The northern end of Nicholson Street still has a quiet suburban feel to it, so Pickle’s arrival to the strip didn’t mean queues materialised for the burger shop. Instead, the opening has been welcomed by locals, who visit the corner eatery next to the Capital City trail after bike rides or with post-soccer practice kids in tow.
Pickle owners Anna Rogers and Gaby Zakharia have kept the menu short; there are ten burger options plus a small kid’s one that comes with a juice box. The cheeseburger (a steal at $7.90) comes with no adornments apart from Heinz mustard, ketchup, pickles and a melted plastic cheese slice. The patty is well seasoned, juicy and properly caramelised on the grill and the sesame seed brioche buns used for all Pickles’ burgers are from Ovens Street Bakery in Brunswick and have the shiny toasted tan of a Brazilian model’s legs.
The pulled pork burger has a welcome kick of heat to it. It comes with a slaw that’s sparingly dressed to make room for the extra sauces from the sweet barbecue pulled pork and Sriracha mayo, and you get an extra burn from the jalapeno poppers – if only they were available as a side.
Get the Bruce Lee if you can, a beef burger on some Asian slaw and crowned with the famous South Melbourne Market dim sim, fried to market-fresh levels. Here they cut up the fist-sized dimmie into more manageable pieces, so it can sit on the cheese-topped patty. The combo works if you’re after a nostalgic hit: the pork dimmies, usually served with soy sauce and Sriracha, is a little on the bland side on its own, but together with the patty the whole thing is a salty, juicy meat stack with a bit of spice from the Sriracha mayo.
Pickle used to be a bike workshop, but these days it looks more like a chip shop, with a few indoor seats and an open kitchen so you can hear and smell the sizzling grill. If you can grab one of the 18 seats at the venue, order a spiked milkshake for a grown-up version of the childhood favourite. There’s a dessert-worthy Kahlua, espresso and vanilla bean number and a Bailey’s and chocolate version that you can make dairy-free with coconut milk and coconut ice cream. If you felt like something stronger, an extra shot costs less than a fiver.
Beyond the dim sim burger, Pickle isn’t really trying to shake the boat. It’s a mum-and-pop store that’s offering locals quick, cheap burgers that keep you coming back. Welcome to the neighbourhood.