Paul's Famous Hamburgers

12 Princes Highway, Sylvania, NSW

Here forever: The hamburgers are famous for good reason.
Here forever: The hamburgers are famous for good reason. Photo: Fiona Morris

Angie Schiavone

It seems as though every other day a new must-try burger hits Sydney. Chugging along in the background all the while is Paul's Famous Hamburgers - a Sylvania institution and the latest inductee into the Good Food Under $30 Hall of Fame.

Paul's has been around for close to forever, opening its doors in the same year Slim Dusty's Pub With No Beer became the first Aussie single to go gold. Fast-forward 57 years and the queue out the door at Paul's suggests while the masses might not be quite as passionate about country music, their love of a good burger has remained.

So what's on the menu? Burgers as old school-Oz as Slim himself, hot chips, milkshakes (16 flavours to choose from) and Paul's signature pulpy pineapple drink.

More than a mouthful: Paul's works burger.
More than a mouthful: Paul's works burger. Photo: Fiona Morris

The standard plain burger comes on a soft, seeded bun - toasted on the inside, keeping sogginess at bay - filled with a beef patty, lettuce, tomato, raw onion and tomato sauce. From there you can add and change things to taste.

Our pick is to add beetroot and have the onion cooked (hoorah - no lingering onion aftertaste). It's simple and satisfying, far from the fancy wagyu/brioche breed of burger and well above the fall-apart greasy spoon special.

Chicken burgers come with grilled breast fillet and ''special sauce'', a mayo, mustard, garlic mix, and the chilli chicken number has enough kick that not sharing with the kids will seem responsible rather than greedy. But do make sure you sample the kids' beef burger with cheese, tomato sauce and nothing else - it's sweet and all glued together with melted cheese in an enjoyably mono-textured way.

Paul?s signature pulpy pineapple drink: a Sylvania institution.
Paul's signature pulpy pineapple drink: a Sylvania institution. Photo: Fiona Morris

Our peanut butter crunch milkshake wasn't very well mixed and a bit of a let-down. The sweet, refreshing pineapple crush, however, is like liquid sunshine.

Paul's has changed owners since first opening but not a whole lot else. It's a fixture on the south side of Tom Ugly's bridge, with a roadside seating area that's always chockers - the overspill happily making their way down the hill for a picnic by the Georges River.

Seagulls gather, hoping for a few stray chips from the waterside picnickers. They come close as a couple of kids who've had their fill slot a chicken-salted spud or two between their toes, daring the birds to take the bait. It's a strangely entertaining scene and, alongside a Paul's feast, might just be the inspiration for the next big Aussie country music hit.

Do … skip the roadside tables and eat down by the water.

Don't … worry about the queue, the service is swift.

Dish … a burger, as you like it, and pineapple crush to drink.

Vibe … old-school takeaway, all the way.

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12 Princes Highway, Sylvania, NSW

  • Cuisine - Modern Australian
  • Prices - Burgers $5.30-$9.90, Chips $3.80-$4.80, Milkshakes $4.90-$5.50
  • Features - Cheap and cheerful, Family friendly
  • Opening Hours - Weds-Fri 11.30am-9pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am-8pm
  • Author - Angie Schiavone
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14 comments so far

  • Though I'm reluctant to deride what is worthy business I simply don't understand the fuss around Pauls burgers. I was born at Caringbah hospital in 1961 and have lived in the area most of my life. Being a lover of a good burger I've tried most in the area and more than once. Pauls burgers are fresh and honest, no doubt about that. But they are also unimaginative and rather bland. Its an old-skool milk-bar style burger - if thats what you want. There's better options available though I will refrain from references as I don't want to be accused of manipulative marketing.

    Commenter
    Happy Budgie
    Location
    Miranda, Sydney
    Date and time
    February 25, 2014, 9:16AM
    • A fresh and honest old-skool milk-bar style burger for less than $10 vs a Wagyu with Gruyere cheese on a brioche bun for $20... I know which one I want

      Commenter
      Each to their own
      Location
      Date and time
      February 25, 2014, 11:27AM
    • @Happy Budgie

      I agree. I think the hype far exceeds the reality of Paul's, which is a good patty let down by an average bun, fillings and sides.

      It's not bad by any stretch - I went there many times while I was a Shire local but now that I'm out of the area I certainly wouldn't go out of my way for it (unlike, say, the fish & chips place on Flora St Sutherland to which I make a regular pilgrimage).

      Commenter
      Spex
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      February 25, 2014, 12:31PM
    • I get the feeling no one really actually read the article. This place is as Aussie as it comes, sure not the greatest burgers patty.

      Unimaginative? Where else in the area can you get all the types of sauces for your fries and burgers, have an easy menu board to decide on fillings, pinapple drink and the best shakes getting around.

      This place is one of the reasons Chur Burger is better.

      Whopper tastes better, who said that? I'll keep my money in oz thank you.

      Every joint in Sydney always over cooks their eggs. Not a problem here. Cooked to order.

      Commenter
      havachat
      Location
      Date and time
      February 27, 2014, 1:36PM
  • And skip the one at Engadine, despite the name, it is not the same...

    Commenter
    J
    Location
    Date and time
    February 25, 2014, 9:39AM
  • Hopefully patrons will have the pleasure of dining with Noeline Baker and Laurie Donaher!

    Commenter
    bob yock
    Location
    sydney
    Date and time
    February 25, 2014, 9:58AM
  • Agreed with all the sentiments from Happy Budgie. As a local, I've eaten more than my fair share of Paul's Burgers. They're OK, but far from great. Certainly not worthy of all the hoopla. The recently departed Ace Chickens at Kareela, was vastly superior.

    By all means, Happy Budgie, enlighten a local.

    Commenter
    Zaphod
    Location
    Oyster Bay
    Date and time
    February 25, 2014, 10:33AM
  • It's an institution just like Harry's but just like Harry's pies and hot dogs the burgers are average in my opinion.

    Commenter
    Steve
    Location
    Date and time
    February 25, 2014, 12:42PM
  • Here we go, this place again. The darling of the burger world. I can't think why. Sure, it's been around forever, but the burgers are seriously ordinary. Actually, I would say a touch below ordinary. That pineapple drink is actually terrible! So sweet, cloyingly so.

    It's ok goodfood, you can let go of the past and embrace these funky new burger joints that are actually doing good burgers.

    Commenter
    Kristy
    Location
    Date and time
    February 25, 2014, 3:20PM
  • I was going to comment, but everything I was going to say has already been said. Don't waste your time and money. A Whopper tastes better imho.

    Commenter
    GavinNQ
    Location
    Date and time
    February 25, 2014, 4:01PM

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