While Sydney’s been in lockdown, the city’s chefs have been playing fast and loose with their job titles. Fine-dining pastry chefs have launched Instagram bakeries, pub bistros have found fame with burger-kit deliveries, and wine-bar operators have spun off into taquerias. Bennelong’s Anna Moretti? She’s launched a burger pop-up at Bondi Liquor Co, a new distillery and bar that opened shortly before lockdown.
“The distillery had somewhat of a kitchen but the intention was never really to be a bar, let alone a food-oriented business,” Sean Royle, an ex-Bennelong restaurant manager who opened the pop-up with Moretti, tells Broadsheet. “With the lockdown closure happening so soon after opening there was not really an option to pivot to doing food, so the business was closed to retail completely. I proposed to the guys that they let me open a burger pop-up with one of the girls from Bennelong. They were totally on board.
“We are so used to working a lot and snap lockdowns had us left with nothing to do, but also with some uncertainty ... We just wanted to cook delicious food and who doesn’t love burgers?”
South African-born Moretti, who’s part of the kitchen brigade at Bennelong, moved to Australia two years ago after working in top restaurants in her home country. She and Royle met at Bennelong. A week after their first conversation about the pop-up, they launched.
It’s a short menu of four burgers: the Parmesan & Truffle (beef, truffle and tarragon mayo, parmesan, lettuce and tomato); Smoky Beef, which is topped with smoked-paprika mayo and cheddar; a classic American-style cheeseburger; and a vegan burger. They all come with fries.
“We aren't trying to reinvent the wheel and throw 1000 items on each burger,” says Royle. “We are keeping it simple, super fresh and really delicious. Flavours are bold and interesting but restrained. Sonoma buns, Field to Fork meat and local suppliers for fruit and veg.”
And because it’s serving food, Bondi Liquor Co can now also sell booze. While you’re picking up your burger, grab a Dirty Martini, the distillery’s take on the Bloody Mary, or a Summer Breeze (citrus gin, pink grapefruit and St Germain elderflower liqueur).
Bondi Liquor Co’s pop-up burger takeaway is open Thursday and Friday 4pm–9pm, and Saturday and Sunday 12pm–9pm. Order here.