12 Princes Highway Sylvania, NSW 2224
|Opening hours||Weds-Fri 11.30am-9pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am-8pm|
|Features||Cheap Eats, Family friendly|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
|Phone||02 9522 5632|
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.
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.
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.