Monday, November 3, 2014

Neil Perry's Burger Project opens at World Square

It's here - critically-acclaimed and multi-hatted chef and restaurateur Neil Perry's first dedicated burger eatery opened to the public on Friday at World Square in the CBD south. Brace your burger-loving self for some serious queues at Burger Project.

Rockpool Brewing Pilsner and burgers at Burger Project, World Square, Sydney
First things first: it ain't Rockpool Bar & Grill. Indeed, it's a casual venue with an almost fast food feel when you look behind the service counter where you order and get a buzzer.

And with most burgers under $10, we shouldn't be expecting RB&G quality and service (although I wonder if there is merit in a standalone venue for Perry's $24 wagyu burger and fab RB&G sides).

Burger Project, upstairs at World Square next to Din Tai Fung
Burger Project is located in a relatively vast 100-seater upstairs at World Square that makes me wonder what on earth used to be there, next door to the flagship Din Tai Fung  restaurant and its nightly queues.

And with Burger Project now freshly open, expect it to be queue central up those World Square stairs.

Ordering counter
On a preview night last week there was an army of a blue T-shirt clad crew who (in a sure sign of my ageing) mostly reminded me of The Simpsons' squeaky-voiced teen. Him, or basically any stereotype of a fast food chain employee: young, energetic and a touch green.

Warmer oven for chicken wings
Their lives are not made any easier with the various seasoning choices available with the chips or chicken wings, for example. I suppose they're all at least 18-years-old as Burger Project is licensed and currently offers three beers and four wines.

White wine on tap
The white wine offerings came from a chilled tap and were served in disposable plastic cups, as is the single red wine.

Meanwhile, the three beers available by the bottle are Coopers Premium Lager, the highly drinkable Lord Nelson Three Sheets Pale Ale and the group-branded Rockpool Brewing New Age Pilsner, brewed in-house in Victoria. The latter was quite clean, none too light and ideal with the spicy menu items.

Crispy hot wings with classic hot sauce (front) and Sichuan pepper and salt (back)
Burger Project's menu features five beef burgers, two chicken, one pork and one vegetarian mushroom burger which is inexplicably the most expensive of the lot.

Then there's two hot dog options and crispy hot wings, served whole in one golden battered piece. The classic hot sauced buffalo-style wing retained a nice crunch to the batter which was a little thick for my liking, but I was a fan of the tangy spice kick of the hot sauce.

The Sichuan pepper and salt seasoned wing in the same batter could have done with some more pepper, but the juicy innards couldn't be faulted.

House made chips with sea salt (left) and chipotle chilli (right); vanilla milkshake (back)
The house made skin-on chips are thrice cooked and a little oily for it, but pleasingly crisp. The plain sea salt ones were fine with tomato sauce available but the chipotle chilli ones were excellently spiced with just a hint of smoky chilli heat.

I ended up with a plain vanilla milkshake as my request for malt went unheard. With plenty of ice cream and quite the sweet vanilla hit, there'll always be something pleasingly nostalgic about a milkshake, although it became a little heavy going together with burgers, chips and wings.

Cheese and bacon burger (front, left) and The Korean (back, right)
And so we come to the burgers. Burger Project uses a blend of whole 36-month Cape Grim grass-fed chuck and brisket steak, ground thickly in-house to make the chunky meat patties. And thank goodness, there's no brioche in sight.

My cheese and bacon burger featured a quite rare beef pattie, though granted it was basically Burger Project's first operating day. The toasted white buns encased some serious quality bacon, American cheese, raw onion rings that were surprisingly not bitingly pungent, cucumber pickles, tomato, lettuce and a secret sauce. Sounds familiar.

The burger was quite large in size, making for a very substantial meal especially with sides. It had all the flavour you'd want and expect although the meat gets a little lost amongst all the sauce and additionals. The pattie itself was decent but not quite the star quality of the RB&G burgers - it is, after all, what chef Perry calls "the people's burger".

The less-filled Korean burger featured the grass fed beef pattie with kim chi, which was actually a great combination. Finished with raw onion, lettuce and a spicy Korean dressing, The Korean burger was an unexpected winner over the cheese and bacon burger.

Chef and owner Neil Perry (back)
Dessert comprises a menu of house churned ice cream and gourmet toppings like Valrhona crunchy pearls or chocolate sauce, meringue, rhubarb compote and salted dulce de leche sauce. Having struggled to get through most of the burger, dessert was not happening for me this time.

With a fairly broad menu and pretty good value to be had, I foresee more burgers and queues in my near future. They sold-out at lunch on the opening Friday, which is a sure sign that the masses are keen for a taste of Rockpool at Burger Project.

Food, Booze & Shoes dined at Burger Project as a guest, with thanks to The PR Partnership.

Burger Project on Urbanspoon


Amanda @ Gourmanda said...

There's been so much hype about this, my blog feed is clogged with people reviewing this place! I'm going to give it a try later this week...we'll see how it goes!

Cindy (a foodie's joy) said...

Looks like good value! Another one added fo my list!

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

The prices are pretty incredible, and I was not expecting to see Neil Perry on the line either!

Tina said...

Hi Amanda - And the hype is still going! Hope your experience wasn't overhyped?!

Hi Cindy - $10 for Neil Perry sure is good value!

Hi Helen - Looking forward to a return visit soon.

jade said...

This burger joint is located in the plaza at 2832 Victoria Park Avenue, Best Food Truck In LA

Maria said...

Great blog you havve here


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