Friday, 12 September 2014

Cheap Eats - Chur Burger

I've not kept it a secret but I've been on a mad burger hunt ever since I spent a month in New York City last year, which has to be the burger capital of the world (see post here). Just so we're clear, there are over nine hundred burger joints in the Big Apple, so there is no doubt that it's the burger mecca.  I've always loved burgers, I mean, who doesn't like a burger?  It's just that spending time in NYC allowed me to experience a wide range of burgers and really open my eyes to what's possible with some humble ingredients.

I've been chasing those burger highs ever since I returned from the US and over the last twelve months, it seems as if the whole city has gone burger crazy!  There has been burger joint after burger joint open, all trying to win the Brisbane diner's burger heart.  I guess it's not just burgers, but the whole American cuisine that's really taken off, but the quintessential and most favoured of American foods is the burger. 

My quest is quite well known and it's not unusual for a FoodMeUpScotty follower to tweet or Instagram me the moment a new burger place has opened.  This happened recently with the opening of Chur Burger.  I'd been vaguely aware that the Sydney institution was opening up a Brisbane outlet sometime this year, but it wasn't until internet buddy DigellaBakes sent me a tweet that I became fully conscious of the opening of a new burger joint (Thanks DC!).  From that moment it was clear that we'd be hitting up Chur Burger pretty quickly.

It ended up being two days post my tweet from Digella that we found our way to Chur Burger.  We knew it was in the Valley and we knew it was in Constance Street, but it wasn't until we pulled up out the front that we realised that it was underneath hip new Valley hotel Tryp by Wyndham.  It was a moment of revelation once we realised that the Tryp was in one of the old buildings that up until a year ago was just a shell, cool.  We'd always wondered who would take on 20 Constance Street and now we knew.

Chur Burger joins a long line of burger joints set up by chefs looking to get into the casual dining market. Warren Turnbull is perhaps best known for his two hat restaurant, Assiette which in 2010 was also ranked in the Gourmet Travellers top 100 restaurants.  After closing Assiette and his other one hat restaurant, District Dining, Warren turned his hand to a more casual approach to dining and created Chur Burger, with his first outlet opened in the uber trendy Sydney suburb of Surry Hills. Achieving almost instant success and named the best burger in the Good Food section of the Sydney Morning Herald, outlets soon followed in Paddington and Manly, with the latest opening occurring recently in Brisbane.

As we walked into Chur Burger, a couple of things stood out for me, firstly, there was a huge amount of street art around the place that was instantly cool.  The other element that stood out was the clean lines of the fit out, it was a really lovely looking spot that mixed an urban street feel with modern restaurant fit out.  We were shown to a table at the front of the restaurant which had bi-fold windows open that brought the outside in.  A couple of menus were handed over with instructions to order at the counter when we were ready.  Looking over the menu, we could see that Chur was more than just a burger joint, sure there were half a dozen different burgers on offer, but there were also some interesting looking American style mains.

Our decision for the day was easy, burgers with a salted caramel shake for me and a pomegranate soda for SC.  I'm a sucker for salted caramel anything but this shake was the real deal, it had a slightly burnt flavour to the caramel with the saltiness really enhancing the flavour.  I thought that SC's pomegranate soda was interesting, it was a vinegar based cordial with some soda water added and it really took some stirring to get a good mix on.  

We didn't have to wait long for our burgers to arrive, which was great because we were super hungry!  SC's lamb with feta, red onion, mint sauce and aioli came out a few seconds before my burger, so I got to snapping before SC jumped in for her first bite.  On first appearances, the burger looked pretty standard, a toasted brioche bun with a thick looking patty but you could see the subtle differences - the bun and patty were just the right match and the mint and aioli started to ooze down the side.  SC's first bite told the story, sweet lamb mince cooked medium and matched wonderfully with the mint and red onion.  It was about the third bite that SC gobbled up a massive chunk of the mint, which slightly over powered the burger, but it was a once off, with the rest of the burger being a good balance of ingredients.

I'd ordered the Beef with pickle, cheese, tomato jam and Dijon mayonnaise but of course asked for the pickle to be removed but added bacon instead.  What I loved was that the team at Chur didn't bat an eyelid, off went the pickles and no attitude (see Ben's Burger post here).  Actually, I tell a lie, what I loved most was the burger itself, it not only looked just about perfect, it tasted great too. While it was a very, very good burger, there were a couple of things that would have enhanced the overall experience.  The burger should have come cooked medium, but it was slightly over.  I don't think it impacted the flavour, but I'd need to get in and have another to find out for sure.  The other was I'd have loved some lettuce and fresh tomato - but then again, it would have been a different burger, so maybe I just need to get over that!

We both liked our burgers from Chur with the best element being the thick meat patties, much thicker than most burger places around Brisbane.  A thick patty is a real hallmark of a good burger for me and most of the great burgers I had in New York had thick patties, that seem to have much more substance.  

Chur Burger was super new when we visited, the waitress that took my order mentioned that they were into their third day, so I was pretty impressed with how well oiled the Chur team were.  The staff didn't have any attitude at all, which was refreshing considering the 'tude we received from Ben's Burger.  As you'd have thought, most of the clientele in the place had a bent towards the hipster, which was quite amusing to watch and had me reflecting if I had slipped into hipster mode as well.....

Were the Chur Burgers the best in town?  Not really, but they were good.  My go to burger in town is still the Howzat 'The Don", which is by far my favourite.  Interestingly enough, even though I copped a lot of attitude from Ben's Burger and had to take off my own pickle, I think that Ben's has a slight edge over the Chur burger.....  There is a caveat to that statement though, the range at Chur is quite extensive and I plan on going back to check out a few more of the options, so I might end up revising my burger pecking order.

Well, at least I will be back to Chur, I loved the service and it's just a really cool spot to hang out.

The burgers were pretty good, an excellent balance between the bun and meat patty
My beef burger was excellent but I would have loved something fresh in there, lettuce and tomato would have been tops
Lots of cool 'street' art in Chur burger
There are a lot of options for sauce!
Old style milkshake container - metal - like the old days
The salted caramel was superb - mmmm, salted caramel
The menu has quite a few options - including some Americana style mains
Chur Burger is in Constance Street, just around the corner from the Fringe Bar
It part of the Tryp hotel - good for a quick snack!

Chur Burger on UrbanspoonChur Burger


  1. While I haven't searched your blog yet, might pay to check out Getta Burger in Carina. The Boss Burger there is something pretty special but the other options aren't far off either.

    1. Cheers, I've not had a Getta Burger yet! I'll check it out...


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