The premise behind Brisbane's new gourmet burger bar Hello Harry is a simple one - good food, fresh and fast. This funky new offering set amid the boutique shops and eateries of Portside Wharf opened in mid-May to much fanfare, with two sister burger joints by the same name already open (and much loved) on the Sunshine Coast.
Owners including chef Tony Kelly describes the Hello Harry concept as a reflection of his last 18 years' cooking at the pointy end of the restaurant industry. His goal? To use fresh produce and finely crafted cooking techniques to create delicious burgers at a great price - no nonsense, no fluff.
The menu offers a selection of mouth-watering burgers, including the popular classic grass fed beef burger with cheese, pickles, and home made jam ($10) through to the crispy pork belly with wombok, fresh mint, roasted peanuts and sticky soy sauce ($14). If you want accompaniments like chips, onion rings, salad, sweet potato fries or house made slaw, you'll need to order them separately.
Milkshakes including Nutella, strawberry and salted caramel (all $7) are on offer for kids both young and old; those with more sophisticated palates can enjoy on-tap beer and cider from Montieths, or select from a range of bottled beers, wines and spirits.
On opening day, I arrived before noon to a long line stretching out the door. This could have been a measure of the excitement and anticipation surrounding this new venue, but was more to do with the fact that a single cash register was in operation to service the entire 100-persons plus-capacity restaurant.
Perky staff wearing shirts with groovy slogans like 'You had me at bacon' and 'Who the f#*k is Harry?' were sent out to chat with waiting customers, presumably in a bid to help us forget we were waiting. One idle staffer, perhaps attempting to entertain us as the bottleneck at the cash register worsened, engaged in some awkward white boy dance. The couple behind me made a noisy decision to go elsewhere.
Hello Harry's burger chef hard at work. Author image.
I hung in there, willing to chalk it up to opening day nerves, or possibly the fact it was Friday 13th. I'm glad I stuck it out, because this delay was the only wrinkle in the whole experience.
My Louisiana pulled pork burger with bbq glaze and red cabbage slaw served on a soft brioche bun sprinkled with sesame seeds ($10) arrived swiftly, as did the chips with 'special seasoning' ($5). You can add cheese, green onions and bacon to the chips for an extra $3.
The space, too, is fresh and fabulous, with comfortable, colourful furniture and specially commissioned street art by Matt Clancy. Enjoy a postprandial bout of window shopping at Portside Wharf , or buy a ticket to one of the new releases at Dendy Cinemas, if you want to enhance your visit.