The Pickle and The Patty is a compact burger joint three years in the making.

“We looked at heaps of properties and all of them ended up falling through,” says chef and co-owner Lyndal Keys.

Keys and business partner Laura Attard put the project on the backburner, saving their notes and tile samples in the hope that The Pickle and The Patty would one day become a reality.

“We got to a point where we were so frustrated, we were like ‘You know what? It’s going to happen, but we’re not going to push it,’” says Attard.

Instead, they opened Dr Sous, a food truck specialising in dishes cooked sous-vide, a technique whereby food is vacuum-sealed and slow-cooked in a water bath. The truck became a regular at the Ascot Lot, a 150-seat outdoor beer garden in a car park, surrounded by an ever-changing roster of food trucks. But when an old office space there became available, Keys and Attard knew it was time to resurrect their burger project.

They set to work converting the tiny space, doing much of the replastering, tiling and carpentry themselves. The resulting shop is small and boxy, consisting of a timber counter, a small kitchen, and a bench by the window with four stools (there’s plenty more seating outside). Melbourne artist Clare Brady created the black and white sketches of burger ingredients on the walls.

Free-range beef and bacon is from local butcher Fancy Meats, and milk buns are from Let’s-a-Loaf, further to the north-west. Pickles and condiments are made in-house, which Keys and Attard believe are the keys to a good burger – alongside simplicity.

“A burger should be bread, two different types of condiments, at least, and then pickles,” says Keys.

“When you eat a burger, you should appreciate everything that’s in it,” adds Attard. “It doesn’t need to go crazy; it just needs a nice balance.”

While some burgers, such as the Inbetweener – a riff on the classic Big Mac – are relatively straight up, other menu items are more indulgent. The Double Up and Down is a beef patty with bacon, double cheese, salami, jalapenos, relish, red onion and sour cream. The Pickle Monster makes good use of those housemade pickles, with pickle mayo, double beef patties, triple cheese, bacon, pickle relish, pickled onions and a good handful of dill pickles.

There are rotating vegan and vegetarian specials, too, and fries or onion rings on the side.

The Pickle and The Patty
448 Mt Alexander Road, Ascot Vale
0434 816 778

Wed & Thu 5pm–9pm
Fri to Sun 12pm–9pm

This article first appeared on Broadsheet on September 19, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.