Charlie & Co burgers : recipe from Justin North

It’s no secret! I’m a fan of Justin North’s cooking! More than that though, I’m a fan of his ethos, and his support of a sustainable and local approach to food. Justin and Georgie North opened Plan B next to their Sydney restaurant Becasse to utilise all of the beef – nose to tail. The original North burgers – in their hole in the wall burger joint – were designed to not only be totally tasty but also to use those cuts of beef that weren’t used at their Becasse restaurant next door. The burgers were so popular that business people came from all over Sydney to eat them – sometimes sitting on milk crates outside the joint while wearing their suits. So, it was a no brainer that I’d say ‘yes’, when I was invited to pop along to see behind the scenes of the new burger joint Charlie & Co with Chef Justin North.

Do you want to know the story of how Charlie & Co was named? I love this story. In researching the hamburger for this new venture, Justin and Georgia North travelled as far back in time as Ghengis Khan when what could loosely be called a hamburger was beef that sat between the man and his saddle. Closer in time though was a character called Hamburger Charlie.

HE HAD A COUPLE OF FRYING PANS,
SOME COFFEE AND SOME BREAD,
AND A LOT OF BEEF ALL CHOPPED UP,
“FINE HAMBURGER,” HE SAID

HE WAS NEVER IN A HURRY
& HE ALWAYS WORE A SMILE

HE BORROWED TWENTY DOLLARS
AND CONTINUED ON THIS WAY.

Extract of poem by Romy Reynolds to celebrate
his friend Charlie’s 65th birthday, 1935.

And, extract also courtesy of Charlie & Co menu.

While Charlie was the inspiration for this luxury burger joint name, the “& Co” pays homage to all of the others who have a place in the story. There’s a trilogy to this tale too. Justin reminds me Charlie is also his son’s name. And, as he proudly shows the specially designed burger boxes for take out – he says that they are like the gold wrapper in the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (so there’s the 3rd Charlie … Charlie and The Chocolate Factory). Everything is thoughtful – the box has a shallow base to accommodate the burger and make for easier ‘on the move’ eating. Not that take out is the only option – there is also a licensed dine in area with gorgeous space and light that makes you forget you’re in the food court of a shopping mall.

Grass fed wagyu cheese burger

Serves 4 200g burgers

Burger mix

400g wagyu beef
100g wagyu fat
3 medium brown onions
30g unsalted butter
30ml Madeira (Malmsey)
Pinch salt and pepper
1 egg (beaten)
50g breadcrumbs
Cooking oil

Method

Mince the beef and fat together through the coarse blade of your mincer and place in the fridge. It is important to keep the mix cold at all times otherwise the mix will turn into a mushy paste.

Cut the onions into a rough dice and sauté until golden and caramelized in the butter. Deglaze with the Madeira and cool.
Add the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and egg together and mix well.

To check the seasoning, panfry a small piece of burger and taste.

Mould into patties and set in the refrigerator.

Sear in a hot pan and cook for 2 minutes on a moderately high heat, turn over and cook for 1 minute, add the cheese and cook for another minute.

Garnish (for each burger)

100g Brioche or sour dough bun
Salad leaves
Sliced cheddar
Sliced Beetroot
Mayonnaise

To Assemble

Split the buns in half and grill until evenly toasted add the cooked burger patty and garnishes to your liking and serve immediately.

One of the great things about Charlie & Co burgers is that the bread is made on the premises. In fact, early next year the bakery will also open in the next stage of the Westfields complex and you’ll be able to buy the bread too. You and I are really privileged – Inside Cuisine was first behind the scenes to see the bakery.

Behind the scenes I learnt more about the reason that Justin and Georgia North are able to expand. It’s about the people that are the team. The team from Etch and Becasse are lending a hand in the Charlie & Co kitchen as it gets started. Justin and Georgie build loyalty in their staff. In the bakery, I met a team member who has been with them for more than 10 years. This says as much about the people as it does about their food. The loyalty springs from the same nurturing spirit that I want from someone who cooks my food.

Whether or not you’re in the Sydney CBD why don’t you make a trip to Level 5 Westfields and try Charlie & Co for yourself.

Charlie & Co

Westfield Sydney
Level 5, Shop 509, Cnr Market & Castlereagh St
Sydney NSW 2000
+61 2 8072 7777

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Comments for this article

9 Responses to “Charlie & Co burgers : recipe from Justin North”

  1. Simon Food Favourites says:
    November 15, 2010 at 9:35 am

    certainly on my wish list to try although the reviews don’t seem to be overly popular. are the burgers overpriced or really worth it will need to be decided :-)

    • Rebecca Varidel
      Rebecca Varidel says:
      November 15, 2010 at 10:02 am

      wouldn’t be posted if I didn’t love ‘em – though I haven’t seen or heard anything other than positive. the meat is just unctuous on the fabulous bun! parmesan and truffle chips are the most luxurious decadence … give it a go I say Simon!!

  2. Marlo Perry says:
    November 15, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Everyone’s loving these burgers – the internet is abuzz with posts about Charlie & Co.

    Can’t wait to go back again :D

  3. Nic@diningwithastud says:
    November 15, 2010 at 10:03 am

    I went there today and can say thee wagyu burger is prob the best burger I’ve ever eaten. Def worth a visit

  4. Franz Scheurer says:
    November 16, 2010 at 2:13 am

    But did anyone try Justin North’s fantastic Crab Burger?

  5. Matt says:
    November 17, 2010 at 4:45 am

    Had a go, and thought they were good. I gotta say though that the chamberlain hotel has been doing this for a while and i’d probably stii go there as the burgers are bigger, better and less expensive

  6. Salpickering says:
    November 17, 2010 at 7:24 am

    get me there right away!! There’s nothing like a good, no a FANTASTIC burger.. prices on size don’t matter to me. :) I’m going to have a Charlie & Co feast. Thanks Rebecca!

  7. Y says:
    January 2, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Must try to visit at some point! I loved their wagyu burger at Plan B.

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