Freshwater is this little place on the Northern Beaches of New South Wales, a beach between Curl Curl and Queenscliff, a small suburb that used to be known as Harbord. It is less than a ten minute drive from Manly and is undergoing a hipster renaissance, if you will, it is a very tight-knit community and the food and drink scene is slowly becoming something the inner-city Newtownians would covet. It is embracing the boutique lifestyle with uber funky bar STOWAWAY and now the new, and amazing place in town, JB & SONS: BURGERS AND BOOZE.
Embracing the current craze for gourmet burgers and mixing it with funky food, jazz diner stylings, great staff, jazz tunes and wicked drinks JB & SONS is exactly what Sydney needs more of: quality opposed to quantity and more boutique places that allow you to have a fun time with mates, dates and even your family. It is only open in the evenings from 4pm (7 days) and this allows it to share the outdoor seating area with the cafe that uses it during the day. I was invited by good friend Karin for a post birthday surprise dinner as the woman knows me so well. I am burger obsessed and if you follow my instagram or are on the Fatties Burger Appreciation Society you know I eat a few a week to keep the addiction, and no doubt, waistline fed. No longer are burgers about whacking a patty, some lettuce, cheese, tomato and ketchup on a dry plain bun. It is all about quality now, the ideal ingredients, a perfectly moist bun, and then combined ingredients to lift the flavour game and keep the customer coming back.
The place does great alcohol and they stock local and overseas boutique beers, some on tap and some in “tinnies” and also do some wicked cocktails and also some high end wines. Every day they have a special on and Sundays are Happy Hour discount on a cocktail, this week’s, and the one we indulged in twice, SPICED MANDARIN SOUR – Dickel bourbon, all spice, fresh mandarin and lemonade. BLISS. Sundays could get very dangerous at this place :). We also partook in their own lager they have brewed locally, JB LAGER – highly recommend!!!
We decided to go the full splurge and try a lot of stuff. The guacomole was on special for $5 so we nibbled on these while we inhaled multiple Mandarin sours. Guac and corn chips were good! I had the Baja Fish Taco – battered white fish, tartare and slaw $5- it was quite average, fish was good but the thing needed a kick, I used the dipping sauce from Karin’s chilli poppers and this improved it greatly, maybe some optional chilli in the taco or some chipotle mayo lift its game. Now Karin’s Jalapeno Poppers (3pcs for $7-) stuffed with five cheese and chipotle were amazing – they had more than a standard kick – they had a horse kick to the face – bliss!
It was then time for burgerbliss!! They have five burger choices, your standard cheeseburger-like burger – THE JOHN, then they double this and add bacon and more salad for the THE PAPI (I partook in this one), then a chicken styled burger, SON OF A GUN (Karin had this one), a fish burger and a veggie option. It should also be noted that all the meat is sourced locally, next door in fact from award winning Freshwater Village Butchery & Smokehouse.
My burger, THE PAPI – Patty | Double Cheese | Smoked Bacon | Pickle | Iceberg | Tomato | Onion | Mustard | Aioli | Tomato Sauce ($14-) – was incredibly impressive. A superb flavour nugget, this was not a HUGE burger, it was manageable with incredible structural integrity. The patty was perfect and seasoned simply to allow the meat to speak for itself, it yelled the word “awesome” right down my throat. Bacon was great, pickles (a true winner for me), onions and sauces and tomato worked wonders. With beers this was a near-perfect burger BUT – I did not like the Iceberg lettuce on it. It was too chunky and needed to be sliced thin or a different lettuce used. Both burgers came on a sesame seed bun that was fresh and matched the size of the patty to perfection – good news – there is also gluten free bread option and paleo lettuce cup options. I would award this one a 4.35/5 pickle rating.
Karin’s burger – SON OF A GUN – Southern Fried Chicken | Old Bay Slaw | Pickle | Hot Sauce Mayo ($15) was equally impressive and had beautiful flavours, most noticeably was the cinnamon flavour in the chicken coating. I will order this one myself next time, only had one bite of this. Karin loved it – we will award a 4.3/5 pickle rating.
The burgers are on the money and easy competition for the burger wars encompassing Sydney at the moment. They are no Josh’s burgers from Danno’s. These are smaller but still packing punch. Josh’s are flavour round house kicks and at times burgers the size of your head. They both have their place and I am so glad I live ten minutes drive from both of them.
The winning factor for this is they are open at night time, something I may have overheard Danno’s are looking at for summer, but whereas Danno’s is a cafe, this is a burger and booze diner and its decor, tunes and staff suit it all, the place oozes style. The other huge winner for us here was the service, we had this beautiful Marilynesque waitress covered in tats, she was gorgeous and stopped by for a chat every 10-15mins and was happy to discuss everything with us.
But wait, we ate even more……………………………
DESSERT GAME WAS HIGH!!!
SUNDAE – Chocolate Ice Cream | Vanilla Ice Cream | Oreo | Pretzel | Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup | Salted Caramel Sauce ($12). This dessert was EPIC – the pretzels won for Karin with their salty crunch, for me, the whole thing needed to be 200 times larger and filling my bath so I could bathe in it and not leave until I had absorbed the entire thing. Anything that has Reese’s in it is a winner for me. This thing was decadent and totes jizz worthy. The entire family will beg for this one!!
Do yourself a favour and head Northside – it will change your world. The venue is not huge and it has only been opened for two weeks but was still bustling and packed last night with an eclectic mix of families, seniors, hipsters, model types and even a lady who looked like a witch – everyone will fit in. And to keep things down in costs – hit up their website and suss out the specials – JB & SONS. 4 SPOON VENUE FOR ME :).