Manly is a suburb which behaves as if it is perpetually on spring break. The natives walk around in swimwear, or barely covered up in resortwear. Seriously. I saw girls in neoprene bikinis at the intersection, guys in boardshorts, and then there were the men walking through the Corso in swimming shorts that looked like underwear. Sometimes you just have to avert your eyes. There are ice-cream stands, juice stands and hot dog stands. There were toddlers playing in fountains, and buskers singing. It’s a happy, shiny, chilled out place.
All 4 Manly Council carparks have two hour free parking, which makes for a nice little excursion. BL and I go to Manly for really just one thing, – the ridiculously sublime Brookvale Union ginger beer at 4 Pines Brewery. We haul home a case at a time, great value at $60. And when we are there, we try out lunch spots.
We were hunting for Chur Burger at Manly Wharf Hotel, right by the ferry terminal, not realising that the pop-up was over, and in its place was now Burger Liquor Lobster. Still, this was tasty enough, that I convinced BL to make a repeat visit.The counter for Burger Liquor Lobster is separate from the main Manly Wharf Hotel counter, go to the far right end and you’ll see this tiny outpost.
The menu is simple, 5 burger options for $10 each, $16 cocktail options, $15 lobster, prawns and crab options. There are also side options of fries and salads. There is no table service, you order at the counter, and the pager will let you know when your order is ready to be picked up from the kitchen counter. The first visit, BL and I ordered a beef burger, a crab burger and a lobster cobb salad to share. These don’t look big, but they are filling enough.
The beef burger patty is cooked medium, and dressed with smoked tomato chutney, cheddar, onions, pickles and American mayo. This was pretty damn good. The burger is nicely chargrilled, flavoursome and all the additions added to the taste. (Apologies, I made a hack job of cutting this).
The crispy soft shell crab in the crab burger was excellent. Light, crispy, crabby, and complemented by the Asian slaw and chilli sauce. (I have a huge bee in my bonnet about calling this ‘Asian’ slaw. Seriously. Asia spans many countries; it even covers Turkey and Yemen.)
The lobster cobb salad are chunks of salt and pepper lobster with iceberg salad, egg, crispy morsel of bacon, corn and tomato, with a light blue cheese dressing. Not quite a traditional cobb, best to call it a chunky salad. The lobster is crispy, not sure I could discern a lobster taste, even though it was tender.
At our second visit, we returned to the crab burger, and added the lamb burger and the popcorn lobster. The crab burger was as tasty as previously. This time, the crabs with the all legs akimbo made for a nice presentation.
The lamb burger patty was a touch overcooked, but still succulent and flavoursome. The pickled red onion complemented the savouriness of the lamb, as did the feta and mint and rosemary sauce. I really liked this; it was simple and delicious.
The only downside I can see with these burgers is the bun. The bun is could-have-come-from-the-local-supermarket soft white bread.
The lobster popcorn consisted of chunks of deep-fried lobster with iceberg lettuce salad. The main drawcard here is the texture of the crispy batter, crunchy lettuce, pulled together by the lemon aioli. I use the lettuce cup, and roll everything in it, and eat with my fingers.
The location is perfect, you can relax and watch the ferry rumble in, the sail boats race across the sea and enjoy the sunny skies. Throw in a decent burger and a ice-cold drink, and you’ve got the makings of a splendid afternoon.
Burger Liquor Lobster
Manly Wharf Hotel
East Esplanade, Manly
Ph: 02-9977 1266
Mon-Fri 11:30am – midnight, Sat 11am – 1am, Sun 11am – midnight