Today’s the first day of Loaded by BL, the put-whatever-you-want-on-whatever-you-want fast food bar by the team behind Bar Luca. The guy next to us has a hamburger with a hotdog in it. It’s leaking cheese and gravy and looks as structurally unsound as it is oddly appealing. On our other side someone is forking in a mess of tater tots, popcorn chicken and cheese. He seems to be enjoying it. In front of us there’s a menu with 74 different options; after agonising over it we choose five different combinations. Here’s our review of what we ordered.

Hamburger with an extra smashed patty, pickles, lettuce and bacon – $14
After the initial phase of experimentation, this is probably what most orders will look like. The burger is loyal to the BL model – salty, juicy and appropriately sloppy. Like most burgers in Sydney these days, it’s fundamentally American and reminiscent of many of the USA’s fast-food chains. The pickles, bacon and lettuce all add texture and act as a good foil to the intensity of a double-patty burger.

Tater tots with chorizo, smoky barbeque sauce, liquid cheese, chilli flakes and parsley – $8
Tater tots (also called potato gems) are easy to enjoy; they’d go well with anything. As for this specific combo – it’s generally good. We’re unsure about the barbeque sauce, it’s a bit sweet when what we want is raw grease appeal. The liquid cheese is probably a better option than others (there’s also scorched American cheese, cheese curds, grated Mexican cheese and parmesan) because it drips down through each layer. The chorizo is a great addition, but it’s cut too large to get a taste of it with every mouthful. The parsley contributes nothing, it’s simply too rich and salty for herbs to be relevant here.

Sweet potato fries with bacon jam, pickled sport peppers, liquid cheese, chimichurri and shallots
Not great. The sweet potato fries just don’t provide the requisite level of savouriness. If it was just bacon jam, peppers, cheese and chimichurri it’d be brilliant. We imagine bacon jam will be a worthy addition to just about everything.

Mac’n’cheese with fries, corn chips, popcorn chicken, kimchi, cheese curds, peanut butter, roasted peanuts and Sriracha
The ingredients aren’t evenly distributed on the mac’n’cheese, so each mouthful has a wildly different group of things in it. Some mouthfuls are surprising good (in a greasy, hangover-food kind of way) while others are horrific. Texturally it’s good, and with the corn chips it’s quite fun to eat, but there are some unavoidably heinous bites; the kimchi and cheese curds are the main culprits – they only add wetness, a rubber texture and sourness to a dish of otherwise crispy, salty things (plus peanut butter). The peanut butter, mac’n’cheese and popcorn chicken combo is oddly good. We’d consider getting that again, without everything else.

Hotdog with barbeque-pit beans, liquid cheese, salsa verde and chilli
It was too big to be easy to eat but it tastes like a good hotdog. The sausage was delicious, the bun soft, the toppings worked well together.

Loaded by BL
170–172 Missenden Road, Newtown
(02) 9550 3145

Mon to Wed, Sun 11.30am–9.30pm
Thu to Sat 11.30am–11.30pm