How good is our city?! The diversity and variety on offer, truly staggering! As soon as we crossed Elizabeth Street into Surry Hills, the cultural make-up changed and so did the dining venues. Ze Pickle was a breath of fresh air from what we’re used to, living/working here down in South CBD/Chinatown. Walking through the unassuming doorway/tinted glass frontage, you’re first welcomed by the thumping bass of early 00s-current hip hop music, from the vibe of the place alone you’d know you’re in for an experience!
We were quickly seen to a table, an industrial-looking metal table situated on polished concrete floors, surrounded by low low stools (so low that if you’re tall, your knees will be situated higher than your butt). The coolness of the restaurant continued on, even to the menus, where car license plates were the covers, opening you to a world of burger options (each with detailed descriptions of what you’d expect to be served in your bread stack).
Dining with a Groupon voucher (choice of any two burgers to the value of $19; “Ze chips” (fries) to share; and any 2 glasses of soft drinks to the value of $5), we opted for the Pablo Escoburger- a Mexican flavoured burger with a pressed Wagyu beef patty; a Buffalo Blue chicken burger- crunchy chicken fillet smeared in blue cheese; Ze fries- we chose sweet potato over the normal spud offering; and for an extra $1 each, we upgraded our regular soft drinks to the Bubble gum lemonade (a big glass which was large enough to be shared).
As we waited for our food, we took in the surroundings- a funky modern setting which had an industrial vibe (bare brick wall and polished concrete floors); an artsy bar with light play and light art; and a padded wall paying homage to a versatile organic/fabric/relaxant (it’ll make sense when you see it). So young hipsters would feel right at home, with the thumping hip hop music tracks (we were border-line being out of place ourselves, although when I was 20 I used to be a Hip Hop DJ, but that was over 15 years ago). Thus looking around at the rest of the clientele this arvo, we had to raise our collective eyebrows at the rest of the other diners, as it did look a little out-of-place for the vibe. Aside from one non-Asian couple, everyone else eating that lunch hour were Asian! So were we! Remember, we had come here on a Groupon voucher! There was an adult family (adult children accompanied by their middle-aged parents) who had to be also on an offer/voucher; a couple in their 50-60s (again me think voucher/offer); and the later arriving couple who were seated next to us, the first interaction they had with the waitress was to inform her that they were dining with a 30% off Dimmi offer (although we were on a 50% off Groupon voucher……. Suckeers!).
But we soon forgot this anomaly when first our B-gum sodas arrived (first sip you could really taste the difference, the bubble gum flavour reminded you of a bag of skittles), followed closely by our large plate of steaming hot sweet potato fries, which came with a complex flavoursome mayo dipping sauce, and the chippies were best eaten while hot and crunchy (going cold and soggy quite quickly).
Our burgers were towering things (please see exhibit B), capped off by a pickle skewered on top of each burger (their signature) hence the name of the store, and the initial stand-out which attracted me to this place after reading reviews. They say, the test of a good burger is when each bite of your burger you’re able to get all of the ingredients of your burger into a single mouthful i.e. burger stack not too tall, and meat patties not too small and skewed to one side or just in the middle of your burger. So I limbered up my jaw joints and took the biggest bite I could physically manage, and it was a good burger! I managed to get my teeth around both top and bottom buns, slaw coated in their signature ZP sauce (picture a spicy tomato/BBQ sauce hybrid) didn’t escape my bite, a good bit of chicken in its crunchy outer batter was also torn free, melted cheese was in there somewhere, and the beautiful flavour of the blue cheese was also tasted in my first bite. Yum! Unfortunately for my wife (thankfully she doesn’t have a mouth as large as mine), she had less luck on her first bite as things were already shooting out the other end of her burger. The stand-out for her Escoburger, was the Wagyu beef patty, it was like cheese had been mixed into the mince before cooking, so that when served up the melted cheese acted as a binder among the already tasty meat. Mmmm. And after smashing our burgers in record time, fingers sticky with sauce (that wasn’t a bad thing) we worked on finishing our large plate of fries and our soft drinks (although we each left behind around half a glass).
As we were seated near the cash register, as each group came out to pay we were reminded of the clientele make-up again. Our hunch was confirmed, when each diner pulled out their phones at time of payment to redeem their vouchers/offers, and surprise surprise, the only non-Asian couple, they did not have a voucher. The cashier even asked them if they had a voucher to redeem, and there was a definite shake of the head for no. BTW Zomato had a 20% off if you booked in advance; Dimmi had a 30% discount offer; when Groupon had two combos, each slicing 50% off the regular menu price. Although, Ze Pickle themselves had a special, burger combo (which included fries) for $15, which is around a 40% discount. All of these deals were great for us the customer, but I’m not sure if that is a sustainable business model for them in the long run as in the time we were there we didn’t see more than a total of $80 being handed over.
Our end verdict, 4.0 stars (Napkin test also 4 stars). The burgers were the best we had in recent times (better than Grill’d, Burger Edge, Burger Project or Duck In Duck Out), they were full of flavour, everything from the food to the store décor had character and a twist to it, but the important question…..would we ever come back again? Probably not, if we had to pay full price (as it’s hard to pay for something which you know that you had once gotten the exact same thing for much less). But if it was with another deal…maybe? 50/50? The burgers were good, but there is so much more out there to be tried! Sydney is good, we’re so spoiled for choice. GILTY (God I Love This citY)!
Ze Pickle- Saturday 6 October
PH: (02) 8937 0404
17 -51 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills NSW
Mon-Sun 12 noon – 10pm