78 Parramatta Rd Lidcombe, NSW 2141
|Opening hours||Open Mon-Sun, 6pm-2am.|
|Features||Lunch specials, Cheap Eats|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
|Phone||0414 081 614|
Sydney hit peak cheeseburger a couple of years ago, our love affair with the American diner staple blossoming into an abusive relationship over the last year, with a new burger joint popping up next door to an old one every week. The burgers themselves have increased in size, clogging both our arteries and our Instagram feeds with tall towers of beef, cheese and obnoxious beer pairings. I've had enough cheeseburgers to last a lifetime, but I still feel like eating more. Especially after midnight on a Saturday night.
Chubby Buns Burgers is a food truck that's been setting up camp at night on top of a public weigh-bridge on Parramatta Road in Lidcombe. It's a ghost town in terms of anything open past 6pm for kilometres on either side of the truck, which is open from 6pm-2am every night of the week. Driving through Lidcombe after midnight, Chubby Buns sticks out like a genuine oasis of neon lights and charcoal smoke billowing out over the plastic tables and chairs full of people tucking into burgers and fries. It's an image we're used to seeing in tourism videos for makeshift late-night dining in Los Angeles or Thailand, but in Sydney's current nanny state it feels like an anomaly.
Owner and head chef Joey Yilmaz moved his truck to its current location two months ago after a few nights of testing his menu at Flemington Markets. "It's not often that someone craves a burger at midnight and can actually have it," says Joey of his decision to open late. "We give quality burgers at pretty reasonable prices so giving a decent feed rather than the standard take-out everybody grabs late at nights is what we love."
Pretty reasonable is an understatement. The most expensive burger on the menu, laminated and Blu-Tacked to the front of the truck, is $12. But even the most inebriated diner would be more than satisfied with the "Signature Chubby", with beef, cheese, onions, lettuce, sauce and a smoked beef rasher (Chubby Buns is 100 per cent halal) – which sets you back just eight bucks, making this one of the cheapest burgers you'll find in Sydney, devoid of any "late night tax" whatsoever.
Another point of difference is the charcoal grill. You can smell the burgers from hundreds of metres away as they slowly sizzle over the coals.
"Real lumpwood charcoal gives the burger a unique taste" explains Joey. "It's different to everyone else and also the aroma that it lets off around the place is just simply mouthwatering."
Is Chubby Buns Burgers worth travelling to if you live on the other side of the city? Maybe. Should a burger truck that serves up an affordable slice of night culture to a diverse crowd of diners be celebrated? Absolutely.