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FOOD & DRINK

Smash Brothers

This inner city takeaway joint serves up no-nonsense burgers and old-fashioned milkshakes.
By Stephen Heard
May 12, 2021
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By Stephen Heard
May 12, 2021
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Smash burgers are one of the latest food trends to sweep through Auckland. Much of the hype around the beef-bun combo comes from the ability to stack the thin patties sky-high and that the no-nonsense burgers typically arrive with nothing more than dripping meat and cheese.

The distinctive smash burger flavour comes from the cooking process, which involves smashing minced meat into flat patties right on a piping hot grill. That swift smushing process is said to invoke the Maillard reaction, or the caramelisation of the proteins.

Robert Aylwin launched his new Elliot Stables opening Smash Brothers after noticing an absence of great burgers in Auckland's CBD. The fellow owner of venue Bao Baby Bao, also in the inner city food court, says his creations might just be "the best burgers that you'll ever eat."

He puts it all down to the flamed-grilled patties, which come cooked medium-rare by default. Aylwin uses a blend of 30 percent brisket and 70 percent chuck for the combination of tender fat (for juiciness) and "big mean beef flavour." Then, in true smash burger style, they're flattened on the grill and seasoned with sea salt and black pepper. The end result is a thin and crispy asymmetrical pattie that Aylwin describes as "beefy AF."

Smash Brothers' patties can be snuggled between toasted potato brioche buns or served in a salad bowl. The 'Original' is your standard burger order, complete with dill pickle and the eatery's signature mayo. Also on the list is the 'Streaker', an upgraded bacon burger joined by barbecue sauce, grilled tomatoes and aioli; the 'Truffle Shuffle' adds grilled mushroom and onion with truffle aioli; while the 'Kiwi Smash' comes with beetroot jam and a fried egg for good measure.

There are chicken and grilled haloumi options for those after something different, and you can fill out your meal with classic takeaway joint sides like chips, fried pickles, slaw and poutine. For something sweet, there are old-fashioned milkshakes topped with whipped cream — slurp something classic like vanilla, chocolate or strawberry, or go the full nine yards with a creation topped with brownie bits, cookie crumbs and toasted marshmallows.

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