Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Korean fried chicken burger with cucumber kimchi. Salt and pepper tofu burger with eggplant chilli jam. Prawn popcorn with yuzu mayonnaise. This is the Asian fusion madness Neil Perry had to drop from his menu after The Burger Project failed to set the world on fire. One year later, they’ve found their way here at the Hello Kitty Diner above Chatswood station in Sydney’s north, right around the corner from Tim Ho Wan.
I’m not sure why they call this place the Hello Kitty Diner. See, I’ve been to Japan a lot, so I expected cats and frogs and rabbits and other cute animals branded into my food, the cutlery, the video screens, and every square inch of the place. Here? It’s just the napkins and the weird hipster jar-cups. This is the most un-Hello Kitty Hello Kitty place I’ve ever seen.
The fusion food is awesome, not to mention expensive ($14 for the chilli and lemon crispy prawn burger? Yikes). But the retro American diner setting goes nicely with the K-pop that’s playing all day (today it was Super Junior’s Mamacita – oddly appropriate). And with weird extras like sweet potato fries with miso mayonnaise and Southern fried chicken with waffles and bourbon maple syrup, this place is worth at least two or three visits.
That said, skip the “classic” hamburger. The people who run this joint think they’re up there with the likes of Chur Burger and Jazz City Diner, but their strength is in their fusion. Oh, and the Hello Kitty Diner Soda is fucking awful.