with pickles and tartare sauce.

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She says: This was my favorite burger – they got the onion and the pickles just right. I loved the sauces and though it looks enormous, it was actually okay to eat. I did see one lady pull it apart and eat it with a knife and fork but hey, each to their own.

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So then, how did you find the Korean Fried Chicken Burger?

She says:  I am not convinced about minced chicken burger patties. It was a bit too weird for me. I don’t have a great deal that I liked about this one – it wasn’t terrible but definitely not my thing.

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He says: This was interesting. I don’t recall ever having a minced chicken pattie and it was nice for a change (and had a nice crunchiness to it). The pineapple worked well but I wasn’t a massive fan of the Korean pepper sauce (and boy was there a lot of it). Would have preferred the addition of a mayo or creamy sauce and some cheese but that’s just personal opinion.

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How about that Brekky Burger?

He says: This was one of the other specials. Didn’t really enjoy this one all that much. The baconater pattie (12g free range beef studded with bacon bits) was lacking in flavour and although there was supposed to be a hollandaise sauce it was pretty much non existent which rendered the whole thing a little dry and bland. Dissapointing.

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She says: I think this burger would be great for giant pork lovers, the bacon patty was super bacony (which I suppose we should have realized). I loved the hash brown – because carbs on carbs is always kind of special – but apart from that it wasn’t as great as it sounded. The egg could have been a bit runny too (although that is such a personal preference – I know that He for one would have hated that!)

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And what about the sides?

She says: Ish does KILLER sides. The chips were as good as any I have eaten in my whole life. Double fried and crunchy but soft in the middle, these are the kind of fries I will tell my children and my childrens children about one day in the future when all we are eating are holograms and hover-boards. The milkshakes were also out of sight. The mint green coloured Chuck Norris  (vanilla ice cream, housemade green lime syrup, coconut macaroon icecream and vanilla braised pineapple) sounds weird on paper but totally works. And the snickers milkshake was so true to its name it could actually have been blended Snickers bars and milk – which for the record is totally okay with me! Let’s not forget the chicken – so very rich but beautiful and crunchy. Flavorful chicken inside awesome batter with just enough spring onion to cut through the salt a little but not so much you can’t kiss your burger eating companion (not you Sam)

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He says: The highlight of the meal and amongst the best spread of sides I’ve had in these Sydney burger adventures. The twice cooked chips were to die for with a perfect crunchy layer coated with chicken salt on the outside and soft gooey potato on in the inside. The Freaking Awesome wing lived up to their title indeed whilst both milkshakes came close to saving my life after the hours of damage I let alcohol ravage upon my body the night prior. I look forward to their mac and cheese next time around.

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|| 1/105 Regent Street, Redfern, NSW, 2016 || 02 96988598 || www.themilkbarbycafeish.com ||

HOURS:

Monday to Friday: 11:30am – 6:00pm

Saturday and Sunday: 8:00am – 6:00pm

 

 
Milk Bar by Cafe Ish on Urbanspoon

Surly’s

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Surly’s verdict: 8.5/10

Beef Burger: 8/10

Chicken Burger: 8.5/10

Sides: 9/10

 

 

Why this place?

She says: Each week we spend countless hours working out where to go for smash burgers on the weekend. He texted me about this one about mid-week and as we got closer to the weekend, we noticed a little bit of related internet chat regarding Surly’s too so obviously we invited our friends and turned up before they opened on Saturday and waited outside until they would let us in.

He says: With our work hours it’s rare to get to a chance to attend the early days of a new burger joint. After seeing this one on the interwebs and being blessed by living close by and having a Saturday free, we assembled with friends for an epic Anzac Day feast.

What did you order?

*        The Surly Burger with Bacon: $13

*           The Cajun chicken Burger: $14

*           Bacon Cheese Fries: $10

*           Chilli Cheese Nachos: $14

*           Buffalo Hot Wings: $12

*           Fried Chicken (3/pc): $15

(It wasn’t just us though okay – don’t judge us!!)

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Tell us about the Surly Burger with Bacon?

He says: This was a solid little champ of a burger. The patty was flavoursome and well cooked, and although not a massive fan of the bun (a touch dry and doughy) the Surly’s sauce and American cheese rounded this out well. As always the addition of bacon was a masterstroke.

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She says: This was a good burger and He is right, the bacon was a star. Good ratio of succulent meat to fresh light salad and generous lashings of sauce takes this burger to the ‘food you think off as you are drifting to sleep’ category. I recommend highly washing it down with a glass of Blue Moon beer (served with a slice of orange).  

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So then, how did you find the Cajun Chicken Burger?

She says:  FINALLY – a grilled chicken burger that doesn’t suck! It was great. I thought about telling Him how great I thought it was while I was eating but didn’t because it wouldn’t have been worth stopping. The chicken was cooked and seasoned to perfection – succulent and juicy – it ticked all the right boxes. Again – generous sauce and bacon, this has to be one of the top grilled chicken burgers going around.

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He says: As has been well documented on this blog neither She nor I are particularly big fans of grilled chicken on burgers. This however was one of those rare exceptions which I put down to the chicken being seriously juicy and tender (avoiding the dry pitfalls of so many before them). Had a similar issue with the bun as mentioned earlier and I didn’t get that much of a Cajun vibe from the seasoning but was a big fan of the provolone cheese and all in all it was a delightful little burger.

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And what about the sides?

