In the name of bringing you a balanced review, I’ve actually visited Brooklyn Depot three times; and on each visit, I’ve smashed a different burger. Best I can come up with is that I have a love-hate relationship with the burgers here…
This chain, which emerged in Queensland, is loosely based upon the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Brooklyn is connected to Manhattan by the Brooklyn Bridge - an iconic cable-stayed suspension bridge that has appeared in Spider Man and Gozilla. From the Brooklyn Bridge you can see the Statue of Liberty; explaining the street art style mural in the front doorway. You’ll also see a nod in it to Brooklyn’s pigeon kings - the residents who raise homing pigeons on rooftops.
The colourful art and bright lights give this place an energetic vibe. Having their front service area operating as a high volume takeout adds to this, with delivery company arrivals making it seem a bit like eating in a drive-thru - well except here you can drink Stone & Wood Pacific Ale ($10) beer. No matter, you can also eat in the upper level, though the booths are so tiny, they might not suit the easily claustrophobic.
While the menu does venture beyond burgers with hot ‘dawgs’, wings, chilli, barbeque and salads, on my visits I stuck to the thirteen-strong burger list, starting with the Outta Towner ($15). This burger takes what is essentially a Philly cheese steak – sliced premium steak, roasted green peppers, caramelised onions and provolone cheese – then sticks it on a burger bun with a grass fed beef patty. At first I’m not sure why you’d combine these two things. They seem texturally at odds with each other, with the sliced beef's softness vying against the more dense, chewy patty, but I find it hard to argue with the success of the flavour combination.
The Filthy Pilgrim ($15) arrives looking like a white shirt disaster waiting to happen. It’s a combination of sliced turkey breast, gravy, ‘rustic roast potato and garlic’ (whatever that means), melted Brie, herbed stuffing and cranberry mayonnaise. As a confirmed lover of next-day roast meat rolls with stuffing and gravy, I really thought this would be my thing. Weirdly the dominant flavour of this ‘burger’ is mashed potato, and I’m not sure the lumpy pink mayonnaise speaks to me in terms of appearance or flavour. It’s also predictably messy to eat, however nothing does sloppy quite like El Toro ($17)...
Oozing red wine reduction sauce and smoked paprika garlic aioli, this burger behemoth is the venue’s monthly special. It sounds pretty irresistible with five-hour slow cooked beef cheeks standing in place of your more traditional beef patty, but my view is, there’s actually too much going on. While the tiny potato bravas cubes and crumbed cheese croquettes were great burger additions, the padron pepper salsa sounded better than it ate. While padron peppers are amazing blistered in hot oil, the raw ones here were indistinguishable from green capsicum. When you try to wrap your laughing gear around this burger, expect a torrent of disintegrating beef cheek and a shower of red sauce to rain out from between its buns.
What I am unequivocal about at Brooklyn Depot is their old-fashioned Depot shakes. Served wonderfully cold and thick in old-fashioned metal milkshake cups, these are the perfect way to get in some sneaky lunchtime boozing. Who would suspect Galliano vanilla liqueur in your Honky ($12) vanilla shake, buried discreetly under coconut flakes? Yo’ Mama ($12) is even better, hiding Bols strawberry liqueur in a thickshake flavoured with strawberry puree, then topped with Kit Kat shards. After drinking one of these, I always walk back into work smiling.
65 Holt Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 9211 2255