ARE you in the smashed burger camp or the thick burger camp?
Or do you have low cholesterol and don’t care?
I used to be firmly in the thick camp, my favourite being the monster patties at the Long Paddock Burger Co in Attadale, which used high quality beef from the butchers next door.
That was until lunch on Thursday, when like some overweight Saul, I saw the greasy light and had a smashed epiphany in Hoodburger Applecross.
I tried Hoodburger Inglewood a few years back and was disappointed – the burgers were average and I didn’t get all the hype surrounding them.
But everyone deserves a second chance, so I decided to try their flagship store in Applecross.
The menu had a compact range of burgers, fries, sides and sauces. There was no faffing about with sundry dishes – this place had burger in the title and that’s what it did.
There were cheeseburgers (hot, deluxe, double) a range of chicken burgers including honey butter, supreme and the intriguingly named Golden Curry Tender, and a smashed pork burger.
I could only see one veggie burger – the Swiss Mushroom – reinforcing the sense that this was an old-school place focusing on meat and chicken.
That feeling was compounded by the the kitsch decor, retro packaging and the Hoodburger sign – like something you would see driving down a freeway in America in the 1970s in your tan flares.
I recall the Inglewood outlet being draughty, cold and a bit of a glorified greasy spoon, but the flagship Applecross store had some nice retro stools at the window and stylish booths stretching to the back of the store.
The guy behind the counter was smiley and helpful too, so it was a nice place to dine-in.
I kicked off with the Ribwich ($14) – a smashed 150g organic pork patty with BBQ sauce.
Wow, this sucker was packed with tender meat that had a lovely sweet tang.
The bbq sauce wasn’t too sickly and had a slightly spicy coda. The bun was super soft and despite the girth in this bad boy, it felt light to eat.
The accompanying onions and dill pickles were enjoyable, but I felt it needed an extra ingredient to take it from a B+ to an A (the menu suggested getting it with bacon or jalapeños).
Overall a delicious burger with high quality pork.
I couldn’t visit Hoodburger without trying their Tender Mash and Gravy Burger ($16) – two chicken tenders with American cheddar, creamy mashed potato and rich chicken gravy.
It sounds demented and like something Elvis would have eaten at 3am in his pyjamas at Graceland, but it tasted amazing.
First of all, this burger had some serious heft and felt denser than a neutron star.
On the first bite I was expecting it to disintegrate into a sloppy mess, but somehow it defied the laws of physics and held together bite after bite (maybe the gravy was acting like some kind of organic Liquid Nails).
The flavours were moreish and it tasted like homemade mash and chicken gravy your nanny used to make, while the cheese just pushed it into flavour nirvana. The pick of the bunch.
Last up was the hot cheeseburger ($14.50) – a 150g organic smashed beef patty with American cheddar.
The Hoodburger folk were sneaky and put jalapeños on both sides of the burger, so it had some serious heat, but it was probably the Carolina reaper ketchup that caused a supernova in my mouth.
It did what it said on the tin, but this burger was too hot for me. However, you couldn’t fault the execution and quality ingredients.
My return to Hoodburger was a resounding success – I arrived at Damascus totally smashed.
I’ll be back to try the intriguingly named Golden Curry Tender Sandwich which comes with Japanese curry sauce.
31 Kearns Crescent, Applecross
Open seven days a week
by STEPHEN POLLOCK