The last couple of years has seen a spate of gourmet burger restaurants pop up around Brisbane, transforming the humble burger into something a little more exciting and tasty than the usual fast food chain offerings. BYOB is the latest such place to open in Brisbane, but burger connoisseurs might very well ask if there is room for another gourmet burger joint? And is it different enough to stand out from the crowd?
In short: yes, and yes.
BYOB recently opened its doors in Newstead, just a short walk down Ann St from Fortitude Valley. The marker on Google Maps is a little misleading, so if you're trying to find BYOB, just walk around the Waterloo Hotel and past the Subway and then turn the corner. Despite the address listed, the entrance is actually on Stratten St.
Upon walking in the door, you'll be handed a slip of paper and a pencil and asked to fill out your order by ticking the options presented. This is what sets BYOB apart from the other gourmet burger joints around town, so if you don't like the idea of having a lot of options on offer, you'd be best heading elsewhere. But if you don't mind taking a minute to fill out the form, your tastebuds will be rewarded.
As you can see from the menu below, every aspect of the burger is able to be customised to your taste. From the type of bun (or even no bun!), to the patty, sauces, and salad. The entire restaurant is styled in an American fashion, so you also have the option of getting things like fries or mac and cheese on your burger.
For my first taste of BYOB, I decided to go with a standard bun, a Signature patty (double beef with cheese in the middle), American-style cheddar, lettuce, tomato, gherkins and tomato sauce. I also got a side of fries and a root beer. My friend and I were dining in, but as we handed in our forms we were informed that if you choose to takeaway your burger, you get a free fries or a free drink. Not a bad deal at all, but one we declined.
With our orders placed and the cooks starting to prepare our meals, my friend and I looked for a good place to sit. There are tables outside and also an air-conditioned dining room upstairs. We chose the latter, mostly because it had a fantastic leather couch and a wall-mounted TV playing Diagnosis Murder.
It didn't take long for our meals to arrive, and when they did, we were both quite intimidated by the sheer size of the burgers. Even the serve of fries was very large, and presented in an "American diner"-style red basket.
Getting my mouth around the burger was a challenge. All the ingredients on it were obviously fresh and had been cooked to order. The patty itself was quite enormous, but very, very tasty. The beef mince was coarsely ground and was still a little pink on the inside - just the way I like it. If there's one thing I could fault, it's that the patty could have done with a little more seasoning; just a dash more salt and pepper would have been fine. Otherwise, everything else was fantastic.
The fries weren't what I was expecting. They seemed to be hand cut and had the skin on the ends. I haven't seen fries quite like these anywhere else, but they tasted great and were nice and crunchy. It all went down very well with an ice-cold root beer.
Overall, it was a very satisfying experience and one I look forward to repeating. The prices are about what you'd expect to pay for a gourmet burger (around $10 to $12), and the service was very helpful in guiding us through the process of ordering. The food itself was great - fresh ingredients and cooked to order. If you can't handle a lot of options or don't want to stuff around with the ordering form, there's a couple of "pre-designed" burgers you can choose from. But, personally, I think the ordering process is all part of the fun and I'm keen to get back to BYOB to try out some of the (many) other options available!