From North Sydney to Annandale and now to Darlinghurst, Josh Arthurs (the head of nomadic business Burgers by Josh) knows exactly how to whip burger enthusiasts into a frenzy. The queues his burgers attract are as legendary as the burgers themselves, and that’s not looking to change anytime soon with his most central kitchen takeover to date. High demand has pushed Arthurs to Hotel William in Darlinghurst, making his sought-after burgers even more accessible for what will be an even longer residency than both his time atop Greenwood Plaza and at Annandale Hotel.
For now, BBJ will be rooted in the Hotel William kitchen for the next two months with a vague possibility of even more time pumping out quality burgers at the popular venue. It’s quite unceremonious and unpretentious for a man who commands the level of hunger and demand many restaurateurs dream of, taking place behind a cheap looking wooden table at which diners collect their orders at the back of the hotel. The front of house and bar is all handled by the regular Hotel William team, and it functions like nothing has changed. There are the lonely arcade machines spread across the floor and an abundance of stools and tables, while sport games are broadcast on the multiple television screens; this is very much a casual pub experience, just with Burgers by Josh an added bonus.
There’s craft beer on tap and cocktails over at the bar, where burger fiends can also place their orders. BBJ menus are plastered on the walls of the pub, featuring the four core items Arthurs has become best known for, along with sides like Jurassic Fries ($10), which is a basket of twice-fried thin fries with sweet house-made liquid cheese and primo sauce, and Scorpio Popcorn Chicken ($9), spicy Southern Fried Chicken bites with special sorpio sauce. Plain fries will set you back just $4 (large serving $8) and there’s some of Josh’s perfect twice-fried Onion Rings ($9) served with dipping sauce as well.
The relatively straight forward J Burger ($14) is the go-to here for most people (at least it was at the launch) with the irresistible stack of Josh’s signature Wagyu blend, American cheddar, J sauce (similar to chipotle), Westmont pickles, iceberg, and tomato, on what he claims is Sydney’s softest is milk bun. The staple burger is dwarfed by the necessary Infamous Primo ($19) which has become one of Arthurs’ most popular creations, a towering marvel built with double Wagyu blend patty, double American cheddar, “crispy AF” bacon, iceberg, Westmont pickled jalapenos, and onion rings on a milk bun; it’s intense and sloppy with a tad bit too much sauce, but your taste buds won’t complain.
Arthurs has also brought over the popular Scorpio ($14), which is his fried chicken burger offering with spicy Southern Fried fillet, South West slaw, Westmont pickled jalapenos, and scorpio sauce, more than a few fiery kicks to the belly. The vegetarians in the house have a champion with the Lisa Simpson ($14) which is a J Burger sans meat with twice-cooked field mushrooms.
The Lisa Simpson
Of course, Arthurs isn’t a chef to rest on his laurels and he regularly comes out with new specials all the time, so for the (at least) two months that BBJ is propped in Hotel William, it’s likely we’ll see more to the initial menu. But for now, burger lovers can build on the current offerings with a whole heap of add-ons.
Adding onion rings to a Sorpio
Burgers by Josh x Hotel William
Address: 47-49 William Street, Darlinghurst
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 5pm to late