Bianca: My love for the burger brought me to the relatively new café ‘Basket Brothers’, which sits on the fringe of the city CBD and neighbouring Surry Hills. Despite the café/restaurant ‘prowess’ of the inner city suburb you’d be surprisingly hard pressed to find a knockout burger. ‘Chur Burger’ undeservedly had the monopoly on the burger scene but I have a feeling that is about to change.
Having opened early this year Basket Brothers has quietly been plugging along turning out fantastic burgers that criminally, no-one is talking about.
Straddling both Elizabeth Street and Wentworth Avenue, the space is rather light, with floor to ceiling windows affording patrons with an abundance of natural light.
I have absolutely zero interest in standard boring café menus, which is initially what piqued my curiosity – brisket hash, Pork & Beans and some pretty interesting burgers & sambos? I was kind of sold.
Being the eating champions that myself and buddy MJ are, we tackled four dishes between us. During the week they have two separate menus, a breakfast menu that finishes at 11:30am and a lunch menu that continues on from 11:30am. So be wary of that if there is something on either menu you are keen to try. They also currently offer dinner services, Tuesday-Friday evenings.
From the breakfast menu we had the ‘Smoked Brisket Hash’ – w/ fried egg, wild rocket aioli, jalapeno salsa, sourdough $18, a fancier version of your regular ol potato hash Americans love. The brisket was up there with Vic’s at the Sydney Fish Markets, something we were both really surprised by. Our only gripe here was that we felt they could have been a little more generous with the amount of brisket in comparison to the potato. The fresh tomato really lightened this dish up and a bite with all the elements together with the egg was truly fantastic. The jalapeno salsa added some unexpected sweetness which perfectly counteracted the saltiness of the brisket. This is one dish to travel for.
I rarely go sweet for breakfast but I just loved the sound of the ‘Peanut Butter French toast’ $16.50. PB on most dishes will usually stop me in my tracks and it really does elevate a humble French toast into a complex dish with many flavour notes – sweet and salty. Some crispy bacon would have catapulted this into something truly wonderful. Accompanying the peanut butter was a strawberry compote/cream. For a French toast it wasn’t as heavy as some incarnations I’ve had previously.
My main reason for the visit was the ‘Classic Cheeseburger’ – Ground beef patty, cheese, ketchup, mustard, aioli and pickles $10 my general excitement when ordering led me to forget adding bacon to my order but this ultimately, wasn’t a bad thing. Firstly the price point is beyond generous, considering the locale they already have Chur beaten in my books. The patty was exceptionally juicy and tender and had a slight crisp to the exterior. Almost as if it was cooked the smash patty method. Not something you typically find in Sydney. With long generous strands of pickles and the perfect ratio of ketchup & mustard.
This was eerily reminiscent of a Maccas cheeseburger but a thousand times better. I imagine those nuts for Mary’s will fall in love with this burger. The cheese was really the only element that could do with some improvement, a sharper cheddar or even American cheese would be more suitable. This was also one occasion where I felt a double patty would elevate an already fantastic burger, or a slightly thicker patty. The bun tasted like a simple white roll with a slight crunch. This is one great burger and one I’d happily toss into my burger rotation – 4.2/5 pickles.
We’d previously agreed on three shared dishes but once we saw the ‘Friday BBQ Special’ we bumped it up to four dishes. We are nothing but seasoned profesh eaters after all. The BBQ Plate consisted of –Smokey brisket, pork belly slider, hot wings, apple slaw and corn on the Cobb $20. The star by far, was that smoked brisket. Which was similar to that used in the Hash. Melt in the mouth tender, with glorious unctuous fat that, really, slid down much better than it should. In terms of good brisket in Sydney I would put it on the same playing field as Vic’s at the fish markets. The Chicken wings, touted as hot wings didn’t have much of a kick but sure delivered in the flavour stakes and were very tender. The pork slider had a bit going for it, soft bun, crunchy slaw, bold sauce but we both felt a little let down by the pork, it could have done with a bit more seasoning. The side slaw was incredibly zesty with hints of apple, the perfect accompaniment to diffuse the meat sweats.
I was actually really impressed by this little place, the food is fantastic and makes a perfect alternative for those on the city fringes and wanting to step out of Surry Hills.