For a business centred around a pavlova cheesecake, Cheatday Sydney sure make a mean burger. Modelled around the fitness (fallacy) that consuming tonnes of calories in a single day can shock your metabolism into action, this cafe is aimed at gym-types taking a break from structured eating programs.
You’ll find it located at what owner George Mavridis calls “the golden triangle” between Mortdale, Oatley and Peakhurst. While this burger joint is deep in suburbia, it faces onto a light industrial area; though Mavridis is quick to admit the local tradies still head to the old-fashioned sandwich shop next door for their burgers.
Cheatday Sydney attracts the office worker crowd, plus a mixed bag of locals on weekends, so popular they were recently extended to include Sunday trade.
The Original Cheesecake Pavlova ($14) is based upon the passionfruit cheesecake that George’s mum, Ellie, used to make at home. Her cheesecake spun into a business – Ellie’s Artisan Cheesecakes – and a market stall at the Peakhurst Foodies Markets. By this time, George’s brother (and chef) Angelo Mavridis had made a few modern-day renovations, and the cheesecake pavlova was born. While it definitely has been designed with Instagram in mind, it eats as well as it looks with a surprisingly light texture and plenty of tangy tartness. I'm a fan.
According to George, a café can’t live on cheesecake pavlova alone – even if you throw in a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pavlova ($14) version (that was way too hectic for me).
So when George opened Cheatday Sydney a year and a half ago, he went back to his brother Angelo and together they came up with a range of burgers to round out the menu at the gym-themed space.
The Big Mav ($19.90) – takes on the litigious fast food giant’s Big Mac – with double beef, double cheese, pickles, lettuce and special sauce on a triple layer sesame seed-covered bun. It’s an improvement on the original if you ask me, keeping its shape throughout the eating experience using much less sweet potato buns. You also don’t get that nasty oil-slick the stewed Maccas patties leave on your tongue. Seasoned Fries ($4/add on) are also oil-free, with salty-sweet steak seasoning to keep you reaching for more.
The Big Mav impresses me more than the Philly Cheesesteak Burger ($18.90), though that's not due to any lack of quality. Chef Angelo has opted to include two cuts of high-quality beef – Angus beefsteak and smoked brisket – and kept them thick-cut so you can really taste them. The resulting burger is beefy and smoky; though a bit of a stretch from the original’s thinly sliced rib-eye browned on the grill then laid over with slices of provolone and American cheese. Here they use a Danish harvati cheese that I found a bit bland, making me wish for a chilli-based top note somewhere in the middle of all the green peppers and grilled onions.
With a big coffee window onto Lorraine Street, fuelling up on caffeine is another big part of the Cheatday experience. Mavridis is proud to be serving Little Marionette, roasted in my own Inner West stomping ground. It performs well in a Latte ($3.80) with subtle hints of liquorice.
I like it better than the Strawberry Thickshake ($10) served in a shaker bottle, that, for an extra tenner, you can keep. Maybe it's one for actual gym people…
64 Lorraine Street, Peakhurst
Ph: (02) 8502 8043
Thanks to Spooning for arranging this visit.