Fast forward

Mention fast food and burgers are probably the first thing that come to mind. But fast does not mean boring and unhealthy – and some of the city’s burger joints are adding twists to their offerings to prove just that.

Central office workers will have seen the new dining spot Aussie Grill by Outback, which spans an expansive two floors with 120 seats at the Entertainment Building.

With a bold orange and black escalator entrance and an easy grab-and-go counter on the ground floor, the youthful concept extends its relaxed Aussie-style to an open kitchen and a laid-back interior design of wooden tables and bright orange modern-industrial decor.

But most important is the menu, which was designed by veteran chef Efrem Cutler and features USDA beef and market-fresh veggies.

“Customers looking for speed, affordable prices and convenience without sacrificing quality will enjoy an adventure to savor, pushing flavor boundaries with a uniquely distinct and deliciously different bold, flavorful and memorable menu we would be proud to serve,” said Cutler.

The signature bacon bomb burger (HK$98) is a treat for both the stomach and eyes. It is topped with Mexican jalapeno peppers, bacon onion jam, crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, house-made pickles and aioli sauce. With its faint hint of spiciness, the jalapeno perfectly balances the greasy fatty bacon out.

The main menu also includes the braised pork sandwich (HK$98), crispy shrimp sandwich and Impossible melt sandwich (both HK$108) to accommodate a range of tastes. Or spice it up with the crispy sriracha chicken burger (HK$88).

Indulgent salads, including the US wagyu sirloin (HK$128) with 6oz of sliced steak dressed with peppercorn sauce and arugula garnish, tangy Aussie ribs (HK$98) and grilled salmon (HK$108), feature as side dishes but may be enough on their own for those with small appetites.

The familiar handcrafted kettle chips, fries and roasted veggies are also available as an add-on with the meals.

And of course, a meal is incomplete without dessert. Take your pick from options ranging from the irresistible mini chocolate Thunder from Down Under (HK$48), a house-made brownie wickedly topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate crunch and chocolate sauce, and more.

Just down the street, Beef & Liberty at California Tower at Lan Kwai Fong is offering something new and time-limited in its collaboration with sustainable food activist and renowned chef Peggy Chan.

Available until February 28, The Aftershroom (HK$118) features a breaded Lion’s Mane mushroom patty slathered with a slaw made using kimchi from Green Common. The homemade “veganaise” balances the sweet and spicy yangnyeom sauce, while the butter lettuce adds a refreshing crunchy texture. All of this is nestled between two toasted vegan sweet potato buns, making for a curiously light yet intensely flavorful burger packed with health benefits.

Another delicious and healthy choice – but only until February 21 – is the beetroot burger (HK$99), which features a patty with shredded beetroot, brown rice, kidney beans and cumin, topped with whipped feta, beetroot slices and spring green mix.

If you are still in a Lunar New Year mood, local burger brand Honbo offers a mix of East and West with its oxtail sandwich (HK$158), a play on traditional Chinese braised oxtail.

The potato roll-sub is packed with tender braised oxtail with a sunny-side-up golden yolk egg, with piquant white onions cutting through the meat’s mouth-watering fattiness. The underappreciated cut of beef is rich in flavor and its high collagen content ensures exceptional texture.

Another all-American sandwich, the Philly cheesesteak (HK$98), is designed to celebrate the Super Bowl, with the potato roll-sub packed with 100 grams of tender hand-sliced double gold chuck flap, bell peppers, creamy cheese and onion.

Both sandwiches are available until the end of this month.

Shake Shack goers may notice something new on the chicken menu that allows you to add a twist to your regular meal. The long-awaited Chick’n Bites are crispy pieces of chicken breast served in sets of six (HK$37) or 10 (HK$52), with a choice of BBQ or honey mustard sauce for dipping.

Made to order with all-natural, antibiotic-free whole muscle, the chicken is sous-vide cooked – making them extra juicy, flavorful and tender – before being breaded in flour, cayenne and paprika and crisp-fried.

(This article was published at The Standard on February 19, 2021: Weekend Glitz: Fast forward )

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