A backyard burger bar is shaking things up on Oxford Street
We love a works burger – a big roll barely able to contain an edible rainbow of beetroot, pineapple, egg, lettuce, tomato, cheese, onions and beef. But a burger pared back to the key elements – beef, cheese, pickles, mustard – has a special place in our heart that no amount of salad can shift. This is the burger you get when you visit Cheekyburger Bar, a Paddington grillhouse with back-yard vibes and a hip-hop soundtrack.
In fact, the playlist is so good it almost feels like they opened a burger place just to have somewhere to play it. Kanye’s ‘Clique’ follows Outkast’s ‘So Fresh, So Clean’. The Roots cool things down with ‘Make My’ and then Redman and Method Man heat them up again. The American accents on the stereo are echoed in the framed baseball, boxing and football photos on the wall, cans of Coors and PBR in the ice bath, and Miller on tap. If you prefer domestic lagers to those transatlantic imports, there are VB tinnies and Reschs schooners for the asking.
The space is split in two. The front area, facing the street, is a burger shed designed for food on the fly. The walls are lined in corrugated iron, the tables are bolted to the floor and there are plenty of stools lining the narrow bench on one wall.
But if you plan to stay a while, hold out for a table out the back where the vibe is more weekend barbecue than fast food joint. The semi-enclosed courtyard is the sort of place where you could while away an evening over tall beers, thickshakes and little enamel dishes packed with well-seasoned guacamole for $12 a go.
Beneath the watchful eye of the busty waitress mural they’ve got a dartboard in action, NBA games on the outdoor flatscreen and big umbrellas in case the weather turns on you and you’ve locked down one of the outdoor picnic benches instead of a red booth under the awning.
The sweet, glossy milk buns do a better job holding together a single cheeseburger than the double, so visit on a Tuesday when you can get two serves of the knobbly beef patties dressed in melted cheese and pickle ribbons for the price of one. You can order a root beer, Snapple or cherry soda here, but our cash is going towards more of the silky thickshakes generously laced with sweet chocolate syrup. Next time we’ll opt for a second round of the hot wings with blue cheese sauce rather than the under-seasoned mac and cheese, and on Wednesdays don’t overlook the fried chicken sandwich with coleslaw special.
Cheekyburger isn’t dishing up life-changing burgers, but they are carving out a distinct place for themselves in an area dominated by pubs and fine diners – no small feat. Head here on a Tuesday for half-price burgers, sign up for the all-you-can-eat wing challenge if that’s your idea of a good time, or put this on your hangover saviours list, because they do brunch on weekends from 11am-4pm. Nice.
312 Oxford St
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sat 11am-11pm; Sun 11am-10pm|