Our posting may be erratic, but absence makes the heart grow fatter.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Burger Bistro

This burger reviewing thing is usually pretty easy and falls into a series of well-trodden steps:
1. Rock up to a burger joint.
2. Choose a burger.
3.Get some chips.
4.Try to avoid the hoards of fans now clamouring for photographs.
5. Try the burger- it's good/bad.
6. Sign some boobs.
7. Try the chips, they're good/bad.
8. Sign more boobs
9. Leave the crowd with a pithy witticism like "I must get out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini."
10. The crowd don't even care that my clothes are dry- I transcend coherence
11. Arrange future appearance for boob-signing

But sometimes it becomes more difficult. Like at the Burger Bistro

The Place

The Burger Bistro is secreted away on the groovy Shafto Lane, opposite cheap Japanese and just a little down from the wonderful Generous Squire, where your burger journey should aim to start or finish.

We arrived on a very quiet Tuesday night, quiet even for midweek. From what I understand, this place is packed to the roof come lunchtime, so we appreciated the time and space to get comfortable and choose The Perfect Burger.

The interior is essentially like any other small cafe. A small blackboard out front advertises the use of New Norcia bread and Mt Barker Chicken. The interior is light and pleasant.

The Burger

This is where the reviewing gets difficult, as I alluded to earlier. Not only was the place fairly empty- denying me many a boob signing- but the burgers were damn good. Good enough to challenge.

For the prize.

Choosing was a five-minute prospect, poring over the glorious options available. Completely confounding expectations, I went with The Big Smoke, a beef patty with pancetta bacon, emmental cheese, garlic mayo (points for not calling it "aioli") and a smokey BBQ sauce. Now robbed of a bacon-based choice, Chris went into some kind of convulsion. I didn't really catch most of it as I was choosing a dipping sauce but it can't have lasted that long, as before I knew it he was back on his feet nursing a bitten tongue and soiled trousers. He went with the Classic Beef. Unfortunately, it wasn't until ordering that we noticed the Blue Steel hiding at the bottom of the menu- an angus beef patty topped with danish blue and all the trimmings. That's one for next time.

After barely five minutes, our choices were presented to us.

Bow chicka waw waaaaw

This is a very very good burger. Lets just say that right off the bat. It does what a good burger does- the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And when you eat it, it feels like it's giving your heart a hug.

The Big Smoke is a mighty thing to behold. Sandwiched in a sturdy yet soft New Norcia spelt sourdough bun was a lush, thick, moist beef patty. The salad base actually tasted like fresh salad. The pancetta was tasty but not overwhelming. The sauces provided harmony, the classic smokey BBQ sauce pairing with the bacon and beef perfectly, restrained from overwhelming the burger by the freshness of the vegetation.

But because it's a VVGB, it needs to be compared to the current gold-standard, the V Burger.

One area the Bistro beats V Burger hands-down is the bun. I was a bit dubious about all this New Norcia advertising. I mean, it's bread, big deal. Then you wrap your mouth around this perfect baked wonder. This should be the new standard for burger casing. It's crispy, it's soft, it's tough, it holds together, it adds to the burger's texture beautifully.

The things it does worse:


I'm going to reiterate at this point that this was a damn good burger, and any faults are minor points to separate it from other VVGB's. To keep these points brief (as they should be), I'll dot-point them.

- The burger is more about height than width. Impressive to look at, but it treads dangerously close to a knife-and-fork penalty. Everyone likes a big burger, but for user-friendliness I'd rather expand out than up.
- The patty is lush and thick, so already better than most. Unfortunately, it's a bit plain. The V-patty was spiced and tasty. This just tasted like mince.

The Chips

Bad points first:

Not hand-cut

Good points second:

Utterly and completely wonderful.

Perfectly fried.
Not too oily.
Not covered in chicken salt (riot against mandatory chicken salt!)
Just plain good.
Baby Jesus would like these chips.


Price-wise, about on a par with Grill'd. So you're looking at maybe a little over $20 for a burger, chips and drink. Value-wise, however, it's a different story.

Whereas Grill'd charged extra to 1. Make more money, 2. Pay their seventy-four staff working that night and 3. Make more money

...the Burger Bistro actually buy decent ingredients and employ staff old enough to drive.

But despite the quality of the grub, $8 for a bowl of chips seemed pretty damn steep. Too bad we were so deliriously happy.


A premium burger experience. Essentially a hair's breadth between this and  V Burger Bar.

Burger (/10) 8.5
Chips (/5) 4.5
Value (/5) 2.5
Total (/20) 15.5
I've rated this as an equal burger experience to the current ladder-leader. But just a touch more expensive. And that was enough to push it to second place.
By a hair.

