Sydney Pop-Up: Pub Life Kitchen x Barrio Chino – Camperdown (Sydney)

What do you get when two of the kings of Sydney’s brimming burger scene collaborate to the benefit of hearts and minds across the city? You get a brilliant summer residence from Pub Life Kitchen and Barrio Chino at inner-west fashion-slash-cafe staple Deus Ex Machina, propped up in the large space that has become known as Deus Cafe. With the official title of Deus Presents PLK x Barrio this summer-long pop-up brings together two minds which have shaped and lifted Sydney’s burger game to a level of unprecedented feverish demand.


Last year, many thought the “burger trend” that took Sydney by storm would melt and wither away but Jovan Curic (Pub Life Kitchen and Peter Lew (Barrio Chino/Cellar), along with a handful of other proficient grillers, only refined their art and grew the trend, to the point where tabloids across the city regularly attempt – and fail – ‘Best Burgers in Sydney’ listacles simply because of how much discussion (and traffic) they generate.


Jovan and Peter both nod to the old-school style of burgers, avoiding the over-done and impossibly large overflow of fatty ingredients and simply focusing on classic, fresh, and rich ingredients. That’s what you’ll find at PLK x Barrio, as soon you walk off the corner of Parramatta and Lyons roads the wafting aroma of juicy beef patties, buttermilk fried chicken, and melting American cheese.


Like all good burger joints in Sydney, the menu doesn’t throw many options at you so it’d be easy to get across the full experience in a couple of visits. The primary option, the cheeseburger is available as a Single ($12) or Double ($16). I personally lean towards single patties most of the time, but the double is hard to resist here. There are two thick beef patties, American cheese, a McClure’s pickle, lettuce, tomato, and “dirty sauce”. The salad is fresh, the pickle is tasty, the cheese is rich and perfectly melted, and those medium-rare patties are packed with flavour, juicy with rich seasoning to match up with what you’d expect from these two big name burger makers.


You can add Bacon ($4) and Jalapenos ($2) to any of these burgers, and also request that the beef be well-done. The Fried Chicken Burger ($14) and Vege Sandwich ($12) (with a panko-crumbed eggplant) are available for a bit of variety, and if they are held to the same standard as the cheeseburger then you can be sure they are worth the repeat visits.


Buttermilk Fried Chicken Nuggets ($12) is a necessary side with hot, sweet Korean-style sauce and McClure Pickles, but as good as it is, it has nothing on the Get ‘Em Dirty Fries($7). The same tangy sauce that is on the beef burger comes loaded onto these shoe-string fries, along with a generous amount of sticky, melted cheese. Other sides include Onion Rings ($8) and Jalapeno + Pickle Slaw ($8). Though, if you don’t have a serving – or two – of those special fries on your table then you’re doing it wrong.


Jalapenos, pickles, nuggets, burgers, house sauce, milkshakes, and cocktails feature all across this brilliant pop-up. It’s only up until the end of January (though demand may push it a bit further) so get in quick. With Pub Life Kitchen and Barrio Chino/Cellar crossing paths numerous times this year, we’re hoping this isn’t the last we see of this endearing partnership.

**UPDATED** The Pop-Up has been extended until February 21st, 2016.

Deus Presents PLKxBarrio
Address: 98–104 Parramatta Road, Camperdown
Mon & Tue 12pm–3pm
Wed to Sat 12pm–3pm, 5.30pm–10pm
Sun 12pm–5pm


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.