Dining / The best of the burger boom

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Mookie burgers, beef (left) and crispy chicken. Photo by Maddie McGuigan

THERE’S a burger boom happening in the capital. Burgers have always been on menus but more burger joints (I use the term loosely) are opening and more eateries are focusing on sexy burgers, not just any old burgers.

Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson.

That includes Mookie in the city (relatively new), which dishes up burgers with a twist in a venue with great vibe and a punch colour palette, featuring purples, fuchsias and oranges). Cool design features. Bright. Airy. Inviting.

Mookie’s groove is that it is “inspired by the nature of precision embedded into Japanese culture and the pursuit of flavour that captivates America”.

Order at the counter, grab a buzzer which sports fun sayings (ours told us to loosen our belts, which is fabulous advice) and settle in.

It’s Mookie’s execution that is top notch.

The beef burger features all-natural, grass-fed, free-range Black Angus beef ($11). It’s packed with flavour, slightly pink (medium rare) and so beautifully moist. The lettuce and tomato were fresh and special Mookie sauce delightful. The quality means no greasy after taste (so horrible) or the feeling you’ve got a massive burger stuck at the bottom of your gut. Mookie’s beef burgers are hormone and antibiotic free. You can tell the difference and the three of us declared it Canberra’s best beef burger.

The KFC-style chicken burgers are amazing ($11). RSPCA approved and no hormones. Mookie says they only source chicken from primary producers. As with all burgers, patties are made daily and cooked to order (some places precook and then just top off, which isn’t nearly as nice). The chilli mayo was a dynamite addition.

Vegetarians and vegans are taken care of with mushroom burgers ($13) and a tofu patty burger ($11). The gluten-free option is a cheeseburger minus the bun ($10.50). It’s encased in two slices of lettuce – clever presentation. Burgers sit neatly in cool paper pockets (neat Japanese style) on a tray lined with paper.

Maple bacon fries… sweet-potato fries loaded with maple-braised bacon lardons and topped with chives and sweet paprika. Photo by Maddie McGuigan

Totally decadent are the maple bacon fries ($12.50). I was born and bred in Canada so anything with maple syrup commands my attention. These sweet-potato fries are loaded with maple-braised bacon lardons and topped with chives and sweet paprika. Dare you to eat an entire serve. I’d collapse.

Although we didn’t indulge, my bet is that Mookie’s frozen custard, made fresh onsite every day, would be delish. It promises to be dense, rich and creamy.

Burgers and beers go together like peas in a pod. Mookie features local brews and Japanese varieties. We were disappointed there was no wine.

The outdoor dining area is massive and perked up with greenery in pots. Perch yourself at a communal table and watch the world go by.

Mookie, 21 Genge Street, Civic. Call 6147 4887. Open 11 am til late everyday.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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