Bianca: Whilst it was my hood growing up, the Hills isn’t exactly known for their burger offerings, in fact prior to the Tuckshop and The Baron, you’d be hard pressed to rattle off any other names. I lived the first 11 years of my life on Caroline Chisholm drive, one of the main streets intercepting Winston Hills. I’d gotten wind of a burger joint offering some ‘gourmet’ style burgers in the Winston Hills shopping mall so make the trek back to the ol stomping ground to check it out.
‘El Burger’ is perched right in the food court with a view of Dunkin Donuts, so dessert is already covered! Co-incidentally, my older brother and I went to primary school with the Elbayeh boys (the owners) of the aptly named El Burger. Small small world.
Whilst they are smack bam in the food court, they have tried to create somewhat of an enclave, to differentiate the store from the main food court area – with pumping tunes to boot.
Joining me on my adventure today was my creator, Madre, she was on a health kick with no carbs allowed. But let me tell you, it really didn’t take that much convincing to throw her diet to the wind. She’s easily convinced and I take full advantage of that.
Mum can never go past a chicken burger, so she went for the ‘El Chicken’ –w/grilled (or fried) chicken, house slaw, cheese, tomato and sweet chilli mayo $10.00. Mum was really impressed with this burger, I had a few bites and while chicken burgers rarely do much for me, this was pleasant. There was a nice smoky/char flavour to the grilled chicken which complemented the sweet chilli mayo. But it had its flaws, there was way too much slaw and it threw every other element out of balance but the cardinal sin – the cold limp slice of cheese. For my Facebook FBAS a 3.4/5 pickles.
For myself, the classic American style burger the ‘El Cheesy’ – Beef patty, cheese, tomato, pickles, mustard and tomato sauce $8.00. So the name of this burger should really be the ‘El Mustard’. It was DROWNING in it, I love mustard like the next gal or guy but this was overkill. My first initial bites were pleasant until I really couldn’t focus on anything else but the mustard. The patty was a little bland (as I always try it by itself and with the burger as a whole) so it could be beefed up with more seasoning but it was cooked well and had a nice pink centre. I really enjoyed the soft brioche bun. Thumbs up to the generous pickle slices but a thumbs down to its placement, right on the bottom bun with the patty sitting just on top. Produced a lot of slippage!! I was also blessed with the hard tomato core which I promptly tossed. It has promise but they need to rectify a few issues. A 3/5 pickles.
I tossed up over sides but ultimately chose the ‘Cheesy Bacon Chips’ $6.00. I rarely harp on about fries but I put these on par with Pub Life’s who I believe do the best in Sydney! These are more of a thick crinkle cut fry with lashings of thick BBQ sauce and mayo/aioli then ceremoniously topped with melted cheese. The crispy bacon pieces were a highlight, if fries are on the cards make sure you get these.
It was hard to tell if my experience was an anomaly or not, if a little more care was paid to the flavour and ingredient balances EL BURGER would really make some strong head waves in the burger scene. Still, it’s nice for the locals to have a decent burger joint of their very own without having to travel over half of Sydney for it.