Friday, 12 July 2013

$120 burger in Sydney - for one week only in May

Back on May 14th, I went down to Sydney (for a Collector Fair), and had my most expensive burger ever... at least, one that I hadn't made myself (if you haven't seen my 11kg burgers, check them out here)
First of all, a week before I went, I came across this article after seeing it mentioned on the News - $120 burger as part of Bacon week...

Okay, I'd never even heard of Bacon week, but the expensive burger caught my eye on the news on Sunday.
I remember that there was a $100+ burger in New York once, but it was a proper burger with beef in it. This one has bacon and egg as its core ingredients.

What makes it so expensive, you may ask?
No, not the chocolate kind.
The mushroom kind... which are priced at about $1000 per kilo!

I'm not much of a fan of mushrooms, and the burger itself sounds a bit weird with all the other stuff in it (caviar, duck egg, foie gras), but I thought it would be fun to try out as a novelty item... not to mention the shock value when telling others how expensive that one burger cost.

Unfortunately it was only available for one week at a Sydney restaurant called "Fourteen" (which some might recognise as being the "comeback kitchen" from the recent My Kitchen Rules series... for those who watch reality cooking shows), ending this week.

So I booked a flight, and was going to be in Sydney the coming Saturday to try it out...

Okay, okay.... calm down.
I didn't just book a trip to Sydney for this burger. I was already going to be in Sydney that weekend for the quarterly Parramatta Collector Fair, so it timed perfectly to give me something interesting to do.
I was to arrive Saturday at 1pm, and would head straight to the restaurant (at Surrey Hills) by train, which was to Central
I expected to be there by about 2pm, so made myself a booking
at the restaurant, just in case it would be busy for the promotion.
The kitchen stops serving lunch at 3pm, so I just have to hope that my flight wasn’t delayed by much.
Naturally, the flight WAS delayed, by 30 minutes out of Brisbane, due to something technical.

The plane ended up arriving in Sydney at about 1.20pm, so I was worried that I might have to wait about half an hour for the next train... AND I had no idea how long it would take to walk to the Restaurant from Central Station. If taxis weren’t so expensive in this country, I would have just grabbed one at the airport. But I chanced the train anyway, and fortunately one arrived within 5 minutes of me getting to the platform at the Airport station.

It was only 3 stops to Central. I was there at about 1.40pm, giving me plenty of time to FIND the restaurant. Yes, find it... because I forgot to take note of the street name it was on, or exactly which route to take from the trainstation. I just remembered it being on one of the streets that went east from the trainstation. So I picked a street and started walking east. While I was walking, I tried accessing their website on my phone, but each time it went to the location page, it wouldn’t show the map (it mustn’t be a phone-friendly website).

Fortunately, within 10 minutes I saw the restaurant ahead of me, and I was actually inside just minutes before 2pm...

They gave me a choice of table or bench at the kitchen, and I chose the bench so I could watch the chefs working, and maybe see my lunch being prepared. Lucky I did have something to watch, because the person serving me kept taking ages coming back to take my orders.
After all, I knew what I wanted, but still wanted to have a quick look at the menu anyway, to see what else they serve.
I ordered and appetizer and the Burger at the same time, as I expected the appetizer wouldn't take more than a couple minutes, while the Burger would be at least 10 minutes to prepare.

It was actually quite fascinating watching the hierarchy of the cooking staff... watching who jumps out of the way of certain people, no matter how difficult it was for them to do it.

I started with an appetizer, to get a taste of this restaurant, as appetizers are supposed to be a bite-size sample of an establishment.
It was a toasted bread with anchovy and pickled pepper.

It was about $5.  It was nice and surprisingly mild for anchovy, but wasn't too spectacular.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for... the $120 burger...

 Mine was a bit of a mess because it collapsed before they brought it to me (I was watching the Head Chef putting it together on the Pass and then have to rebuild it when it fell apart).

It was my first time eating Truffles, Foie Gras, duck egg and Caviar. I tried each before chomping into the burger. None of them tasted all that spectacular or interesting enough to want to waste a lot of money to intentionally eat it (as it was, this was just for the novelty of it being a $120 burger, not for the contents themselves).
It was very messy to eat, as the egg was kept very runny (classy places always have their eggs un-cooked for some reason).
The major flaw to the burger was that it had a really strong vintage cheese on it, which was the dominant (musty) flavour... I think it should have had a more milder cheese, so you could taste the other elements. After all, if you are paying for expensive ingredients like truffles, foie gras and caviar, you want to be able to taste it. 
I think the cheese may have only been chosen for its expense, rather than being a compliment to the other elements.

A news article had the chef/creator saying that she'd never eat one herself, as experienced chefs know what combinations of ingredients should taste like. But maybe she should have tried one first anyway to see beforehand that this might have been the wrong cheese to use.
Apparently they only made about a dozen during that promo week... and while I was there someone else ordered one. 
The people sitting near me were impressed, and asked me how it was, so the novelty was definitely there.
As unappealing as it was, I didn’t waste any...

Of course, I couldn’t just have the burger on it’s own. I had to have desert too...

A couple deserts actually. :p

Each one was about $10.  Small but very tasty.
Now to find that $100 burger in New York....