Grill’d Burger – Manuka
by The Editor
Grill’d opened its first ACT franchise in Belconnen at the end of March. Unfortunately that is well and truly out of our jurisdiction, so, while feasting on Brodburgers and The London‘s offerings, we waited patiently for a more centrally located version to open.
We’re heading over to Franklin Street with heavy hearts. Once upon a time Mauka was free of chain restaurants. Now, the once sophisticated village atmosphere is somewhat tainted by a Subway, a Macca’s, a Zambrero and now a Grill’d. So depressed are we by this thought that arriving at Grill’d is in fact a pleasant surprise. Contrary to expectations, the facade is unassuming – much more discreet than one might imagine a burger chain to allow. It’s even difficult to imagine this was El Rancho another lifetime ago.
Walking through the door, the place has a busy feel despite the fact only half a dozen diners are inside the venue. A swarm of workers flit between the counter and the kitchen, while we are greeted cheerily by two guys clearing tables and tidying menus.
The room itself it set with big wooden tables and dark paintwork. Bright lights highlight the counter and tables, and the natural materials give the place a laid-back though funky feel. On a good day it looks as though it could seat fifty or sixty people at a time. The large square table at the front of the venue scattered with magazines offers a haven for solo diners.
We decide to order two burgers and share – along with a side of chips. We take our table number and head on out the front, keen to take advantage of a relatively warm winter day. A large wooden table capable of seating four is our target. The sun warms our backs as we wait and watch the Manuka crowd stroll by.
Soon a couple of plates arrive with the burgers, a third bears the chips. We’ve asked for the burgers to be cut in half to allow for careful inspection and sharing. On initial examination, our thoughts are how impossibly neatly arranged the fillings are. They look like the specially prepared burgers one might find at a promotional photo shoot.
The Mustard and Pickled ($11.50) is a nice way to start, although pulls up short of a full mouthful of tangy flavour. What we love is the beef which is cooked to absolute perfection – biting through the caramelised patty to discover a well rested and slightly pink interior is a delight.
The Goat’s Cheese and Hummus ($13.90) has an entirely different texture. Sure, the meat is tender, but it’s the combination of cheese and hummus that provides a moist, creamy mouthfeel. It’s a winning combination that soars over the bread and lettuce. It’s all quite delicious.
And the Winner is?
It’s the chips! Don’t get us wrong, the burgers were fine. They are consistent and very well put together. Due to their low fat content, they are healthier than a Brodburger. On the downside, the flavour is in the fat and Brodburger’s combination of great bread, rich cheeses and not-so-lean patties gives the Lakeside location the end on the more commercial c0mpetitor.
But the chips! They are the best chips we have eaten anywhere in a very long time. A crispy exterior with a pillowy centre makes for a great texture, while the outside is dusted with sea salt, rosemary and thyme. Simply put they are sensational.
Want a healthy burger without the guilt? Grill’d is the spot. However, if you really want to indulge yourself, have juices running down your arms and a greasy smile on your face, well we think you know where to go.
40 Franklin St, Manuka
(Opposite Greater Union Cinemas)
Ph: 6239 6111
Open 7 Days