Location: East Victoria Park (Albany Hwy cafe strip) – other locations available
Disclosure: 2 burgers, chips, and drinks were complimentary
I’d recently been contacted by Grill’d asking if I would like to check out there new store in East Vic Park with complimentary burgers and drinks on them. While I love trying different restaurants of all shapes and sizes, and appreciate the odd offer for complimentary meals, I don’t always accept. I have been to Grill’d previously, visiting their Brookfield Place store where the burger was rather underwhelming. Based on that experience, I wasn’t particularly keen to visit again but everyone deserves a second chance. And thank goodness I did because it changed my mind on what Grill’d has to offer.
I took a few friends along to check out the new store which has been open for just 7 weeks. It’s right next door to Real Flavours of India so if you’re in the mood for a thali offering a range of little mini dishes in the one order, go here. If you’re wondering who Grill’d are, they are a burger chain, but not like McDonalds. Grill’d have a series of stores in WA, Queensland, NSW, ACT, and Victoria. They offer chef’d up healthy burgers, sourcing fresh produce and use grass fed beef. The buns are sourced from a local bakery. Grill’d are also community conscious in that they give each person who places a burger order a bottle cap as a token to vote for one of three charities. At the front of the store is information on what each of the charities do and you place your bottle cap in one of the slots. It also helps to raise awareness about the charities efforts and makes people aware of the different causes being supported. Grill’d then count up the votes at the end of each month and split the $500 accordingly and each charity benefits.
Walking in to the East Victoria Park store, it’s very open and caters for plenty of people. I’d gone late afternoon for an early dinner so it was a bit quiet before the Albany Highway cafe strip lights up with patrons looking for a feed. During the course of our meal, more and more people started entering the store. Along the far left wall are comfy benches to sit on while wooden table and chairs are the norm for most of the layout. The counter is on the far right and there are booths at the back. The lighting is dim and creates an interesting atmosphere but the overall sense is a casual, relaxed dining atmosphere.
Given the store is new, there are a few staff from other stores to get things up and running before everyone knows the drill. Scott is one such person who normally works at the Leederville store but had the pleasure of looking after us. Getting invitations like these is great, you do get the VIP treatment, but I prefer to be treated just like everyone else so you know what the experience is really like. Having said that, while Scott took great care of us I noted he took the same care with other customers too. The other staff were just as friendly as Scott which is great to see.
So on to the menu, I was pretty full after those waffles for breakfast at Rydges Hotel and then a rushed lunch before a string of afternoon meetings, but by the time the food was served at our table, I was building up an appetite. There’s plenty of variety on the menu, with different kinds of burgers under each of the beef, chicken, lamb, and veggie burger categories. They also serve steak sandwiches, salads, snack burgers (or sliders as the new buzz word) and kids burgers. After much deliberation, we placed our orders and also got some chips, which from my first visit to Grill’d, were one of the shining lights. With their burgers, you also need to choose what type of bun you want – wholemeal or panini (also have a gluten free option available).
HOT HOMBRE $14.0
Grilled chicken breast, chilli black bean salsa, tasty cheese, avocado, tomato, spanish onion & crispy tortilla chip
There’s always someone who decides to be adventurous and so the choice to get a chilli laden burger was always fraught with danger. I did have a sample of this burger via the cutlery in the middle of the table and it had some bite, believe me. There’s plenty of chilli black beans to provide heat and it provides it in spades. I think because I got the end part of the burger, I was spared the full ferocity that it delivered. Still, tasty in itself. The chicken breast was nice and tender and the salsa formed a tasty combination. My friend finished the burger but there were some chilli black beans left on the plate. He was not keen to finish them off.
SUMMER SUNSET $14.0
Grilled grass fed lean beef, avocado, crispy trim bacon, golden pineapple, salad, relish & herbed mayo
Given we’re heading into summer, may as well go with something tropical so I opted for the Summer Sunset burger. My burger was more on sweet side which detracted a little from the overall taste. The presence of the pineapple was the main culprit and it would be hard to control the flavour balance when the sweetness of a pineapple piece is completely random from one piece to the next. The beef patty was perfectly cooked, not pink in the middle but not tough, soft and tender, with chunks of meat. The salad and herbed mayo provide a lovely moistness and the bacon goes almost unnoticed masked by the flavours of the other ingredients and a slight creamy texture provided by the avocado. The burgers pack a punch, they’re filling, tasty and so full of flavour. The wholemeal bun provided via local bakeries is surprisingly light. One would expect a wholemeal bun to be quite heavy and dense but these buns are light and tasty. All the ingredients work together. Maybe an increase in the salty element would work in tandem with a slight chilli kick to offset the sweetness, but’s it’s not sickeningly sweet by any measure. While the burgers are served with thick white napkins, these burgers aren’t messy, just really tasty so you can wipe your satisfied face off with any burger sauces that may be around your mouth.
I also love the rosemary herbed chips which are delicious. They are thick cut which I’m not really a fan of but given the chips are nice and crispy, I’m not at all bothered. The chips are soft and fluffy on the inside but it’s the rosemary and herbs coating the chips which make all the difference. It adds something different to your typical chips. There are different spice mixes or rubs one can do with chips but not many places do this. Maybe they’re a bit too safe.
‘BAA BAA’ BURGER $14.50
Grilled 100% grass fed lean lamb, avocado, tasty cheese, salad, relish & herbed mayo
I did have a taste, and then another taste because it was so good! This was the best burger of the 3 I tried. Perfectly cooked and so moist, the cheese had just melted into this lovely goo and it tasted so amazing. The lamb pattie oozed with flavour. I was a bit jealous and would gladly have swapped my burger for that instead.
Grill’d Food Review Summary
Verdict: I was a little apprehensive about accepting an offer to visit the new Grill’d store at East Victoria Park, with complimentary burger and drinks provided, after my first visit to Grill’d produced a rather underwhelming burger. However, this was not the case this time around and the three burgers I sampled were delicious. Grill’d serve decent sized burgers that pack a punch in terms of flavour and that also extends to their herbed chips. The burgers are cooked perfectly, nice and moist, tender, well filled and not at all messy. The summer sunset was delicious but a little sweet due to the presence of the pineapple. The hot hombre certainly lived up to it’s name providing plenty of chill kick. But the burger that did it for me was the Baa Baa Lamb burger. Wow, that was fantastic! I had an excellent experience as did my friends. What was really great is giving Grill’d a second go certainly changed my mind as to what they’re all about and I certainly would come back to try their other burgers, especially that Baa Baa Lamb burger – not just a taste, the whole experience. I can see why Grill’d is popular as many of my work colleagues head down to the Shafto Lane store. I think I’ll be heading their soon too.
See my prior blog post:
Food Review of Grill’d – Oct 2012
Grill’d Restaurant Details
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