Hamburgers. I could write endless sonnets about my love for this food group. I have always been on the hunt for new tasty burger varieties - some fancy, some obtained at a drive through counter at an ungodly hour. Burgers are little patties of happiness in a bread bun, and word on the street is that the newly opened Charlie and Co. has burger affecionados falling truly madly deeply in love with their offerings.Navigating your way through the newly opened Westfield Sydney is hard enough when you get distracted by shiny objects - but Demos and I were on a food mission. The last time we visited this centre was during their opening weekend and I was traumatised by the crowds, distracted by Gucci and pretty much lost in a "Christian Louboutin Opening Soon" daze. It was desperation to try Charlie and Co. that drove us there that day but it was just far too crowded and I just had no sense of direction. Its the first time a shopping mall defeated me (only because I was weakend by hunger). This time I kept my focus, and I sucessfuly led Demos to level 4.
Since we both rushed to get there after work, we luckily beat out most of the thursday night shopping crowd. We were seated almost immediately, but noticed there was a long line of office workers ordering to go. The menu tells the tale of Charlie - the man who gave the human race fire. Well not really, the story is that our mate Charlie "invented" the hamburger by sandwiching the meatballs he was selling in between bread. The rest as they say is history, but thanks to Justin North his legend lives on - with a side of fancyness of course.
|Fries with Parmesan and Truffle Oil $8 - i'll get to this soon!|
It took us a very short time to decide which burgers we wanted to try even though there were 9 signature varieties on offer. I chose the Mexcan Burger but I have to admit - the Producers Burger - with marinated mushrooms, haloumi, sundried tomatoes, spinach and aoli caught my eye as well. Like Demos, who selected the Wagyu and Co. Burger - I wanted something filling, something the Hamburglar would be proud of. For our sides we just had to try the fries with Parmesan and truffle oil and the onion rings too.
The fries arrived in an instant, almost as if our waitress took our order to the counter and came back with a stolen plate. I could smell these chips approaching - that amazing truffle "stink" hit me before the fries were even on the table. Demos and I both greedily grabbed a chunk each. "Was your's cold?" was my first response. "Yeah..(long pause) a bit" I actually had a few chips before I took the photos, simply because I don't have the self control to wait. We continue to devour the chips in silence. The flavour is mind blowing, and the chips are crunchy - but they were not hot. I couldn't help but think..was this what they wanted? I was picturing the parmesan melting through the salty chips but that wasn't the case in my batch. Nevertheless I have found my crack - the taste was so addictive I just pretend it was hot.
|Wagyu Burger $18 eat in, $16 to go|
Our burgers arrive in a flash as well. The wagyu and co burger Demos ordered had a shredded beetroot relish, a slice of cheddar cheese and gherkin. This is supposed to be a variation on Justin North's wagyu burger from Plan B. I have to say that the Plan B wagyu burger will forever be on my wish list to try, since they are only open on weekdays and I work no where near the place - but judging from the look of this burger one can say it doesn't play second fiddle - it is quite scrumptious.
With surgical precision a skill honed over time, Demos cuts through his wagyu burger. Even though they are somewhat small, they are stacked high with a thick patty. One bite and I could see something was wrong....."Where's the rest of it." All I could do was laugh and say "it's quality, not quantity." It's a cute little burger bursting at the seams with flavour that punches you in the face would be one way to look at it i'd say.
|Macho Mexican Burger $15, $13 to go|
When I bit into my Mexican burger I couldn't help but think that there was definitely something going on - where had all the 'hot' gone? Everything we had eaten didn't exactly have that freshly cooked feeling to it, luckily everything was so tasty. My burger was like eating a serve meaty nachos packaged in a bun and minus the corn chips. There was a generous layer of gucamole and sour cream, with the tomato salsa and chilli beans making for some messy eating. Macho indeed.
The buns are baked freshly by a group of artisan bakers within the Westfield complex - from the early morning, every day. Of course I tried both burgers but I found that the bun of the Wagyu burger was crunchy and toasted, where as my mexican burger was just "fresh", and cold. Its upsetting that some poor baker was up at an ungodly hour, constructing this bun only to get let down in the construction of it all. My overly positive nature puts this down to teething problems and like all good things, it takes time to get everything perfecto. Baby steps, Charlie.
You can order different sauces for your burger but we definitely abused the small ketchup bottles they had on the table. In the short time we were there, tables were emptied and filed in quick succession and burgers kept coming. You can't doubt the popularity of this place, and it seems like there are several repeat patrons.
Sadly for us, despite finishing everything to the last crumb, our onion rings never came.
Never the ones to nag, and always waiting patiently with a smile - we decide we can live without the onion rings. It does cost a bit more for table service within the Charlie and Co. dining area, but its no major difference to ordering your burger to go and sitting in the communal food court area. The restaurant area is licensed so you can enjoy a fancy glass of red with your fancy burger.
I have to say, it's absolutely no ordinary food court. There is no Mc Donalds in sight and it is a welcome addition to the CBD. I still remember the old Centerpoint food court, and Charlie and Co sure beats the Hungry Jacks burger I used to get on a shopping pitt stop. Although I was a bit dissapointed, I will definitely come back for another Burger fix, even if I have to nuke my order it in the electrical department of Myer. Thank you Charlie, Thank you Co - until next time
Charlie & Co The Sydney Room Level 5, Westfield Sydney Cnr Market & Castlereagh S
(02) 8072-7777 http://www.charlieandco.com.au