Food trends come and go, much like the strange Mini Disc fad of the mid 90s. However, unlike the concept of making CDs look like floppy disks again, the appeal of a hefty piece of meat shoehorned between two pieces of bread is ever present. Perth has a good number of contenders in this burger-based Wrestlemania, but who boasts the concoction that takes the title belt? It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. I took a look at the best burgers in the west, stemming from five notable burger joints and a surprise high-end restaurant. For the sake of alliteration, let’s call this list Six Sexy Burgers. I know “burgers” doesn’t start with an “S”, but we’ll roll with it.
6. CRAM $13.50 – Alfred’s Kitchen.
This casual Guildford outlet is one of the most loved in Perth, and with good reason. The CRAM itself is one of them. The most calorie-packed burger on a menu that’ll seriously cause the loosening of belts and popping off of buttons, it’s a classic “The Lot” burger. Egg, bacon, cow two ways (beef and steak) and some relatively soggy salads make this more like a supercharged Double Whopper rather than a gourmet burger, but it has its charm. The decent price:content ratio gets it bonus points, though it isn’t the cheapest on the list. Fun fact: Matt Preston named this as his favourite burger in Australia. The fact that he has the diet of a garbage truck and the body of a walrus should indicate to you that if you’re looking for healthy, nutritious food, you’re barking up the wrong burger joint.
5. Goat’s Cheese & Hummus $14.50 – Grill’d.
With a price as suspect as the lack of a letter “E” in the restaurant name, you’d be hoping for something pretty outstanding from this lamb burger. It delivers, with a simple blend of ingredients that works. Smooth, rich goats cheese is offset by the nuttiness of the hummus, two flavours that combine beautifully with the no fuss meatiness of the lamb. Being a massive chain, expect some inconsistencies in quality. Don’t be surprised to find the odd sandy lettuce leaf or grisly patty on your visit.
4. Day Dreamer $12.20 – Bilby’s.
Head up Davies Road in leafy Mount Claremont and you’ll come across a teensy tiny burger joint with a capacity of around nine diners. Bilby’s holds a special place in my heart, having produced the first truly “gourmet” burger that I laid tastebuds upon. To this day, I’m pleased to report that my favourite burger at the diner, the Day Dreamer, holds its own, against far more expensive entrants, I might add. This chicken burger packs a decent hunk of breast marinated in thyme and all manner of native pepper berries, giving the traditionally boring white meat a nice herby zing and a little bit of heat. It’s garnished with the usual salad greens and tomato mix, along with melted cheese, bacon and a beautifully silky avocado cream. Being the cheapest burger on the list is a huge plus.
3. The Beef Big Smoke $15.50 – Burger Bistro.
The price is as high as the burger itself. If your wallet can brave one, and your jaw the other, the payoff is good. A flavoursome Angus patty is engulfed in the obligatory salads, but the smoky barbecue sauce, quality Emmental cheese, pancetta and garlic mayo are the true keys to the magic. The crispiness of the bread is a nice touch, which also prevents the burger from breaking apart through the combination of meat juice, cheese juice, sauce and all sorts of other juices. Possibly the most filling burger on this list.
2. Mozzarella Chicken $14.50 – Jus Burgers.
Jus is seen by some as the undisputed king of the Perth burger scene, and I tend to agree. They don’t overcomplicate things by loading ingredients in between bread, instead focusing on nailing what’s in each. Perfectly cooked chicken tenderloins, with a little light charring for that inimitable taste of fire, are the centrepiece. The little touches make a huge difference too, like fantastically crisp lettuce; and lightly grilled, salted and oiled bread. It’s held together by a house-made pesto and notoriously expensive, fresh tasting buffalo mozzarella. It’s not literally held together though – this thing is a nightmare to eat, even if you cut it in half with the provided steak knife. Pack a bib, make sure no one’s looking, then lick it all up or soak it with bread & chips.
1. Rockpool Burger ($24) – Rockpool Bar & Grill.
Neil Perry is known for many things. Ponytails, QANTAS First and Business Class menus, steak, fine-dining, and having the most successful high-end group of restaurants in Australia. I’m here to talk up the burger, tucked sneakily away on the bar menu, which is not only the best in Perth, but may well be the best in Australia. Virtually everything on offer is made in-house, from the pillowy bun, through to the tangy onion and zucchini pickle, amazing chilli jam, and of course the patty. Using assorted cuts of David Blackmore’s Wagyu Beef, which are finely minced, seasoned and formed into generous slabs before being cooked medium rare, this is a serious piece of beef. This isn’t that low marble score crap you get at some restaurants either though. This is some of the only 9+ Wagyu beef you can get in the country. Say what you will about the $24 asking price, which will get you the burger and absolutely nothing else… this is a literal double handful of explosive flavours, and is the best burger I’ve ever eaten, by a distance.
Found any better options? Let me know, I’d bloody love to chow down on them.
PS: “But… I’m a vegetarian…”
Fantastic, so is my sister! Luckily for the protein-challenged, there are several vegetarian options at these eateries. Stay tuned for my list very soon.