TASTE: Superior Burger at the brewery
For the best part of a decade Jovan Curic has been kicking around the traps of Sydney perfecting his burger. Before everything was a pop-up, his Pub Life Kitchen concept would pop up in different inner-city pubs. Before the obsession with OTT burgers he was a Dr Frankenstein creating monster burgs which he would unleash on the PLK punters. Then, last year he went against the tide and set up shop way out west in Wakeley.
Superior Burger is the suburban takeaway joint of your dreams. A humble mixed business shopfront reveals a moodier interior refitted with hanging fernery and on the wall ‘Best in the West’, a promise in neon. And, as of a couple of months ago, Superior Burger is taking it to the streets. The Superior Express is a slick, fully-customised 1950s Austin Bus (read more about it’s impressive transformation below). We’re thrilled that they’re hauling up and hitting the brakes at the brewery for the weekend of September 2-3 aka Father’s Day weekend (yep it’s a whole weekend). We caught up with Jovan for a chat about the bus and the burgers and - as this is his first father’s day as a new dad - we also ordered a little “off-menu item” called some ol' fashioned fatherly advice. Cheers Jovi.
You’ve been slinging burgers (with Pub Life Kitchen) since before Sydney went burger-crazy. How long’s it been? What's changed?
I took over my first bistro back in March of 2009, we had a very tidy menu with a couple of burgers finishing it off, one of those - The OG - still graces our menu over at PLK Ultimo.
You know, I think about this question a lot as I often read peoples thoughts on it, and to answer it properly would take ages.. A burger market has been created, you can get a burger at pretty much any bar these days and it will be decent. There’s also a TONNE more burger “joints” which have opened and there’s now more burger chains than you can poke a stick at. All serving much better burgers than previously available from chained ventures.That said, I’m still a firm believer that everyone should be making their own stuff in-house.
Not asking for ALL your secrets, but what’s the key to a good burger?
I believe it’s all about the beef that you use and how you treat it. It is, after all, what you build the burger around. You have to respect the flavours of the beef and complement them with (minimal) condiments/fillings.
What was your wackiest burger ever with Pub Life Kitchen?
I think the last time I counted I was at something stupid like 250 burger experiments to date. Heaps have been weird, not have been shit too. But I guess one stands out, it was a self saucing dumpling which was basically a full sized 200g pork patty wrapped in dumpling pastry. House brewed ginger beer mayo, fried enoki shrooms. pickled button mushrooms. salted cucumber and a “kathmandu” chutney on our old tip top burger buns. I think we burnt a customers cheek when one of the dumplings exploded the wrong way.
Tell us about your 1950s Austin food truck and its transformation into the Superior Express?
I was introduced to my now business partners a couple years ago and they came to me with this bus. They’d bought some family’s home (literally) which was on wheels and wanted to turn it into a food truck. This thing came with rainbows, fairies and butterflies panted all over it. It was unreal but needed a lot of love.
It was a 2 year build, originally it was to be superior burger before superior burger became superior burger, Dan my business partner built the whole thing himself, the guy is a car and engineering nut! He fully restored the bus from the ground up. Carol, his wife sanded the entire bus back to bare metal! I’d walk into the workshop and she would be in the dust suit, mask on and up on the roof sanding away, it was amazing to see the bus come to life, truely a great feat.
Everything about this bus is custom as it’s the only one of its kind in the country. It came to Australia from the UK as a passenger bus licensed to seat 27 people. Finding parts was near impossible so a lot of stuff Dan had to make from scratch. It has every comfort a modern bus driver would want including caravan aircon, and the kitchen was designed by yours truely and is super functional, with the ability to add and change around equipment as needed, it is fully self contained with no external bottles or cables and can run for 12 hours without needed a top up or need to be plugged into power…
Sorry I’m bragging, but I’m so proud of what they built! Have a look @dansfoodbus to have a look at some of the build.
You’re bringing that beast down to the brewery Sept 2/3. What’s on the menu? (pls say potato scallops pls say potato scallops)
Yes we are bringing the potato scallops, which will be done in a YH Newtowner batter ;)
Our Dagwood dog will make an appearance which is made from a double smoked pork sausage in a buttermilk and cornmeal batter. Burgers on the day will be our classic cheeseburger, the superior burger and magic shroom.
This will be your first Father’s Day - congratulations! Can you give us your best fatherly advice?
Thank you! It is the best thing to have happened to me. My daughter has changed my life.. advice? Boys, stay away.
What about your best dad joke?
Did you hear about the hamburger who couldn't stop making jokes?
He was on a roll!
The Superior Express at Young Henrys Brewery, 76 Wilford St, Newtown.
Sat Sep 2 & Sun Sep 3, 12pm-6.30pm (or until sold out!)