Having followed their evolution from one of Adelaide's original food trucks in 2011, to a bricks and mortar store in 2013, I decided it was well past time I stopped in to try the new (and a bit controversial) menu at Burger Theory.
Fresh from a store refit and a bold menu change in January, the store is bright and busy with a cool outdoor seating area on Ebenezer Place where you can soak up the trendsetting vibes in this very fashionable little precinct of the city. Ordering is easy and the staff are friendly. Order your food and collect your drink and table buzzer at the counter. When your burger is ready your little table buzzer will go off to alert you to collect your order.
Now, about that menu change. Was it crazy of them to ditch most of their menu choices in favour of a single burger patty made mostly from kangaroo meat? The owners have taken a gamble and opted for a new theory of sustainability when it comes to burger patties.
Their signature patty (named 'Smashface') is mostly kangaroo mince. It's about twenty percent beef to hold it together. I'd say you won't notice any difference in taste to an all-beef patty and it's apparently a far more sustainable form of meat (as it comes from culled kangaroos, rather than farmed cattle). They've taken the experiment with native food one step further and introduced the native karkalla plant as their pickle which doesn't look anything like traditional pickle, but tastes the same.
In another controversial move, Burger Theory imports its burger bun all the way from the USA. The Martins Potato Roll is soft and springy, holds the burger and doesn't slip around, and has a sweet taste without being too sweet. According to the owners, this was simply the bun they had to have, and I agree. The combination is a top-notch flavour experience. These guys test burger theory all the time. They even have a special technique for how the patty hits the grill when cooked, so leave it to the experts and just enjoy their excellent burgers. Perhaps wisely, they've kept their vego option and a falafel patty burger is available.
The menu is simple. There's only four burgers. What could go wrong? First, there's the 'Truckburger' with cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato and mayo. Then there's the classic 'Cheeseburger' with cheese, ketchup, mustard, onion and karkalla. A simple hamburger (meat and ketchup), and a falafel burger with tomato, lettuce and mayo round out the menu and you can get them all with chips and a soft drink for under $14. The burgers may be a bit on the small side but it's worth trying the experimental and wildly successful flavour combination. It's also worth it to support local businesses in doing something different and much tastier than some other burgers.
The 'Truckburger' and the 'Cheeseburger' can be doubled if you're really hungry. The chips are OK but not amazing, they do offer sauce to go with them but they're just not as amazing as the burgers. Soft drinks and a small range of beers and ciders are available to wash it all down. The sweet stuff includes milkshakes, ice cream cups, and Giant Twins ice cream bars.
Classic cheeseburger but with a mostly kangaroo mince patty, native karkalla 'pig-face' pickles, and an American bun. Delicious!
Burger Theory now sports three outlets. One at the University of Adelaide, one at Flinders University, and their original home (post food-truck and Pearls Diner era) on Union St just off Rundle St. Sure, they may need to think about expanding their range, but if you prefer quality over quantity then Burger Theory is a must-try. Head on down and enjoy another amazing Adelaide food experiment before they come up with a new theory.
Burger Theory on Union St is open 11am 9pm Mon-Thu, and 11am 10pm Fri-Sat.