Chris' View:

I am more than pleased to be sitting here writing this review. I never knew of The Burger Bistro until that fateful evening after my Doctors appointment at a near by bar tasting the latest offerings from a fine Australian Craft Brewer. While I have you here I just want it noted that the doctor and I are not just mono-faceted burg-o-philes, we enjoy the other fine things in life like a well made ale also.
Ok so the Doc had given me the all clear to leave the bar and then casually dropped that there was a Burger House, noted for its quality, in the not too distant vicinity that I would benefit from paying a visit too.

Who am I to argue? He's a respected man of science and I value his opinion on all things but one: the necessity of bacon to human kind.

Oh and while we're at it I just wanna know where all these boobs were to sign?! I mean I know that I was a little preoccupied looking for bacon on the menu but not enough to miss a boob signing.......I think. If I have been remiss with my boob signing duties I am willing to make up for it with a 2 boobs for the price of 1 signing deal, Hell I'll do them both for free.* [*Offer excludes Man Boobs.]

On with the burgers!

The Place

Who knew that Perth has still got these little gems hidden away in her? Tucked away in Shafto Lane, just up from my good Doctors rooms at the Generous Squire lies The Burger Bistro. Not much to look at, minimalist I would call it if I knew anything about design, and I don't but I'll say it anyway. If it was not for the chalkboard touting New Norcia bread and Mt Barker Chicken then you very well may miss it entirely, and that my friends would be a bad, bad thing.

Being a Tuesday it was fairly empty but that just meant we were better attended too by the friendly and informative staffer that was on.

The Burger

The choice for me was difficult to the point of causing a flash rage in me. Oh there were plenty of options, yes you underdeveloped pollutants of our gene pool were covered with your 2 choices of imitation play burgers, and there were burgers with witty names - Lamburgini- but no where was there any bacon to be seen. "Oh but Chris there is pancetta!" they cry, its not the same bloody thing and if you think it is you are not worthy of eating the flesh of the noble animal it comes from.
Serving a burger with a bacon substitute like getting the orphan boy to choose first for teams at the father/son footy match, cruel and emotionally damaging. 

I opted for the Classic Beef, the test of a good burger joint is 1) Bacon and 2) see how well they do the basics.

The food came as quickly as my bacon rage dissipated, and man nothing soothes a savage beast like a good burger, and this was a good burger.

It was a good looking burger, sitting there on the plate in its innocence with an underlying tone of seduction saying "come and get me, you know you want me." Oh how I wanted to stop eating it with my eyes and eat it with my mouth, so I did, I picked it up and took a bite. Not before appreciating how it felt in the hand, the burger had weight and substance, yet was not going to be difficult to handle, eating this baby was going to be a pleasure.

This was a good tasting burger indeed, it was the shape that let it down. I mean the ratios of that New Norcia bread to filling were awesome, not too much excess bun to eat through to get to the patty, but it was a tall burger, a fault that all too many places have. Man is not a serpent and thus food height is a limiting factor here people, too tall = not getting into the mouthy. Which is the whole point!

I would personally like to thank Little Baby Jeebus for that bun, it is the single best burger bun I have ever eaten, it was all in all a pretty stand-up burger, but the bun made it. It had great texture, there was not too much or too little of it and it stayed intact for the duration of the whole burger. Full points! The patty and trimmings were up to scratch but I still feel that V has them on those elements. Especially the bacon.

A little more seasoning or some herbs or spices would bring that patty up to the mark in no time, it was a little to plain mince for my liking, but cooked and presented beautifully.

The Chips

Again the chips were not stand-out but just bulk standard frozen chips cooked well, golden and not greasy, but they would want to be at $8 per serve! Good chips but not cool to do that in the price department people.


Ok bang for your buck is around the Grill'd end of town, but far and away a hell of a lot better burger for your money. Not much change out of $25 for the Burger, chips and a drink Holy Trinity.
Worth it, but not an everyday thing.


I will be back for the Blue Steel, but V is still clinging to top spot on my ladder

Burger (/10) 8.5
Chips (/5) 3.5
Value (/5) 2.5
Total (/20) 14.5

Next Time
We promised last time to hit Jus Burger but we never quite made it. I don't think we can continue our odyssey until we hit the highest-rated burger palace in WA.
The Burger Bistro can be found on Shafto Lane in Perth City.

Burger Bistro on Urbanspoon


  1. Cheers fellas

    Very nice compliments in there for us and our team. Just a quickie tho, we do sides a chips for $2.80 as opposed to the $8 offering. :)

    Hope to see you guys again soon... booze should be a welcome addition to the menu in the near future.

    Giddy up
    The Burger Bistro crew

  2. Thanks for reading guys. Like you, we love the feedback.

    You're right, it's worth mentioning the side chips option. We shared an $8 bowl between the three of us so the price worked out much the same.

    Keep up the great work. We'll definitely be back.