When I first met the Bare Grill team at their original, La Perouse outfit, I fell for the way the contemporary burger joint retained a bit of old-school, corner store charm. That charm is not quite as evident in their second Bourke Street restaurant, but it does have to cater to the more jaded Surry Hills crowd. To keep ‘em coming back here, they’re getting creative in the kitchen, and constructing three different eye-watering towers of breakfast, burgers and meat. Taking along a full crew, we managed to tackle two different towers before falling into food comas that knocked out most of the afternoon.
Since we were eating our whole day’s food requirements in one sitting, I eased into our adventure with coffee. Beginning with a smooth Latte ($3), I quickly advanced to an Espresso Martini ($15). Served in a curvaceous highball under a considerable head of whipped cream and lashings of chocolate sauce, it left me with sticky fingers.
With a twenty-year-old behind the bar, whipped cream and sugary syrups are strongly featured in the brunch cocktail list. Our minds eventually meld over a Whiskey Sour ($15) made on Chivas Regal. It's nicely balanced, and I use the cocktail's intensity to help digest my meat.
With the wintery weather at their wind-exposed La Perouse site getting a bit cold, the Bare Grill team has opted to shift breakfast here. We ease our way in with a pair of their new breakfast favourites. Brisket Hollandaise ($20) stacks tender beef brisket on rocket, then tops the lot with Hollandaise sauce and a pair of poached eggs. It’s actually my favourite eat, despite being dwarfed by the platters that follow.
On the sweeter side, Souffle Pancakes ($15) arrive in a tower with crisp edges that remind me of chimney cake. They’re decorated Pro Hart-style with a dusting of icing sugar, summer fruit, lime wedges, whipped cream, ice cream, and a mixed berry compote that has been warmed up in deference to the season.
The Bare Burger Hibernator ($25/person) gives you three tiers of burgers, snacks and sides. From a shortened list of six burgers, you can each choose your poison. Ours arrived sliced, for more convenient sharing, which allowed each diner to get their mitts on two different burgers. The Original (normally $12) is a good way to get properly acquainted with their trademark, logo-stamped milk buns, charred beef patties cooked so the middle stays pink, and oozing double serve of American cheddar. It’s rounded out, as all good burgers should be with gherkins, ketchup, American mustard and caramelised onions. My only complaint is that halving the burgers loses the usual explosively juicy first bite.
The burgers are artfully laid out on paper with sauces and fries. Climbing up a tier, you’ll find a whole lot of fried. Cheeseburger spring rolls, mac’n’cheese croquettes, onion rings and jalapeno poppers give you plenty to work on; with buffalo wings and celery sticks to help break up the crisp and crumbed carbohydrates. With it sitting above my eye line, it’s easy to neglect the top tier – a bowl of the famous Epic Fries (normally $18). The crisp waffle fries are lashed halal snack pack style with Bare Grill’s own holy trinity – homemade BBQ, chipotle mayo. and liquid cheese. Two types of pig – pulled pork and bacon bits – and a cursory handful of green shallots complete the dish, which is more my speed than the straight up fried.
The Smoked Meat Hibernator ($70/head) is a bigger fiscal commitment, but that’s because you’re getting a metric shit-tonne of meat. There’s so much meat in fact, you won’t have the energy to argue over who has gnawing rights on the tomahawk.
You’ll be too busy licking your fingers after diving into three different species' smoked ribs, all arranged around a perfunctory portion of Greek salad.
What I liked about this platter is that there were less fried items. You can punctuate stretchy slices of beef brisket with loaded potato skins, or dig deep in the crowning tier of Epic Mac’n’Cheese (normally $18). This platter certainly looks grand, and if you add up the items, it does represent value to the diner; if - and it’s a pretty big if - you can consume that much meat. While my Instagram cache will undoubtedly rise from having consumed one, if you want to know what I’d personally come back to Bare Grill for, it's one of their burgers all to myself.
Bare Grill on Bourke
Shop 15, 425 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 8964 4214
NOTE: See a previous review back HERE.