Jovan Curic has announced the closure of his pioneering burger joint Pub Life Kitchen after nine years of trade.
Before places like Mary’s and Bar Luca burst onto the Sydney burger scene, PLK was flipping and grilling both American-style cheeseburgers and decked out franken-burgers to legions of fans. Starting out as a pop-up at the Woollahra Hotel and Macquarie Hotel, Curic’s wildly popular operation found a permanent home at Ultimo’s Lord Wolesley Hotel in 2014, where they’ve been serving locals, workers and uni students some of the city’s best burgers ever since.
One of their biggest drawcards has been Burger Experiment Wednesdays, when Curic throws together a one-off creation that isn’t afraid to get a little funky, with past incarnations including a fried chicken burger with frozen orange segments, shaved iceberg lettuce and chocolate chilli sauce inside a doughnut bun. For the last Experiment Wednesday on October 11, they’re promising “a real doozy - the biggest, most extravagant experiment Jovan’s ever attempted”.
Pub Life Kitchen also deserves kudos for showing Sydney that vegetarian burgers could be better than the dusty chickpea patties of the past - their panko herb crumbed portobello shroom burger with cheese, slaw and blue cheese jalepeño mayo burger stands up to any meat number in the juicy stakes, while a previous variation in which a huge slab of deep fried cheese slathered with cranberry jam acted as the patty showed just how willing Curic is to dance the fine line between genius and insanity.
Part of the reason for closing is that in recent years Curic has shifted focus out west, where his other burger joint in Wakeley, Superior Burger, has gained a fast and furious following. He’s expanded the brand to a food truck called the Superior Express, operating out of a fully restored 1950s Austin bus, and plans to open a 120 seat Serbian bistro in Western Sydney next year.
It’s good to know that Curic’s cooking isn’t going to be far from reach, but we’ll sure miss getting our hands dirty in the Lord Wolseley’s delightfully homey dining room, complete with checkered tablecloths and retro art on the walls - you don’t get that from a food truck.
Pub Life Kitchen’s last day of trade is October 14 at the Lord Wolesley Hotel, Ultimo.
Need to fill the Pub Life Kitchen-shaped hole in your heart? Give the ones in our round-up of the best burgers in Sydney a go.