Growing up surrounded by trendy coastal cafes and inner city holes-in-a-wall, I’m a self-proclaimed expert when it comes to my beloved burgers.
So when I was tasked with trying out Black Label by Burger Project, the bar was set pretty high.
You might expect someone who lives and breathes fitness and nutrition to skip the pub lunch and stick to grilled chicken and sweet potato. However, research doesn’t lie: A recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found that foods high in carbs and fats actually increase brain satisfaction, helping to stave off those mid-arvo sugar cravings. Just make sure you keep up that exercise routine.
After a few dedicated minutes scouring the menu, I’ve landed on The Texan burger. The beef is grass-fed, as are all the beef patties on the menu. Previous reports have found that grass-fed meat is indeed healthier than grain-fed beef – another reason not to feel guilty about indulging. The patty is complimented with triple-smoked bacon, cheese, pickles and onions, topped with a spicy smoked BBQ sauce.
If you aren’t one for meat, there are vegetarian options available, including a chickpea and zucchini grilled patty.
While there are plenty of craft beers and other alcoholic beverages on the menu, I can’t look past recent research: chocolate milk is a perfect post workout recovery. With my muscles still aching from last night’s session, a milkshake is all I have eyes for.
Along with my burger and milkshake, I pick up a side of sweet potato waffles.
No burger is complete without a side, right?
Given the décor’s sleek finishes, I’m expecting the same kind of finish to the food and I am not disappointed. However, even with the extra care taken on the quality, the food is quick, real quick. It’s surprising given the growing crowd pouring in.
With food and drink in front of me, I notice one crucial aspect: the bun is still together. It looks like a brioche bun, still intact with no frustrating filling leaking from the sides – they’ve nailed the ratio here.
My environmentally conscious manager will also be pleased to hear they use paper straws – another tick.
Launching in, the first bite is one to remember. The crispy bacon is well paired with the softness of the patty. The bacon is key – there’s no hint of burnt charcoal flavours despite the triple smoked process. The sweetness of the BBQ sauce compliments the meat and condiments to perfection.
I’m conscious that my sweet potato waffle chips will feel neglected, so I proceed to scoff them down. Everything is hitting the mark. I’m officially hitting food coma territory.
Overall the experience was incredibly enjoyable. Not only did the food leave me satisfied, the atmosphere was terrific.
As a bloke, one thing I’ve always noticed with buzzing, popular restaurants is the lack of space between tables and minimal legroom. This is not the case at Black Label – there’s the option of sitting on cushioned couches or sturdy chairs, and with ample room between customers, I’m not forced into awkward eavesdropping.
The music can’t be ignored – old school rock helps to drown out chitter chatter in the background. Tunes are on point, reminding me of a retro diner.
Just remind me next time to wear looser pants so I don’t have to unbuckle my belt.