He says: For me this was where it was at. Utilizing the extra bodies we had at hand we were able to try more of the sides than we usually would. The Bacon fries were outstanding and I’m a sucker for that plastic-esque liquid American cheese sauce. The Nachos were also next level and would put out a special shout out to the chips themselves which seemed home made. The Buffalo wings were as good as any I’ve had in Sydney and they had a ranch sauce that lifted it further into side heaven. The MAc n Cheese was also ridiculously rich and moreish even without a crunchy top or the addition of bacon which are normally a staple in my book. Only the fried chicken was a little lacking as I felt it could have done with a hint of spice and a thinner batter. I’ve already made plans to head back to Surly’s next week to attack their smoked meats and imbibe their cocktails. A welcome addition to the area.

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She says: Apologies about the picture – the buffalo wings looked so good I evidently took one (blurry) photo, thought ‘good enough’ and jumped in. They tasted as good as they looked (IRL). They were classically sticky, tangy and fluro orange and were served with a ranch sauce (which could have been a bit stronger – or maybe I was hankering for a blue sauce instead). The fries were outta sight, covered in bacon and cheesy sauce. I wasn’t as taken with the nachos or the mac and cheese as Him but they were still pretty good. This was a great place to bring a group. Get on board!

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|| 182 Campbell Street, Surry Hills, NSW, 2010 || www.surlys.com.au ||  02 93313705 ||

 

HOURS

Tuesday – Sunday: 12pm-12am

Monday: Closed

 

Surly's on Urbanspoon

The Nighthawk Diner at The Unicorn Hotel

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The Nighthawk Diner Verdict: 8/10

 

Beef Burger:  9/10

Chicken Burger: 8/10

Sides: 5/10

 

Why the Nighthawk Diner?

She says: I am going to claim this one as my find – I reckon I saw them first on the Instagram account of their food van, which has always looked pretty awesome. And we have had their burgers before – when they did a pop-up at the Icon Park venue on Stanely St, Darlinghurst (a myriad of issues including bad pictures and a number memory fading bourbon milkshakes ensured that the review from that visit never eventuated).

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He says: I’d heard and read myriad glowing reviews regarding the mobile van and pop up incarnations of these guys. As mentioned I hit up a recent pop up of theirs with the gorgeous She recently and really enjoyed the burgers and sides. Had big expectations of their new kitchen at The Unicorn Hotel (which they’ve claimed vehemently is not a pop-up but here to stay).

What did you order?

  • Cheeseburger – $16
  • Southern Fried Chicken Burger – $16
  • Buffalo Wings – 50c each (!!)
  • Chilli Fries – $8
  • PB & J Milkshake – $6

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Tell us about the Cheeseburger?

He says: This cheeky little fella made me feel like I was mainlining the culinary equivalent of euphoria. When I’m on my death bed and my life flashes before my eyes I’m pretty sure the patty and sauce on this burger will feature prominently. Very hard to fault and I can’t wait till the next time my mouth gets to annihilate it.

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She says: This cheeseburger was pretty special. Not your classic ‘cheeseburger’, the usual American cheese and meat patty were accompanied by butter lettuce, tomato and special sauce – and by god, that sauce was special. The deliciously soft bun and the most special of special sauces, as well as the rich, quality meat patty (that perfect marriage of chuck and brisket according to the menu) took this burger to the next level. Highly recommend!

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So then, how did you find the Southern Fried Chicken Burger?

She says: To be honest – when it saw this bad boy headed to our table I thought perhaps we had made a bad choice, or maybe they had messed up and served us a fish burger.  I’d not seen a chicken burger which had chicken which was so lightly  crumbed before. But this little baby was a taste sensation – lightly fried chicken with iceberg lettuce was kicked up a notch with the ‘Chipotle Barbie-Q Mayonnaise’. Same great bun as the beef this burger is totally worth a go.

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He says: This looked a nightmare but tasted like a dream. The chicken itself cradled the middle ground between a southern fried and lightly crumbed schnitzel style. The mayo had an addictive and unique tang and perfect complimented the chicken. Not meaning to sound like a broken record here but I can’t help but wonder just where this would sit in the grand pantheon of chicken burger land if they’d added a heap of cheese…..

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And what about the sides?

She says: Let’s get one thing straight – the peanut butter and jam milkshake was one of the very best milkshakes I have ever consumed in my entire life. Apart from that life changing milkshake however the sides were a bit of a letdown. Both the chili fires and the wings were cold when they got to us (and i know what you’re thinking, but we aren’t the types to let the food sit while take ages to photographs – photos are a two minute affair and we always pick at the sides pre-pictures anyway). And the wings were a bit too dry, they weren’t slathered with that finger licking, chin messing sauce that can make or break a wing.

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He says: I concur with Her regarding the peanut butter and jelly shake – off the freaking change ecstasy in liquid form (especially when you hit the bottom and could scoop out the glorious chunks). Unfortunately there were major issues with the fries and wings. The fries were almost stone cold and had a very strange cardboard like taste to them (seemed like an oil issue). The wings were dry, bland and also strangely cold. This was further baffling as we seemed to be the only ones in the hotel dining at the time. Maybe just a bad day in the kitchen on the sides department and considering the quality of the burgers our expectations were indeed very high.

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||106 Oxford Street Paddington Sydney 2021 || Menu  || Website ||

Opening times

Monday-Thursday 12pm – Late
Friday 12pm – 3am (no lock out)
Saturday 12pm- 3am (no lock out)
Sunday 12pm – 10pm

 

The Nighthawk Diner on Urbanspoon