Jazz curling from the speakers. Flickering neon signage. Red and white chequered tablecloths. A menu packed with pop-cultural references. Hollywood and Vine has the American diner vibe tastefully down pat.

Owner and chef, Chris Cranswick-Smith saw the opportunity to transform the front terrace of his Spanish tapas restaurant, Emmilou, into a pop-up burger joint during the day. “I had some time off to think about the best way to maximise the fantastic space we have here at Emmilou. I came up with the idea of a pop-up burger joint and put it to my staff, who were then instrumental in the concept,” he says. The overall concept was headed by bar manager, Alex Carter.

Minimalism seems to be the key for successful pop-ups. Hollywood and Vine offers five burgers at $10 each, sides at $5 and dessert options at $8. “Simple, precise and direct,” says Cranswick-Smith. In addition, there’s a succinct list of ‘Cranswick’ wines and popular American beers Brooklyn Lager and Pabst Blue Ribbon to choose from. With a referential nod to Pulp Fiction, there’s also a $5 shake topped with cream and a cherry.

The crux of this pop-up joint is definitely the burgers. The Royale with Cheese (there’s that Pulp Fiction nod again) combines a soft, Brasserie Bread burger bun, tender beef patty, three types of melted cheese, house-made pickles and a generous dose of tomato chutney.

Other fillings include 16-hour pork belly, slow-cooked spiced lamb, a crab cake; and for the vegetarians, a sweet potato patty with chickpeas, cumin and cucumber yoghurt. Each burger draws its inspiration and name from Americana/movie themes – The Big Pig, Silence of the Lamb Burger, The Krabby Patty and The Lincoln. “We will be adding to them with some specials over time such as To Kale a Mockingbird (chicken and crisp kale burger with spicy mayo),” hints Cranswick- Smith.

The cob o’ corn with truffle butter provides a tasty accompaniment, as does a cup of fries, some Cajun fried chicken, or slaw. It’s a refreshingly no-fuss type of menu that manages to provide just the right amount of variety.

The plan is to operate Hollywood and Vine over summer and until the end of January. However, this Surry Hills burger joint is proving to be a hit, and the idea of permanence could well be on the cards.

Hollywood and Vine
413 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9360 6991

Mon-Fri 11am-4pm