Review: Burger Project proves essential to Parramatta’s growing food scene (Sydney)

For the past few years there has been a major shift in how Parramatta is being used. Western Sydney’s enormous hub has been crafted to a higher standard than it has in the past, pushing away from dusty old RSLs and substandard food to give locals and visitors a hospitality scene that’s actually exciting. With Western Sydney in general becoming a bigger focus for many restaurant and bar owners, it’s no surprise that Neil Perry chose this as the location for his first ever venture out west. It, of course, takes the form of Burger Project and continues the celebrated chefs planned expansion – both nationally and internationally – which should turn his Burger Project chain into a fast-casual empire in no time.

What is Perry’s ninth Burger Project across Australia has quickly become a local favourite, positioned as part of the impressive “V by Crown Group” building which is set to lead the charge in the “new” Parramatta, with additional openings from Surry Hills’ Butter and forthcoming level 26 bar Nick & Nora’s (from the same team behind Eau de Vie and the newly opened Mjolner). It’s to be expected of course, Parramatta locals have long needed a reason to move away from the traditional fast food chains of Maccas and Hungry Jacks without having to shuffle to the city, and Burger Project is a fine reason indeed.

When it first opened in 2015, at World Square, Burger Project was relatively disappointing and had some massive issues with consistency; on some visits the burgers would taste incredible but on others, not so much. Since then, the chain has steadily improved and quality visits have gone from few-and-far-between to constant, for me at least. That was reiterated by my first visit to Parramatta’s fresh new venue, a gloriously bright space not too dissimilar from the others but with a more prominent backdrop highlighting Burger Project’s primary produce.

The central philosophy behind Burger Project lies with 36-month, grass-fed Cape Grim chuck and brisket, which make up the beef patties for Perry’s burgers ($9.50 – $14.90). Sure, the chicken and vegetarian options (the Magic Mushroom is delicious) are just as worthwhile, but beef burgers are the go-to here, and coupled with fresh salads and rich American cheese, it’s a winning combo. Between those soft and squishy brioche-like buns is a world of flavour, anchored by that beautiful, slightly smokey beef.

Another benefit from keeping the menu consistent at each Burger Project is the dessert. Beautiful ice cream churned in-house comes with intense flavours thanks to the use of reliable brands like Valrhona Chocolates, used in simple and no-fuss sundaes ($5.90) to dust off that palate after the burgers. Don’t overlook the thickshakes ($7.50) either, made to an old-school standard, sitting on a drinks menu along with some iced teas, sodas, and craft beers ($8.90) from Urban Craft Brewing Co.

Australia has one of the best burger scenes in the world, there has been absolutely no doubt about that in recent years with the likes of Sydney based BL Burgers, Queensland’s Betty’s Burgers and Melbourne’s 8Bit. Burger Project may not be the best of that bunch, but considering the reasonable prices, and soon-to-be ubiquity, it’s certainly up there.

For regulars, Burger Project are also launching a smartphone loyalty app this month, from Wednesday 26th April. According to a press release, the first 5000 users who download it from launch date will be gifted $10 credit to use at any of the Burger Projects in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (which now stands at 11, with the latest being one at Broadway Shopping Centre cep, Friday 28th April). For the app, users earn 10 loyalty points for every $1 spent; redemption is set at $10 credit for every 2000 points, or $30 credit for every 5000 points (you can also earn 10 points when you check-in for Burger Project via Facebook on the app). There’s also a “jackpot item” for the app, which is the recipe for Neil Perry’s “secret sauce”, earned with 250,000 points.

Burger Project Parramatta

Address: Shop 1-2/134-140 Marsden St, Parramatta
Website: www.burgerproject.com
Hours: Monday-Sat 11am-9pm; Sun 11am-8pm

Feature image supplied.