In writing this post, I am taking a risk. I am setting myself up for being judged. Why? I saw an article in The Age the other day about a particular group protesting about the seemingly unpatriotic act of eating our national faunal emblems; Grill’d is celebrating Australia Day by introducing the Coat of Arms burger, featuring a kangaroo and emu patty. Far from sharing their outrage, my first reaction to this piece was ‘I have to try this burger’. To be fair, consuming native species is much better for the environment and lean proteins like kangaroo are very good for you.
If you do want to sample the Coat of Arms burger, you have to move quickly. It is only available until the end of January, from one Grill’d store in each capital city and there is a limit of 50 per day. Our first attempt to get our hands on one was unfruitful; we arrived at Grill’d, Lt Bourke St, to find out that they had sold out at 2.30. Onto plan B; an early lunch run the next day. Sure enough, we arrived at 11.30 and were greeted by a countdown sign indicating that only 3 had been sold. Score!
The burger is actually quite good. Nine months in the making, it incorporates a number of other local and native ingredients to compliment a super-lean 97% kangaroo, 3% emu meat patty; tart, citrus-y quandongs (a native wild peach), sweet relish featuring Kutjera ‘bush tomatoes’, wattleseed, lemon myrtle and mountain pepperberry, sweet, vinegar-y caramelised onions, native thyme mayo, mesculin lettuce, tomato and beetroot (wouldn’t be an Aussie burger without it), all topped off with tangy Meridith goats cheese.
Despite the low percentage of fat in the meat, the mince is very finely ground and the array of tasty condiments and fresh ingredients make for a very juicy mouthful (as well as upping the overall fat percentage quite a bit). The well-seasoned mix is also not very game-y, the flavour being reminiscent of a lamb kofta. The flavours of each component are quite strong but work well together as a sweet, tangy and savoury mix. Your challenge is to get your chompers around this mountain of a burger.
On a side note, the new Grill’d at Lt Bourke St is quite a hip establishment, complete with red brick walls, naked light bulbs illuminating dark wooden tables and some high tables underneath an old-school wooden staircase. I especially like the quirky addition of an astro-turf covered counter looking out onto the street. Service was also fast, friendly and efficient; exactly what you want on a lunch break.