I have a funny feeling niggling away at the back of my skull that Burgerlicious may have been the first King Street eatery that we ventured out to when we moved to the district all those aeons ago. My memories of that visit are unclear other than the choice was left to a couple of young Canberra-raised teenage girls and we ended up with burgers and fries. No real surprises there. So Burgerlicious is a definite stayer, outlasting many other food slingers on the strip. It looks and feels exactly the same as I remember it, just a bit more worn around the edges. In need of an injection of love and capital, just like the table we sat at, which had one leg projecting at an alarming angle, seemingly only held on by blue tack.
Tonight’s outing is a bit unusual because:
- It’s not Friday.
- It’s Halloween – although on King Street, really, what’s the difference?
- We are babysitting the Pancetta while the Stropette and the Stropolina worship at the glittering toenails of Beyoncé.
So it’s an early start and we are remarkable for our sobriety (responsible grandparenting 1.01 – don’t leave yourself open to an accusation of being drunk in charge of a toddler).
Burgerlicious has invested all its pretensions in its name. The room is just an unembellished cave, completely open at the street end, with tables along both walls, a counter across the back, and presumably a kitchen behind that. We choose a table near the entrance to the cave so that we can watch any Halloween hi-jinx on the street. The Pancetta is still a bit wary of us, wondering where the hell her mother and aunty have gone, and why Granma and Grandad have de-skyped themselves off the computer screen and into 3 dimensional touchy-feelyness. In order to allay her fears, it is important to feed her quickly and buy her goodwill with chips and ginger beer.
While Strop and the Pancetta venture to the back of the cave to do the ordering (Pancetta is in charge of holding the purse – how cute is that!!), I am left in charge of the bags and the stroller. Strop reckons she has just seen the chief suspect in the Good-Friday-Purse-Lightening-Affair, out on the footpath, so nothing is to be left unattended.
The order is a Jalapeso, a Bostino and a Cheeseburger, plus chips and ginger beers. While we are waiting for the burgers, Strop introduces the Pancetta to the joys of ginger beer and we watch the passing parade of tranny’s dressed as sexy-nurse-zombies. Just another weekday evening on King Street.
The burgers arrive on actual plates, and with chips (not fries) on the side. They are big lumps of deep-fried potato that you can sink your teeth into. Pancetta is a natural. She cottons onto the concept of chip eating so quickly that Strop and I have to quickly invent a new rule: One bite of chip / One bite of burger. She doesn’t cotton onto this quite as quickly. The burgers are delicious but messy to eat and we soon find ourselves running off for more napkins (Note to the Burgerlicious management: this is the kind of food that napkin dispensers on the table were invented for). I am very impressed with the Pancetta’s expertise with the napkin, dabbing and wiping her fingers like a professional. The girl is obviously very advanced.
The only other customer is an old guy sitting on the street wearing enormous DJ earphones and sporting an I ♡ Phoenix Arizona tee shirt. It is a pity that he doesn’t want to listen to the Burgerlicious soundrack because it is quite good, featuring a selection of hits by the late, lamented Chrissy Amphlett. When Cyndi Lauper comes on she is accompanied by the arrival of a giggle of ten year old girls, who look like they just want to have fun too. The Pancetta is smitten of course. She can see the future, and it is looking goood. While she goes down the back of the cave to stand in awe, watching the big girls having fun and eating burgers, Strop and I discuss burger ratings. Very nice but tending towards structural failure is the general conclusion. Probably better than Burger Fuel, but messy to eat (a six napkin effort), and not as good as the burgers at the Marly, which is still the one to beat.
The Cooper Hotel is next up so we will continue the Burger Wars there.