I get asked a lot about what food is like in Australia and the truth is I don’t really have a great response. That’s because it is hard to define what Australian food even is. When I think of home cooking, I think of South East Asian cuisine. A trip down to your neighbourhood BYO Thai restaurant is almost as Australian as having a barbecue with your mates on a Sunday arvo.
I’ve lived outside of Australia for so long that it wasn’t until last week when I visited Gourmet Burger Bar that I remembered Australia also has its own version of a burger.
“I can’t find canned beetroot anywhere,” said the owner, Darren Crocket after I told him how happy I was to see the Aussie burger on the menu.
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of putting away one of these things, a full Aussie burger comes with bacon, beetroot, fried egg and a sliced pineapple.
Darren hails from Victoria, Australia. He and his wife Catalina met in Hamburg where they were originally going to open up a restaurant before one of their business partners pulled out. After considering their options, they decided to open up burger joint in Bogota, where Catalina grew up.
Even though Gourmet Burger just turned four months old, it’s clear that this labour of love is already generating a buzz in the barrio of Villas de Madrigal (Right next to Portal 80).
It’s a neat little spot with an unpretentious, family vibe. I arrived early so the lunch crowd had only just begun arriving but I could picture the place filled with hungry patrons of all ages. It was a nice change of pace from the typical hipster vibe one is used to seeing in Chapinero Alto or the Zona Rosa.
A mere five minutes passed before a family arrived and Darren was called to his place behind the grill which sits right in the middle of the restaurant. We spoke as he began to flip meat patties over the smoky grill.
While Gourmet Burger is doing good business, Darren explained to me his minor struggles of tailoring his product for the Colombian crowd. Whilst Colombians love to eat just like any other, the locals here aren’t the most open-minded diners in the world. For example, drinking beer or wine with a meal is common practice down under but in Colombia, people tend to go with soft drink or fresh juice as their beverage of choice.
Despite the unexpected menu adjustments Darren and Catalina have had to make, business appears to be doing well and at the end of the day, as long as the burgers are good, they will continue to see crowds flock in.
My burger arrived quickly and was chewed up and thrown down my belly even quicker. The meat was cooked to perfection and I was blown away by how a slice of pineapple was able to have me feeling nostalgic.
I’ll be honest in saying that it felt like a mini-mission to get out to Portal 80 but if the burger is good, the distance travelled seems like a minor detail. I am happy to report that the journey out there was well worth it.
Bogota is a big and chaotic city that always seems to tire its residents out. So much so that I would say most of the people in the city rarely make an effort to visit new barrios and discover great restaurants like Gourmet Burger Bar. Venturing out west is something I don’t normally do but I got to meet a fellow Aussie, get some home cooking and discover a new and vibrant barrio.
If you are shopping around for a new burger joint then make sure you add Gourmet Burger Bar to your extensive list for a taste of something new.
Gourmet Burger Bar
Carrera 100B #77B-05
Madrigal (Just a short walk from Portal 80 Station)
Price Range : $8,000-14,000