There is a special place in every night owl’s heart for a food outlet that is open until the early hours of the morning. Back at home, ours was a food truck called Haci’s Kebabs on the corner of Bell Street and St George’s Road in Preston. You could always count on that place to be open on the way home from a pub crawl to fill your belly with a juicy kebab before you pass out at home.
Perth has a similar outlet, and after driving past a few times and seeing a crowd of people every time, it only made sense to try it out. Located in historic Guildford, Alfred’s kitchen is a favourite amongst the locals and long distance travellers alike and is rife with its own history. Established in 1946 by a returning soldier called Frederick Cook, it is Perth’s oldest roadside hamburger joint and is open every night from 5pm. There are about 40 different burger styles to choose from, like hamburgers, steak burgers, lentil burgers, bacon burgers and hot dogs. You can even get some lamb curry or beef stroganoff!
We stopped through on the way home after a few pints at the Rose and Crown Hotel. It was only 7:30 but the crowd was huge. Still, the friendly chick behind the counter was happy to go through the menu with us. While we waited for our burgers, we got a cup of their legendary Pea & Ham Soup to share which is served from a giant pot on the stove. It was thick, warming and flavoursome, but Juz reckons it could have definitely done with more smoky ham and less potato. She’s such a food snob…
We didn’t have to wait long before they were screaming out our number – “56!!!” – and we approached the bench. With our dinner we were given a sticker for the Troopy and two postcards that we will probably send home to let Victorians know what their missing out on.
Juz ordered the Alfred Special with chilli sauce. Similar to a Club Sandwich, the Alfred Special is a layered toast sandwich with hamburger, bacon, egg and cheese with gherkin spread, tomato, lettuce and BBQ sauce. The chilli sauce added the perfect amount of bite but the real standout was the tangy gherkin spread, which broke through the richness of the succulent burger, savoury bacon and fried egg. Juz couldn’t get enough and was sad when there wasn’t any more to put into her mouth.
Dave got the monumental CRAM burger, stuffed with hamburger, steak, egg, cheese, bacon, BBQ sauce, lettuce & tomato in a burger bun. It was really tall and Dave had to open his mouth super wide to get his mouth around the first bite. The steak was the most prominent part of the burger, and while it could have done with a little more cheese, it had the perfect amount of moistness. When Dave finished the CRAM, he turned to Juz and said, “That was a good burger…” This is an important breakthrough because Dave doesn’t usually go for burgers.
It was a great experience to sit among the locals and enjoy the delicious product of this famous gem. It would have been even cooler if we were there at 1am, sitting by the fire that they light to keep their patient patrons warm. Happy and hamburgered, we went back to the counter to thank them for dinner and their hospitality before walking home.