Perth loves a good hamburger, and from what I can tell, hamburgers have to meet certain criteria to gain this fair city’s respect:
- Huge menu selection. Vego options, meat-lover options, vego/meat-lover options (for people like me).
- Not-to-be-believed size. The patty alone should comprise a week’s worth of protein.
- Quality WA-produced ingredients. Everything should be fresh, locally sourced and delicious.
- Creative names that don’t sound like burgers. The Burger Bistro sells “Blue Steel” and “Belle of the Ball”. You’ll find “The Mullet”, “The Guvnor” and “The Bokka” at Jus Burger. Bilby’s Chargrilled Burgers has best-sellers like “Battler’s Wife”, “Yuppy’s Joy” and “Humdinger”.
- “Burger joint” ambiance. There should be an even mix of barefoot kids, rowdy teenagers, serious burger-loving gourmets and a gang of resident seagulls outside.
For the last 8 years, Bilby’s Chargrilled Burgers has built a reputation for serving the best burger in all of Perth – rivaling popular burger joints Jus Burger (Leederville, Subiaco), Alfred’s Kitchen (Guildford) and The Burger Bistro (CBD). I visited Bilby’s last Friday to investigate.
“Get the crocodile, mate!” was the greeting we received upon walking through the door. Huh?
“The ‘Ol’ Salty’, the croc burger,” the voice repeated. “Trust me.” The voice belonged to one of Bilby’s most loyal customers, Alan. As a friend of owner Rod Mason and a regular at Bilby’s he takes it upon himself to assist newbies. He walked us through the menu, explained that all of the sauces were made in-house and the other ingredients were sourced locally – then continued gushing about the crocodile burgers.
He was only slightly disappointed when we admitted we had our hearts set on beef, but approved of our choices: “City Slicker” (field mushroom, eggplant, capsicum, fetta, carmalised onions, sundried tomato pesto, greens and basil aioli + meat patty) and “Brain Wave” (beef patty, cheese, pickles, caramelised onions, lettuce & Bilby’s mayonnaise).
But we weren’t disappointed. The burgers were juicy, bursting with flavour and very difficult to fit in our mouths before some serious squishing. My partner gobbled his up in five minutes flat and then polished off the last third of mine that I couldn’t finish. Yes, Bilby’s burgers live up to their reputation.
Although busy, Bilby’s was able to provide great service – from both the staff and Alan. All of our questions were answered, the food came out quickly, and I didn’t get a face upon requesting ketchup tomato sauce.
And the best part? Not being pressured to clear out after finishing, as would happen at Jus Burgers, where a perpetual queue is waiting outside, ready to pounce on an empty table. Instead, we enjoyed the relative tranquility of the outside patio and observed the steady stream of take-away customers file in and out.
On our way out we promised Alan we would try the crocodile burger next time. Oh yes, there will be a next time.