"I named one of the crocs Moonstar and I was talking to him from the fence and I said ‘oh you’re Moonstar, you belong to the moon and the stars because you’re a prehistoric creature and animal."
- That's an actual quote from Michael, describing the foreplay leading to the mounting.
Following a brief but satisfying ride, cut short by the croc BITING A CHUNK OUT OF HIS LEG, Mighty Newman then somehow scaled the fence again. And went to the pub.
We are obviously not worthy to compare ourselves to such a man, but the spirit of Michael Newman is in every chapter of our Odyssey. We'd like to think that there's a bit of Michael Newman in all of us. And in the crocodile.
But on with the review.
The wonderful thing about sampling burgers from all over Perth is seeing so many approaches to interpreting a staple. Or what has become a staple for us, anyway. For some, like Alfred's, it's all about giving a cheap, hearty feed. For The Burger Bistro, Jus and V Burgers it's about top quality ingredients and pushing the boundaries with different combinations of flavours. For Grill'd and FAB, it's obviously all about...
But what if there was a place like Alfred's, but they hand-made their patties with love? What if there was a Jus, a Bistro, a V but without the pretension or price-tag? What if there was a Grill'd or a FAB... but it was good?
This is a story of one man. And his discovery of such a burger.
And of another man, who also made the discovery too, as well.
Nestled amongst the winding suburban streets of Claremont, Bilby's isn't the type of place you end up at unless you're a local or you're looking for it. The fast-food veneer of the front shop shouldn't put you off- to the side is a very pleasant leafy outdoor area to enjoy your meal. A burger garden, if you will.
And to be honest, the whole place just feels laid-back. You're not on a busy shopping strip. There is no foot traffic passing by. Sounds of traffic are distant. And you don't need to queue for 30 minutes to get in. All that serenity is bound to aid digestion.
To be fair, Bilby's was extra serene when Chris and I approached it at lunchtime on a Thursday- hardly peak hour in suburban Claremont. Nonetheless we shared our peaceful outdoor surrounds with five or six other customers making the trip for burger goodness. Staff were very friendly and happy to make recommendations for me, and additions of extra cheese and bacon for Chris.
Too often when perusing the menu at the fine dining establishments we frequent, the listings tend to be heavy on "interesting," but not too heavy on "I actually want to eat that." It's a blessing then, that Bilby's stack their menu with some seriously tempting choices.
From the "Bobby Dazzler" with it's native peppercorn sauce, to the "Metro" with caramelised onion and pesto and the "Brain Wave" with American mustard and pickles, we were left pondering over the choices for a good while. Options extend to fish, chicken, and even a whole grilled field mushroom, but we all know that only communists eat those burgers. It would have been nice to try one of the steak burgers (they look AWESOME), but as they don't qualify as a true burger under Odyssey Rules, we will have to return another time.
After long deliberation, I finally settled on the Metro, while Chris bastardised one of the burgers by taking something off and adding cheese and bacon... I don't know what it started off as (I'll let him tell it) but it looked pretty awesome by the end.
Was a damn good burger.
The proportions were perfect. Not too tall, not too wide, not too small.
The bun is wonderful, and the legend that has built up around their bread from is truly well-deserved. To this point, the best buns we've experienced have been sourdough. This is something altogether different, but has a lovely texture and holds it all together extremely well.
The pesto and caramelised onions were a treat. Not overwhelming the other flavours of the burger, they added spice and tang to the melange on flavour on show.
But the star of the burger was the patty. Rich, moist, well-flavoured. Equal to just about everything that has come before it, probably paling in comparison only to the V Burger patty. This is what all burger beef should be and I would heartily recommend these burgers on the strength of that patty alone.
Unfortunately, sending the burger somewhat out of balance was the impressive bush of lettuce atop the burger. It was a small point, but when everything else was so good it didn't need so much bitter green to dampen everything else down. A little less would have been appreciated.
