Tucked in amidst the hardware stores, smash repairers and storage unit companies of Brookvale, Originals Burger Co. gave me the first compelling reason to put this suburb my foodie map. Chef Josh Franco – who you might know from his time in the Aqua Dining kitchen – draws upon his experience to put out surprisingly well-balanced burgers at a very reasonable price.
Arriving wrapped so they don’t drip all over you, Josh’s American-style burgers don’t take on the towering burger behemoths (though he does have a special you can order…). Rather they supply a well-sized burger that makes for easy (and excellent) eating.
The Originals Burger ($10.99) starts with grass fed beef with the right amount of fat (for flavour) and fashions it into patties. They're presented in singular form on a burger accentuated by good mustard, tomato sauce, pickles, lettuce, tomato and white onion (I appreciated this detail) and the requisite gooey, golden American cheese. There’s a smear of house dressing - pickled mayo – that helps make it taste (refreshingly) like what burgers used to be like before a double serve of deep fried everything got jammed inside super-sweet brioche buns.
I’m a big fan of the Chicken Burger ($13.99) teaming buttermilk-fried chook, bacon, oozing American cheese and smoky barbeque sauce then balancing it with creamy OG’s blue cheese sauce. It’s presented in a house-made milk bun that isn’t over-sweet. It’s a pleasure to hold this pillowy soft burger in your hands, and stuff it into your mouth. The flavour combination – sweet, smoky, tangy, creamy - is surprisingly bold, with each of the ingredients speaking in turn. Nailing simplicity, it’s easily one of the best tasting chicken burgers I’ve tried.
You’ll also find Josh’s well-balanced blue cheese sauce cooling down the OG’s Hot Wings ($4.99/4). The free-range chicken wings are so well cooked; they fall apart at the slightest prodding under their liberal dosing with house-made hot sauce. Made using Carolina reapers (the hottest chillies in the world), jalapenos, bird’s eye chillies and banana chillis, this is one tasty hot sauce that you can also take home for twenty bucks (you need it). It’s got no preservatives, and comes with an “extremely hot” heat warning. The wings themselves have a good amount of heat, punctuate them by blue cheese dipped celery stick and a swig of Cascade Spicy Ginger Beer ($3.60).
Loaded Originals Fries ($6.99) with shallots, gravy, cheese, bacon bits and more tangy house dressing are another add-on, but became a too much of a soggy swamp for me, so next time I’d just stick to the wings.
A conveniently placed washing up sink at the front door makes eating messy hot wings all the better in a setting that leaves those fast-food joints for dead.
You'll also find hipster bulbs, exposed rafters, steam punk door handles and they’ve even given the corrugated iron roof a rustic brown paint job.
Finally, to cater to those early morning types, Josh has also brought over the cheeseburger jaffle he made famous at Neighbourhood, Bondi in a short but interesting breakfast menu. Later risers like me would do well to make his 'after eleven' “burgy burgs” a permanent pit stop on the way to the Northern Beaches.
Originals Burger Co.
34 Winbourne Road, Brookvale
Ph: (02) 9939 6817