There is nothing simple about making a great burger. Anyone who makes one for themselves at home knows you keep adding, and adding and adding until you are happy.
Newcastle food establishments are still trying to perfect this simple meal. And thank goodness for that, because we’re enjoying every moment of their efforts.
Here’s Daniel Honan’s top 10 burgers in the Hunter and Newcastle. Cast your vote at the bottom of the list.
Read more than a dozen Best 10 lists compiled by Newcastle Herald food writers, and 60 succinct restaurant reviews in this Saturday’s special edition edition of the Weekender, The Food Issue.
1. Bistro Lowlands
Best burgers in Newcastle; The Royal with Cheese is worthy of its own scene in a Tarantino flick, the O-Fishl is legit delicious, the Veggie burger elicits a smug, self-satisfied smile, every time, and the Firebird is a bona fide blessing of buttermilk fried bird soaked in Huy Fong's hot sauce.
2. Newy Burger Co.
Feel your arteries squeal and your taste buds rejoice as melting cheddar cheese drips over a beefy patty stacked fat with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle, aioli, house made ketchup and American mustard, and listen as live rock and roll blasts on in the background at the Cambridge Hotel.
3. Maryville Tavern
Is this a meatball on a burger which I see before me? Yes, yes it is, and yes it is 'amazeballs'... Or, if you prefer, ditch the soliloquy and try the royal burger with cheese; thick beef patty, yummy pickles and ketchup on a toasty brioche bun served with shoestring fries. Mmm-hmmm.
4. Lucky Country
Branded buns and home of Newy's tastiest burg for the herbivores, for sure... Corn, zucchini and black bean is battered together to make a fritter that won't waste your time when combined with spinach and beetroot relish and served with thick cut fries.
5. Tuk Tuk Burgers, Pokolbin
Damn delicious burgers made without compromise and a cheeky demeanor. Get thee beyond the city walls and out to the Valley, grab a glass of fine Hunter wine in one hand and an inspired Umami Beef Burger in the other, and treat yourself to a flavoursome big day out.
6. Swell at Bar Beach
Push a fat burger into your face while you stare out across two shades of blue and watch the beautiful people play between the sun and the sand, smile and feel sorry for them as the flavour of melted cheese and a couple of crunchy schnitty's drips down both sides of your face.
7. The Ritz Cafe
Voted by locals, who should be in the know, as the best burgers in town. Controversial? Well, who are we to disagree? A genuine Adamstown icon that serves up time-honoured and traditional take-away burgers that you'll feel like getting dressed up for.
8. Honeysuckle Hotel
There's something about a burger and a Newcastle sunset that makes this place a top spot for chowing down on a stack of flattened proteins, cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato doused in sauce, aioli, or both, all spilling out from between two halves of a toasted, crusty bun.
9. The Grill (Wests)
Flame grilled flesh served fresh, the way famished Jack would want, except for the pork and the fish and the kidney bean patty. The Victorian inspired 'South of the Border' is the way forward here; spiced and battered chicken breast, grilled capsicum, salsa, smashed avo, etc. etc. Yum!
10. Tenambit Takeaway
Who needs a graphic designer to pretty up the menu when you're hamburgers are this good? The finest Aussie take-away this side of the Hunter River; soft buns, flat patties, a runny egg, shredded lettuce, onion and tomato, add a pineapple too, if you're into that sort of thing.