WITH WA turning a deep shade of red on Saturday night, I almost expected to see Mark McGowan levitating above Perth like some political deity.
No such joy, but for a minute I thought I glimpsed John Carey in a microlight, carpet bombing the city with red Lego bricks.
Sanity prevailed when my family and I arrived at Grill’d, a stylish burger bar on the corner of Oxford and Newcastle Streets in Leederville.
With its large neon sign, Grill’d reminded me of a classic 1950s American diner, and I could almost smell the Brylcreem on Fonzie’s hair.
In a congested burger market, Grill’d’s point of difference is ‘healthy’ eating – making burgers with zero artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, as well as using grass-fed beef, free- range eggs and RSPCA-approved chicken.
But are their burgers any good? Well yes, and I’m big fan of the outlet in Fremantle, so I wanted to check if the Leederville one was just as good.
The menu had a good range of beef, chicken, lamb, wagyu and veggie burgers, covering everything from the humble cheeseburger to the premium wagyu pattie with truffle mayo.
No token veggie burger here, with the menu including an impressive 10 plant-based incarnations. You could also build your own burger, and there was a small range of salads and a nice variety of sides.
My Mustard and Pickled ($13.50) had a warm glow courtesy of the Dijon mustard and dill pickles.
There was nothing too daring in this burger – it was like a big, vintage gas-guzzling Cadillac that never gets above 50 on the freeway – but it ticked all the flavour boxes with cos lettuce, tomato, Spanish onions and tomato relish.
Grill’d’s burgers aren’t like a fatty, leaning tower of Pisa, and you can comfortably pick them up without the innards jettisoning out the sides and the bun disintegrating into a soggy mess.
The beef patty was slightly over for my liking (I like it a bit pink in the middle) but it was a satisfying burger.
Across the table my wife was enjoying her Bird and Brie ($14.50).
“The cranberry sauce is a great touch and goes perfectly with the decadent rich cheese,” she said.
“The chicken is very slightly over, but the herb mayo and tomato keep things nice and moist.”
Our zucchini chips ($8.90 large) were super chunky specimens with a crumbed coating and heaps of sea salt.
I liked how they left the skin on, adding a rustic texture to the soft, piping-hot flesh.
Unfortunately there was way too much seasoning, and after a few chips it felt like I was licking the walls of a Siberian salt mine.
I liked the concept though.
The kids’ “Mini Me” pack ($9.50) included a cheese burger, fries and juice or water.
The chips were seasoned with rosemary, which I always think is a bit of a gamble for nippers, but mine didn’t seem to mind and wolfed everything down.
The portion size was just right for aged seven and under.
I ordered two tomato sauces for the kids, which unfortunately the staff forgot, and I had to go up to the counter.
Grill’d Leederville wasn’t quite up to the super high standards I had experienced at the Fremantle outlet, but their burgers were still a strong 8 out of 10 and easily surpass a lot of the competition.
Maybe one day Mark will walk across Lake Monger and come into Leederville to try one.
Grill’d – Leederville
128 Oxford St
by STEPHEN POLLOCK