Step into hip. Because this is one of those hot places of the moment. It’s been much lauded in the press, and so much that I’ve been spotting those ‘this restaurant is too popular so I’m going to go against the flow and trash it’ reviews. A hugely popular, bustling and noisy burger place that seats a surprising number of people, and gets people in and out pretty quickly too, as you order at the counter and food comes up quick too. It’s not a place to linger.
I had to search this morning to find out where the word ‘Chur’ comes from and it seems a bit of Kiwi slang from founder Warren Turnbull’s homeland. Cheers. Choice. Thanks. It’s an all purpose Kiwi-ism, and considering how many Kiwis live in Sydney, I’m surprised that none of my circle knew what Chur was in the first place. Perhaps it’s just too confusing that it’s pronounced the same way Australians pronounce ‘Cher’. Check out an amusing investigation into the word here.
I think I’m most interested in how it represents the changes in Sydney’s food scene. I loved the two or three times I went to Turnbull’s old restaurant Assiette in the same location. Quiet, classy and pricey, it was an inventive restaurant with a degustation menu and white tablecloths and perfect formal table service. But Sydney’s moved towards upmarket pub food and sharing plates and… modern American (burgers and sliders and rock music) and Latin American food (tacos and grilled meats and ceviche). How times have changed, and how appropriate that a literal fire allowed Chur Burger to rise from the ashes of Assiette in an act of reinvention and transformation.
Anyways… the food. Having been there about three times in the last few weeks, I think I’m qualified to say that I think the burgers are just fine. The pulled pork does have a wow factor, and the brioche bun is beautiful and soft and slightly sweet. But I didn’t find the regular burger or the chick pea burger anything special. I’ve tried both versions of the fries, plain and sweet potato, and these aren’t too my taste, in a style not particularly crispy. When at lunch, the choices are burger and fries, and I don’t like the fries, this isn’t ‘must’ eating.
Dinner was more successful. At that time, they add 7 snacks, $10 each – we tried the pickled prawns – as well as a few bigger dishes and desserts which all look to be examples of fast, fun and inexpensive food, designed and cooked by a top team of chefs. I think I’ll take a break for a while, and then head back for dinner some time, skip the burgers and fries and graze the rest of the menu.
But for the atmosphere and vibe, and see what Sydney is excited by, I would recommend a visit. Bloggers, Asians and Asian bloggers taking photos of food and selfies, Surry Hills hipsters and young foodies: it’s really a scene. And if you like it enough, you can try to work chur into your vocabulary.