If you’re gonna make a regular feature of writing about the burgers of your city, you might as well start at the top, the mecca, the creme-de-la-creme, and that’s Smash Palace.
It’s early on a Saturday afternoon. And finally, it’s Spring-like enough to sit in the sun with the fantasy of a long, hot, summer, with days and nights spent exactly like this, laid out in front of me… the kind of summer fantasy that you can only have in early Spring.
Some great Motown is playing. A corgi is running around free range like it’s bloody 1952. They are setting up for St Shanes night, Smash Palaces annual-6-months-after-St-Paddy’s-Knees-Up. I get a whole table to myself, as I always do on afternoons. There’s loads of solo drinkers – from blokes my Dad’s age, to bikers, to students. I always feel welcome no matter when I come, mostly alone. And that’s such a big thing, to feel comfortable to come and read, write or just be.
Now onto the burger.
Disclaimer. I’m vegetarian, so all of my burger write ups will be non-meat based – which actually, I feel, makes it a tougher criteria as there’s so much sludge out there passing itself off as falafel, or weird, overwhelming, too-rich, muddles of ingredients trying to overcompensate for the lack of meat.
Their falafel burger consists of large plain white bun, grilled. Melted cheese. Falafel Pattie. Shredded lettuce. Onion. Pickles (house made). Tomato and mayo. And a side of perfectly golden, salted, chunky cut chips. Any burger that comes with pickle will automatically get into my good books. The falafel Pattie is great. About 1cm thick, nicely golden and chewy on the outside so it’s got the meaty texture. Inside, herby, moist and nicely seasoned. All served on a nice, simple, deep lipped plate. No stupid chopping board, faux frying baskets or other serving monstrosities. Just no fuss, done well.
You get given a squeezie bottle of tomato sauce, and huge box of napkins, which is the way it would be cos if it’s a really good burger you always need more than one napkin, and lots of sauce opportunities if the mod takes you. And with that, you’re bloody set, mates.
To drink; a pint of Bodgie, the house beer. The perfect pale ale – light, crisp and when you come at Happy Hour (4-7pm ish), it’s just $7 a pint.
The burger, fries and beer set me back $22. And let me tell you it’s worth every dollar.
I sit in the sun, and write this as I eat and write. Happy to be out, but happy to be left alone and have space too. The perfect Saturday solo-lunch-date. The Corgi, Roger, does a runner and legs it up High Street, ironically, towards the bronze sculptures of Corgi’s, that are on the pavement 20m up. But no ones really too bothered.
Smash Palace, you make me so happy. You embody everything that I love about this Cracked City, never, ever, change.
BEER AND A BURGER RATING: A
– Bonjela x
172 High Street
Open 7 days from midday/ 3pm
(Look for the festoon lights)