Inner-West Burger Review: Bonarchè Beats the Poo Outta Moo

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Have you heard the news?


The Prick is not saying that he and Mrs Prick may have been a little over-served and under-fed at their respective company drinks Friday night. No, no, no, not by any stretch of the imagination. But it can be reported that we did wake up on Saturday morning perhaps somewhat later than usual and, as we gazed at each other across the rumpled bedclothes, it was clear we were both craving the same thing.

A really good cheeseburger.

Thus Mrs Prick suggested a wander over to Norton Street to Bonarchè, the new burger joint we had been meaning to try since it appeared sometime in the middle of 2012 but somehow never managed to get around to. This was a good call.

Tucked into a small shopfront a pitching wedge up from the corner of Parramatta Road, Bonarchè is an early and welcome sign that as with Glebe Point Road and the Annandale village before it, Norton Street is on the cusp of undergoing some much-needed hipsto-gentrification. Leichhardt’s whole Little Italy routine ran its course ages ago. The “Italian Forum” is one of the most misconstrued developments the Prick has ever encountered, a cultural theme park in miniature surrounded by ‘90s-vintage apartment blocks. The suburb’s most famous restaurant is best known for its mention in corruption inquiries, while the new money coming into the neighbourhood wants more than processed pasta joints. Bonarchè is a hopeful sign more good stuff is on its way.

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That is a tasty burger!

The name Bonarchè is a portmanteau of the names of foodie partners Roger Bond (billed as the “the Butcher”) and Tracey Archer (“the Chef”), though it was a bit of a role reversal on our visit. Ms Archer was nowhere to be seen, having given Bond his license to grill (sorry, couldn’t resist). Their respective pedigrees, including stints at Meat and Livestock Australia, mean the pair knows their meat, and a sign warning that customers who want their burgers cooked well done had better damn well ask for them that way earns them a place in the Prick’s Pantheon of Freedom.

We ordered a pair of “American” burgers – cheese, dill pickles, tomato relish & Coney Island mustard – and added some bacon for good measure. What we got was simply brilliant: beautiful meat with a nice char and a little bit of pink, a great balance between sweet and savoury and salty flavours (the pickles are a deft touch). Bonarchè eschews the whole leaning-tower-of-burger phenomenon whereby buns as thick as paving bricks sandwich teetering piles of condiments. One need not have ­a jaw that dislocates like some Discovery Channel predator to hook into a Bonarchè burger, nor does one need to de- and re-construct the thing with a knife and fork first. This is a good development, here’s hoping it’s a trend.

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Leaning tower of burger at Moo: the Prick has driven Audis less over-engineered

Bonarchè certainly beats out other inner-west burger joints the Pricks have tried (and isn’t it ironic that an area with the highest quotient of vegans and veggos you’ll find this side of a maharishi’s ashram takes its ground cow so seriously?). While we have had many good experiences there, a recent venture to Newtown’s famous Moo Burger was, frankly, disappointing, with patties that were dry, over-worked, and packed too tight, accompanied by flavourless “cheesy bacon chips” which, like the Holy Roman Empire, were none of the above.

Back to Bonarchè, it is almost impossible to be critical of the place. One or two more crafty, less corporate beers on the drinks list might not go astray. I wonder if they’d do a double-double? Maybe if one asks nicely. Otherwise, an overwhelmingly welcome addition to the area.
Bonarche Burgers on Urbanspoon
Moo Gourmet Burgers on Urbanspoon

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12 Responses to Inner-West Burger Review: Bonarchè Beats the Poo Outta Moo

  1. Alan Anderson says:

    Sounds awesome. Will give it a go. However, I see from the menu that they have not addressed one of my principal Sudney burger complaints: the shortage of burgers with blue cheese. Those things were my staple diet in Manhattan. I would like to see a few more make their way across the Pacific.

  2. Anon says:

    Looks good – love a burger with pineapple. Beach and Beef is for me.

  3. Hoddle Boulevard says:

    Sounds good. Do they do an “Aussie” burger with beetroot? Or a school fete burger with coleslaw?

  4. Yeap, burgers must have beetroot, and must not have cheese. It’d be justifiable to go “ballistic” & wreck the joint were one to be served a burger sans beetroot.

    • Dr Duck says:

      I used to think that about beetroot, and still think it is OK. However, many Australian hamburgers have too much salad and not enough and poor quality meat. I don’t like the tower approach either. There is something to be said for the American burger with a preponderance of good meat with a nice char, well seasoned and pink in the middle, some onions , relish or crunchy dill pickle, cheese and bacon. It does not really need lettuce or tomato. What I really hate is pineapple on a burger. All that said, a burger with bacon, egg and cheese, with plenty of tabasco and some BBQ sauce, is pretty good for a hangover.

      • Too much salad? Hmmm, never thought of it. Long time since I’ve struck not enough meat. (Steak sorta has an inbuilt portion control. To get “not enough meat” would require using other than steak)
        A lettuce leaf (singular) is perfect for holding in more onions, a slice of beetroot, tomato (optional) and of course the steak, with an optional layer of avocado.
        Myself, I tend to get rather top heavy on the rump steak, often it is half an inch thick, inside a big thick burger bun.

        You can imagine my distress, after a lifetime of eating such burgers, to travel to North America (apparently the creation point of burgers) to discover they nibble on the puniest and most bite-sized of things.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You’re right about the ‘Italian Forum’, it’s obviously a failure, must ask my friends who I think were involved in the ‘planning stages’ of it. I’m sure they’re disappointed.

  6. Kevmaga says:

    Thanks for the review. I tried their burgers last night & they were just as you described them. Will be following your suggestions from now on!

  7. Anon says:

    Want blue cheese? You need to go to Perth of all places.

    http://flipsideburgers.com.au/

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  10. yeah mate. good stuff. Tried their bonarche and their chicken burgers and chips today. great feed and a large serve. Wouldn’t have discovered it if weren’t for twitter buzz. This needs more love.

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