Small, squishy, umami – these are the three adjectives Raph Rashid is gunning for at Beatbox Kitchen, his new burger joint on the corner of Sydney Road and Albion Street in Brunswick.
Like Juanita Peaches, his existing burger spot nearby, the setup is disarmingly simple. One long, bare white room, some plants and a table-tennis table. There are two places to sit: picnic tables, or on a stool at the gleaming stainless steel bar, where you can banter with the cooks.
Beatbox trucks have been cruising around Melbourne since 2009. The 170-gram, grass-fed burgers have long been a reliable hunger-buster at festivals such as Meredith, where the very first truck made its debut.
The shop serves a slightly different purpose. Yes, you can still get the substantial Raph, Chilly Billy and Shroom burgers that Beatbox is known for. But now there are two new dinner-roll-sized burgers priced at $6 apiece. In a town where coffee is steadily marching towards the $4.50 mark, you can’t afford not to eat one.
“I like that idea that you could sit up in the afternoon, have one burger and it wouldn’t ruin your dinner, you know?” Rashid says. It’s also a great option for young kids (he has two).
True to the mission statement, both new burgers are squishy and umami. Brioche and ketchup have no friends here.
The Cheeseburger (with pickles and onions) is a lighter version of the buttery, shallot-packed “once-a-month” cheeseburger at Juanita Peaches. It – and the two other beef burgers – use halal mince in deference to the local Islamic community.
Rashid and chef Ed Mason spent 12 months developing the Veg Supreme (pickles, onion, lettuce). The patty’s exact ingredients are “a bit of a secret”, but we know it contains legumes and vegetables cooked to varying degrees to mix up the texture. Rashid went vegetarian for an entire month to make sure his palate was up to scratch. The patties are cooked on a separate grill to avoid cross-contamination.
Lettuce, tomatoes and jalapeños can be had for free in any burger, and there are fries or steamed green beans on the side. Drinks include cans of Coke, Rockies sodas (Rashid’s own brand) and classic milkshakes. “If beers come into it later on, then they will,” Rashid says. “But Beatbox has never really been about the alcohol.”
682 Sydney Road, Brunswick
Mon to Sun 11.30am–9pm