When Soul Burger owner Amit Tewari came up with "The Plantbased Disgrace", it wasn't meant to feature on his menu – it was just a punchline he hoped to pull on April 1. However, the prank has ended up being one of his bestselling items.
"It was an April Fool's Joke gone bad," he says. "My graphic designer and I thought it would be a great idea to take the piss out of the emerging trend of hipster burgers, so we Photoshopped a made-up burger with our entire menu on it for our monthly 'Burger of the Month' special.
"We ended up actually putting it on the menu because of the sheer amount of requests. We had people telling us they were booking tickets to Sydney to try the burger, so they needed to know if it was real."
"The Plantbased Disgrace" is not for the diet-conscious – or anyone worried about getting lockjaw or making a table-wide mess. It's a literal balancing act. A case of burger Jenga.
The Randwick eatery's vegan fillings – including plant-based sausage, chicken schnitzel, beef patty, battered fish, cheese and herbed mayonnaise, plus field mushroom, falafel, roasted peppers, pineapple, tomato and lettuce – are all carefully stacked on top of a choc-coconut milkshake, with two syringes of ketchup and mustard-aioli plunged in for dramatic effect and structural support.
"We make everything as per usual, but it's the balancing act that's difficult," says Tewari. "We put two spikes through the burgers to hold them up, with straws that go through the syringes to hold them up. We make sure the coconut shake doesn't actually touch the bread that's on top of it either. It's harder than it looks."
So, have people actually been eating them in store?
"It's our most popular burger this month and surprisingly the reviews have been pretty great," he says. "I knew it would be popular because of the sheer demand, but I wasn't sure how people would take to it. It costs $35 – not bad for almost our entire menu on a plate. It'll be on the menu until the end of April - after which we'll have a new 'Burger of the Month'."
Maybe that next creation will inspire people to board a plane to try it, too.
49 Perouse Road, Randwick, 02 9398 7496, soulburger.com.au