While every burger place is thinking about what's in the burger, Manly's BunBar is obsessed with the bun. Whether it be a crispy, grilled rice patty, a soft AF bun (the result of an accident baking bao buns) or a felafel burger with two "buns" made of felafels!
The trio behind Bun Bar come from different backgrounds. The first has a food background - Gary Linz is one of the original founders of Oporto in Australia who sold the business in 2005. Deanna Bechara comes from a construction and project management background while Steve Grant is from property development sales. Their idea was to be a disruptor in the burger arena, a category saturated with offerings.
Being Manly, they have to cater for all dietaries so the menu has options for vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and keto. The buns range from a traditional wheat bun to a gluten free rice patty bun or lettuce leaves which have proved to be so popular they are releasing a separate lettuce bun menu.
Pina Colada Slushie, Aperol Spritz Slushie $9.95 each
We start with some drinks on this hot summer night, a Pina Colada slushie and a Aperol Spritz slushie, both absolutely perfect for the weather and very drinkable. There's also a vegan frappe made with almond milk, vegan powder and Nutella although this could be a bit more intensely chocolatey.
Choc'a'damia Smoothie $6.95
Beef Brisket Burger Soft AF bun $11.95
The most popular burger is the beef brisket on the soft AF bun with pickles, cheese, coleslaw, chilli drizzle, grilled onions and burger sauce. The bun was originally a steamed bao bun that they accidentally baked. They found that it was super soft and downy (and apparently the AF stands for "and fluffy"). As for the filling, the beef brisket is cooked for them by a butcher in St Peters. It is slow cooked for 20 hours and then the sauces are a combination of the Oporto chilli sauce, Hurricane's ribs bbq sauce and a Lebanese garlic sauce. The meat is soft and melting and there's plenty of sauce although if the brisket is smoked, it's not obvious and that's one thing perhaps missing for brisket traditionalists.
Felafel Burger $12.50
Much has been said about the felafel burger. They're proud of their invention. For the bun component they use flattened felafels that are deep fried and then filled with cucumber, tomato, tabouli, red cabbage, lettuce, pickles and tahini. The initial feedback was that it was good but needed sauce so they've added lashings of it. Yes it drips-make sure to have napkins handy for this.
Lettuce Burger $11.95
Sauce is a big thing here from chimichurri drizzle on the beef burger to the chilli sauce that may just have you thinking that it tastes familiar. "We wanted to bring back the original Oporto's chicken burger," says Gary who bets that anyone that tries their chilli sauce will recognise the original chilli sauce (although Bun Bar's has shallots in it). And a little tip: get a little pot of this chilli sauce for your fries.
Beef on Rice Bun $11.95
The rice bun is different from the rice bun at Gojima. BunBar's rice bun isn't deep fried, it's made on a grill press. This means that is isn't as crisp nor does it stay together as cohesively.
Grilled Chicken Rice Bun $11.95
Everyone has a favourite burger combination. For me it's the rice bun with the grilled chicken. This really brings out the chilli sauce, pickles (lovely sweet bread and butter pickles), lettuce, cheese, spring onions and mayonnaise. Funnily enough the grilled chicken burger in the soft AF bun is also good but the bun almost obscures the chilli sauce while the rice brings it out.
Beef Soft AF Bun $11.95 and Homestyle Fries $5.95
My second favourite burger is the regular beef patty made with Angus beef on a soft AF bun. There's plenty of sauce, onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato, cheese, chimichurri drizzle and burger sauce and you can really feel the soft bun in action.
In terms of sides, there is just fries and these are skin on fries that are crisp and you can have these either with the chilli mayo or tomato sauce (or get a pot of that delicious chilli sauce). There's no dessert but being Manly there are many places to get a gelato or ice cream nearby.
So tell me Dear Reader, which type of bun do you like the sound of? And what is your favourite burger filling? Are you into saucy burgers or do you prefer them less saucy?
This meal was independently paid for.
2-8 Darley Road, Sydney, Australia 2095
0422 815 280
Open 7 days 12pm-11pm ssss