Dreamer, wordsmith, mum of two - I enjoy the outdoors, good food and good company. Subscribe to my articles to follow what I've been up to, and like those articles you want to see more of so I can tailor what I write to my audience.
I felt a slight sense of disorientation and amazement when I passed through the threshold of Bridge St Garage in the City, like I'd stepped back in time and crossed into a different continent, something like Marty McFly may have experienced when he travelled back in time in Back to the Future.
Bridge St Garage is effortlessly cool in a devil-may-care kind of way - a converted Sydney car garage that's been transformed into an American-style bar and diner. You've got the shiny plastic interiors, the fluorescent lights, the cool booths and bar stools - but just above the shiny white tiles which line the wall, you can still see the remnants of the garage which it used to be - peeling off-white paint, exposed plumbing, an old sign for Texaco. I feel hesitant saying this because I don't feel like I'm qualified to put this label on anything, but this place just feels trendy.
Bridge St Garage interior, picture from their website
In addition, for the sports fans out there, there are big screen TVs here showing American football matches, NFL, gridiron etc (apparently they support the 49ers throughout the NFL season).
They seem to have an active social calendar full of entertaining events staged at the bar - for example, they have something planned for Halloween, which will include playing cult horror flicks on the big screen and accompanied with horrifying food, such as the donut burger (which is very apt - see my review below), BBQ ribs served in cut out pumpkins (cute!) and trick or treat desserts, and facepainting. All served by waitstaff dressed up as zombies.
They also have a special screening and lunch planned for the Melbourne Cup, and regular free samples from their deli menu with any purchase of a craft beer, wine or cocktail on Wednesday and Thursdays between 5pm and 7pm.
The Food Located opposite the ASX, its visitors at lunchtime are mostly suits. The food is fabulous - a mixture of New York style sandwiches, burgers, tacos and cured meats. The chef is Argentinian - Oscar Gorosito, and as stated in the bar's website, aims to "provide a Latin American twist on the American-style bar and diner".
deep fried chicken, from their website
tacos, picture from their website
I was very impressed by the quality of the food we ate when we came here. Everything off the menu was excellent. Of course, I had to go and order the special of the week, because I'm a sucker for weird food. So I got this.
Donut burger - urgh. I ate it all, but I wouldn't recommend you do the same.
I did ask the waiter if it was any good before I ordered it. He convinced me that it wasn't too sweet, and was delicious. Well, I ate it and felt strong guilt pangs for subjecting my health to this monstrosity. It's a burger using donuts instead of buns, people. That's just wrong from the outset.
To be fair, the burgermeat itself was wonderful - juicy, flavoursome and made from freshly minced steak - the sauce was also finger-lickin' good. The lettuce was crisp. The tomato, bursting with flavour. However, as I bit into it, I could feel myself edging closer towards diabetes as the sugar from the donut caked around my mouth and a little rivulet of oil ran down my jowls. WHY would you put donuts around a burger? (I also should confess that I ate up every last bite). I maintain that it was an unnatural beast that should never been created. An evolutionary aid, pushing those stupid enough to order it closer towards deaths by heart attack. Be thankful it's no longer on the menu so you're safe from being subjected to the horror that it is. Except, aptly, I just realised they've put it on their Halloween menu as a special.
If you're open-minded and like taking culinary risks, their ever changing specials menu can be a daring plunge into unchartered territory (or not. Currently, their advertised special is crispy skinned salmon, which sounds pretty normal to me. I suspect they mix it up, so their experiments are interleaved with classics to ensure people don't get too many shocks to their palates). Having only visited once, it would be presumptuous for me to pretend to be an authority on their specials range. All I can say is that their donut burger didn't work for me - but it was certainly something I'd never tried or seen anywhere else.
Deli Board at Bridge St Garage, picture from their website
From reading other reviews, Bridge St Garage has some great successes with their specials - but also a number of failures. And from what other reviews indicate, complaints about the food will get an apology - but no offers of replacement. Which, I think, fits in with the general attitude of this place - it is what it is, take it or leave it. And there's nothing wrong with that.
This place is edgy. Give it a whirl if you like something a bit different, a place which is full of energy and a sense of fun. It's got a really vibrant, lively feel to it - the specials are constantly changing, and they're not afraid to experiment - whether diners enjoy it or not. There is something charming about its arrogant nonchalance - I will be back.
Sydneyfunmum, it's a shame we couldn't convert you on the donut burger...Maybe another one of our future Burger specials will. We take reviews very seriously and so on many occasion we'll reach out privately. As I don't have your contact details, we're reaching out to say thank you! The next time you're wandering down Bridge Street come in and say hi, we'd love to meet you and share some of our exciting new luxury burger ideas!