The only part of the meal that didn't really shine. Just your basic steak-cut chips lightly salted. The aioli
This is where Bilby's comes into it's own and makes you question why other burger places charge like they do. My Metro burger weighed in at $9.70, which is about average across the range. With chips and a drink, the meal came to $13.90. That's almost $10 less than you'll pay for the same at FAB. At Bilby's you are paying far less for quality product than at other burger joints. It's as simple as that.
A tasty, hearty, healthy (lean beef patties- GRILL'D TAKE NOTE- this is how you do them), and great value meal that we will be returning to many times. The burgers, whilst lacking some of the sophistication of the very best, are nonetheless absolutely premium. And as I said earlier, the amazing value makes it a place you can return to again.. and again.. and again.
Burger (/10) 8
Chips (/5) 2.5
Value (/5) 5
Overall (/20) 15.5
I suppose the animal theme is quite relevant on this one as this time we were hunting Bilby's! A quite, shy, out of the way burger joint in the Claremont suburbs, that for me had a mystery much like the fabled Bunyip and also why anyone would consider a bacon free burger a real burger.
I had herd of Bilby's, I know people who have eaten there and bragged of its awesomeness but I have never had the pleasure, possibly because of its out of the way location and gentlemanly business hours, anyway we got there on a relaxed mid week afternoon and took a moment to browse the menu.
From the street Bilby's looks small and unassuming, Its on a quiet suburban road snuggly amongst typical row of small shops, blink and you'll miss it!
There was a lovely addition to the usual counter and bar type seating a lovely little courtyard or to steal a phrase that I have come to love a "Burger Garden," I want those TV knobends that come in and "blitz" your crap pile back yard into an amazing oasis or retreat to hit my joint and deck me out with a full blown "Burger Garden" that would be sweet!
We opted to dine in and the location added to the experience I think, no traffic or huge cues of hungry burger junkies waiting for their hit, just peaceful leafy greenness in which to contemplate your menu choice.
We were spoiled for choice that day my friends, there were many truly delicious burgers on that menu, but none that had the right combo for me......I won't say it but you regulars should know what I'm on about. This however was not to be a disappointment for me, much rather a tip of the cap to Bilby's. The young burger wench at the counter gladly let me take a normal menu burger and, some say "bastardize" but I say "pimp" or add "bling" to it like the kids nowadays say. I took a regular Bobby Dazzler (I like the sound of a peppered beef patty) and got rid of the fungi and added the sacred pig flesh and cheese to make the "Bobby Dazzler Burger Maxx 5000," yet to be an official burger but I think with time it will catch on.
I will be honest and say I was expecting a lot from this burger, people had "bigged it up" (see I'm down with the lingo) and I needed it to be all that they had made it out to be on the back of the FAB incident.
Boy was it! The buxom burger wench delivered the bounty to us promptly and right from when I first clapped eyes on it I was taken by it. This burger on its whole grain roll looked the part, not too tall, all the ingredients present, or not depending on how you asked for it, and all in good proportion. A nice side not was that it came out on a plate with a serviette and a minty for after - kudos to you Bilby's!
The first bite was the nailer, the patty was moist and flavorsome, no one topping out competed the other for your attention, the all worked together as a team to pleasure your taste buds. This burger was magnificent!
Working class frozen chips cooked well, lightly salted, not bad aioli either. I know the Doc was not a fan but I was rather happy with them.
This much pleasure for that much money was a crime, my burger came in at a little over $10, due to the addition of the bacon and cheese, but even then that is almost 50% cheaper that other burgers we have sampled and they did not skimp on the size or quality of produce, why the hell are the other jokers shafting us like this?
Awesome, wish they were open late or had an outlet near me! Great value, great burger
Burger (/10) 8
Chips (/5) 3.5
Value (/5) 5
Overall (/20) 16.5
We will be hitting Flipside. Almost certainly. We've been promising for awhile now, so we probably should. But we're also nearing a return to Jus. That might be interesting. Stay tuned...
Bilby's can be found at 64 Davies Rd, Claremont WA