Joel Bennetts is in a rush. It’s been two days since the opening of his new venue, Burger Park, an event that saw people queuing down Warners Avenue. As he talks to Broadsheet, he’s in the middle of preparing for what all signs suggest will be a big Saturday night.
It’s no wonder Bondi awaited Burger Park’s opening with great anticipation. Bennetts has again teamed up with Nathan Dalah and Nic Pestalozzi, his partners in Fish Shop, the popular neighbourhood haunt next door. Burgers might seem a far cry from Fish Shop’s model of serving a beautiful, fresh piece of fish with a choice of sides, but Bennetts insists the two aren’t that different.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than a few ingredients done well,” he says. “We’ve got this beautiful potato bun from Organic Bread Bar, the beef burger is made from grass-fed beef, there’s really fresh tomato and lettuce, pickles from Westmont. We do our chicken burger with organic chicken breast in panko breadcrumbs – with a few KFC-vibe secret ingredients – [and] we make our own chilli for the aioli.”
Save 20% when you buy two or more Broadsheet books. Order now to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas.SHOP NOW
The menu is succinct. There are four burgers – classic beef, fried chicken, grilled chicken and a crumbed barramundi with green goddess tartare – with add-ons like pickled pineapple, bacon and salt-baked beetroot. There’s also an off-menu double cheeseburger available on request.
“[The cheeseburger is] fun – if you do your homework, you can get it. It’s a double-smash burger with the same grass-fed beef patties plus cheddar cheese, but not the American style. We’ve got the same potato bun and a chunky burger sauce, onions and pickles. It’s everything you need.”
Bennetts is aware Sydney’s burger scene is well established, but he’s confident there’s space for Burger Park. “I think burger joints like Mary’s are good in their own right. We’re trying to do really good quality, fresh ingredients – the potato bun is a massive point of difference. We want people to feel good when they finish a meal.”
Sides and drinks at the beachside 30-seater are also extremely to-the-point. There are chips, naturally; a white-cabbage slaw with mint, parsley and lemon dressing; plus a salsa verde ranch. Aside from Coke, there are sodas by Strange Love and beers by Yulli’s and Grifter.
Set just across the laneway from Fish Shop, Burger Park’s bright space, with floor-to-ceiling windows, lets the open kitchen take centrestage. On the first Friday of the month, there’s live jazz. Bennetts seems at home here, despite his fine-dining roots. “A mate of mine came in this morning and said it’s a bit simple for where I’ve come from. But I’m cooking food I personally want to eat every single day.”