I’ve only ever been to two or three Australian joints in my day, so I jumped at the opportunity to check this place out with Jay from The Dishelin Guide. When he asked if I was interested in going with him for a press review, I was psyched. Aussie joints always offer the possibility of trying exotic meats, and, as you can imagine, the prospect of something like that gets my juices flowing.
In the case of Burke & Wills, you can find a kangaroo meat burger on their daily lunch and dinner menus. Since we came in for brunch on the weekend, however, we were in for a different treat involving ‘roo meat: a traditional meat pie.
Meat pies are pretty much street food and walking around food in Australia, but this version is served like a pot-pie, not hand food. It comes on a bed of English pea puree with mixed baby greens and a tomato jam. As for kangaroo meat, which is slightly gamey and very lean, it’s about as common on menus as venison here in the States.
Okay wait a second… before I get into more of the food I have to talk about the customizable Bloody Mary menu here.
Our waitress recommended the exact combination that I was thinking of ordering, so I took that as a sign. This ended up being one of the best bloodies I’ve ever had. Kaffir-lime salted rim, Citadel gin, far east mix (sri racha for the spice element) and the deluxe skewer.
Okay so where was I… Right; kangaroo meat. The brunch menu swaps out kangaroo in the burger for a standard beef burger, however there’s nothing else that’s standard about this particular burger other than the beef.
It comes topped with lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, onion, pineapple, pickled beets and a fried egg. It really is an amazing combination of flavors that I never expected to work well together. The meat is high quality, cooked nicely, and all the various toppings really make it a juicy and satisfying meal.
Aside from tasting good, this burger was really beautiful.
For the reasonable cost of $16, this stack of breakfast food and beef also comes with triple fried “chips,” which are what other people from across the various ponds call French fries. What we call chips, here, are called “crisps” over there. Hey, I’m not judging… just informing you ignorant bastards out there.
The fries (yes, I will continue to call them fries because I’m American and that’s what we do) are thick, almost like potato wedges. They’re blanched several times at various temperatures and then fried multiple times. The end result is a super crisp outside and a mashed-potato-esque interior. Really nice. And they come with a deliciously unique harissa-based dipping sauce to boot.
Another feature of the brunch menu is the ever present and highly trendy “elevated toast” offering. This particular one, however, was not some dainty piece of bread smeared with a little bit of avocado and then topped with a slice of tomato. No. This was a nice thick slice of toasty grilled bread as a base, with a generous amount of avocado as the next layer, to serve as a bed for what was essentially an entire salad of micro greens, tomato, frisee and pickled onions on top. And there was a LOT of awesome feta cheese on there. In fact, that was the bulk of it! I think I might have changed my mind about this toast food trend because of this dish. It was filling and satisfying, yet also light. Perfect for brunch on the weekend, especially with a bloody beside it.
For dessert, we had doughnuts and coffee.
These hot and sweet babies come with two dipping sauces; dolce de leche and chocolate. Both are fantastic.
I definitely recommend coming here for brunch in the back room, which is like a greenhouse:
If you’re not into brunch, then you should at least come in and try a bloody at the bar up front.
BURKE & WILLS
226 W 79th St
New York, NY 10024