I KNEW Compton Burgers was going to be good when I heard Coolio had popped in for a cook-off before his Perth gig in 2019.
For our veteran readers, Coolio is a famous rapper who scored massive hits with songs like Gangsta’s Paradise in the mid 90s (granddads, ask your kids about him once the viagra wears off).
Coolio fancies himself as a bit of a chef these days, releasing a cookbook, and apparently whipped up avocado tempura and burgers in the cook-off.
I was getting serious 1990 rap vibes when I walked inside Compton Burgers with The Real Slim Shady blaring out of wall-mounted TVs.
The family-run joint was decked out a bit like a 1950s American diner, but they hadn’t gone full Pulp Fiction and there were still vestiges of the good-old Australian lunch bar. In fact they sold toasties, wraps, breakfast dishes and teas and coffee.
But I was here for the burgers. There was a small but inventive range on offer including the
“Killa Coolio 100” – the rapper’s signature burger.
Walking up to the counter, I was half expecting to be served by some dude in low-slung jeans with a sideways cap and gold chains so thick you needed a bolt-cutter to remove them.
But I got a lovely warm welcome from an ochre Aussie woman who wouldn’t be out of place as a colourful extra in Red Dog 4: The Chum Years.
She was super friendly and had the same rapport and convivial manner with all the customers, making the place feel really homely and like your local go-to.
At first I thought they had got my order wrong when the lady approached my table with two plates, but she just wanted me to open the front door so she could serve folk in the alfresco. Classic.
It wasn’t long before I was tucking into my Marilyn Bunroe, chips and coke ($21 combo)
The two chicken tenderloins were perfectly cooked with succulent flesh and a crispy coating that had a satisfying crunch.
I ordered the spicy ketchup version and it was just the right amount of heat, not overpowering the chook and wasn’t sickly or cloying.
The filling was top notch with the American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and chipotle mayo creating a delicious cauldron of flavours in my mouth.
There was a lot going on in this burger, but it didn’t feel over the top, and the wrapper made it easy to eat in sections, without it falling apart.
The undoubted star was the golden potato bun – delicious, light and fresh, it really raised the bar.
Situated on Stirling Street, just a couple of streets back from HBF Park, Compton Burgers is slightly off the beaten track and one of those places maybe only locals and office workers know about.
On a Tuesday lunchtime the place was busy with everyone from tradies to well-heeled business men popping in for a feed.
There was even a giant hairy bloke who was about seven foot tall – he looked like Perth’s answer to Big Foot – demolishing two burgers and a mountain of fries.
Compton is now my favourite burger bar in Perth – I’ll definitely be back with my South of the River crew, Nike pumps and ghetto blaster to try more.
196 Stirling St, Perth