Batch Burgers and Espresso's 1950s-style fit-out. Photo: Fiona Morris
I'm faced with a conundrum. My burger stands close to 15 centimetres high, secured with a large skewer. Do I dive in and take a bite as is? Or cut it in half and attempt a more manageable size.
Throwing caution to the wind, I ditch the skewer, angle my jaw and grab a mouthful. One of my dining companions goes the other route, cuts hers politely in half and bites in.
The result? While both burgers largely hold their form, we each end up with a cascade of crumbs and a small dribble of sauce on our laps.
Brooklyn burger with bacon, smoked cheddar, tomato, pickles, onion and lettuce with thousand island dressing. Photo: Fiona Morris
Thank goodness for serviettes. And stain remover.
We're perched on stools at the counter of Batch Burgers and Espresso, which probably doesn't help us stay mess free. Although it's only 6.20pm on Saturday, the few tables at this Kirribilli eatery are full and take away orders fly out the door. The counter seating makes it hard for our small family group to converse, but lesson learned. This is not the kind of place to sit and linger.
Batch opened in July with a 1950’s diner style fit out, courtesy of Giant Design, complete with swivel down stools and a wrap around counter. It's the latest project of husband and wife team David and Nok Smith. David runs Batch No. 1 cafe in the CBD, and Nok a string of Thai restaurants including nearby Stir Crazy and Nok Nok Thai Eating House in Darling Harbour.
This new venture is all American fast food - hot dogs, pulled pork and fried chicken, as well as burgers. A distinctly Sydney twist is quality coffee, espresso and cold drip, from Campos beans. Burger purists may scoff at the seeded Brasserie Bread brioche bun, but it's a sturdy casing to hold the vertically challenging fillings, like my towering Spicy Mexican. We opt for the vego-version (a vegetable patty is available on all burgers). Topped with smoked cheddar, tomato, Spanish onion, pickled jalapenos, sour cream and hot sauce, it's a bit like eating a Tex Mex taco in a bun. I'm a fan. All that's missing is the guacamole. That turns up on the Californian, which also features watercress.
The cheeseburger is more manageable size-wise, but is a bit overwhelmed by the slightly sweet and buttery brioche. Bun aside, it's a faithful rendition; the meat patty has a nice bottom crust from the char-grill. The cheese is properly melted with lovely crusty bits. American mustard, a few slices of pickles, red onion and a squirt of tomato sauce top it off.
A summer salad of leafy greens topped with orange segments, feta, tomatoes, cucumber and avocado is nice, light accompaniment. But my pick of the sides is the grilled corn, rolled in chilli salt, with its smoky flavours.
Drinks continue the Americana theme, with ''sodas'' imported from the US, vanilla coke, root beer and the like. A chocolate and malt thick shake, served in a chilled milk bottle, veers towards cloyingly sweet but I persevere, enjoying the nostalgia hit from the malt. Dessert options include a whipped cream topped banana split and crusty, dense waffles with maple syrup.
There's a real sense of fun at Batch, from the fit out to the menu. It's hard not to leave with a smile on your dial.
American comfort food classics
Spicy Mexican burger, Californian burger, grilled corn, summer salad
- 02 9929 8883
- Cuisine - American (US)
- Prices - Burgers $11-$15, salads $5-$12, fried chicken $8, desserts $3-$10.
- Features - Licensed, BYO
- Owners - David and Nok Smith
- Cards accepted - Cash
- Opening Hours - Open daily, 7am to 10pm
- Author - Sarah McInerney