Talk about the best burgers in Sydney and time and time again, Justin North’s Plan B wagyu burger seems to make the list every time.
It’s something of a phenomenon. The darling of food media, food bloggers and food enthusiasts alike, the wagyu burger generates a buzz and goodwill with Sydneysiders unlike any other burger around. Touted, not only for being a damn tasty burger but also for its reasonable price, all things considered.
Though food bloggers have been singing its praises up on high for years, this visit was the first time I found myself in front of this iconic burger. Now, after all time, I get to see what all the fuss is about.
Before we get to the burger, let’s talk about the cafe itself.
Plan B Cafe, located within the same building complex as Justin North‘s flagship fine dining restaurant Becasse, is small. Very small. To refer to it as a closet-sized, whilst seemingly hyperbolic, once the lunch time regiment marches through in single file, you’ll find that it’s not all that far from the truth, especially if you take up a seat indoor.
There is a single bench that runs along a window that faces the street, littered with daily newspapers and some of Justin’s cook books to thumb through. The bench is set uncharacteristically high such that, along with the few cushioned oversized stools that run alongside, gives you the feeling of a child sitting at the grownup’s table.
One of the stools sits right beside a refrigerated display case housing drinks, pre-packaged sandwiches and other portable snacks. That stool, whilst great for offering some respite during the sweltering heat of summer, seat anyone larger than a pixie on it and they become a source of frustration and inconvenience that patrons have to manoeuvre and excuse themselves around.
There are a small number of tables located just outside the store but even with these seats, notions of a sit down lunch are for those that are either willing to avoid the lunchtime rush or those willing to place their bets against lady luck. Good luck with that.
Over the years, the wagyu burger has undergone a number of changes. The essential composition that makes up the burger hasn’t changed; the 600 day grass-fed wagyu beef, picked beetroot, caramelised onions, melted cheese & some form of salad greens on a toasted brioche bun.
The burger has, as seen by the images kindly supplied by the food blogs Here Comes the Food and Eat Show & Tell, moved away over time from a towering verticality to a more manageable height that no longer required a hand to bear down like a pneumatic press; the unhinging of the jaw, like python swallowing its prey whole, just to attempt a clean bite; or worst still, resort to using a knife and fork. A travesty in my eyes considering that the humble hamburger is designed to be eaten by hand.
600 Day Grass Fed Wagyu Burger ($10) – The burger is a philharmonic symphony in the mouth. The wagyu beef patty, though cooked to almost well done, is still rich and succulent, spiced with what I believe to be cumin. The caramelised onions and beetroot add a dimension of sweetness and acidity to help cut through the rich wagyu juices. I close my eyes to savour every note.
The burger isn’t big by any means but it’s just about right for a workday lunch. Not so large as to induce a food coma that would necessitate a post-lunch siesta. Not so small to leave you peckish throughout the afternoon. It may arguably not be Sydney’s best burger; it certainly isn’t its cheapest. However, I think you will be very hard pressed to find a burger that is even remotely its equal in taste for the same price.
Roast Pork Sandwich ($10) – This poor offering plays a distant second fiddle to prima donna of the show. Whilst mildly attractive on its own, standing next to its supermodel sister, it appears rather Plain Jane by comparison.
The alternative sandwich to the wagyu burger can vary from time to time, often appearing in the form of a wagyu steak sandwich. This time around, it’s roast pork.
The roast pork sandwich isn’t bad by any means. The meat, though a little on stingy side, is sweet and flavourful; the accompaniments appropriate. However, for my money, the burger is, and forever will be, the way to go.
If you’ve yet to try the fabulous wagyu burger from Plan B and you’re a fan of burgers, I urge you to take the time to try it out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, especially for the dollars spent.
Plan B Cafe
204 Clarence St, Sydney
(02) 9283 3450