Doing some research to write this post, I discovered that the restaurant's name Burke & Wills is an homage to two explorers, Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills, who in 1860 led an expedition across Australia, in areas not yet known. Unfortunately, it did not end well and it is said that they died a year later from being depleted from vitamins due to their consumption of seedcakes.
It is a nice place, located in the heart of the Upper West Side. I like the feel of the decor with first the bar area at the entrance, that has two person booths, and then, in the back, a nice dining room sitting under a glass canopy that gives good light during the day, contrasting with the low light of the bar area.
Menu wise, they have snacks, small plates as well as large plates. But I went for one and only one dish: the "roo burger", understand kangaroo burger. I had kangaroo before, not as a burger, but a steak, when I was living in France, at a time when kangaroo and ostrich meat became a novelty, offering a healthier alternative to beef. Kangaroo has a very particular taste, far from beef and closer to venison, with a strong gamey flavor.
When the burger came, I was very excited. The charred patty was topped by a tomato jam, arugula and picked onions. It was perfectly cooked medium, juicy and very flavorful, with a nice char. It was served with a delicious harissa mayo that had a nice kick and accompanied with large fries that were a bit crispy and, unexpectedly cooked all the way through.
With the burger, I decided to have an Australian beer. I chose a Cooper's vintage Ale. I could have gone for a cocktail, especially after seeing the Paul Hogan or Kylie Minogue ones that were prepared without alcohol. I guess they ditched the Mel Gibson...
For dessert, I decided to go for the homemade donuts that were served with Nutella and dulce de leche. The doughnuts were really good, airy and fully covered with confectioners sugar. I definitely recommend it.
I had a nice meal at Burke & Willis: the burger was good and is a perfect choice if you want to try something unusual. I think that, for sure, it is worth the trip.
Enjoy (I did)!
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