Restaurant Review: Burke and Wills

By Sarah Binney

In an article that recently went viral, we learned that Australians are quite literally taking over New York City, with expat numbers estimated to be around 20,000. This sudden influx of Australian visitors isn’t without its benefits to the US population. Besides a much needed education about Vegemite, locations other than Sydney and the fact kangaroos aren’t kept as pets, American citizens are also getting to experience a lot more of our fantastic cuisine with a number of Australian restaurants popping up to pepper the NYC landscape.

Burke & Wills is one such Australian restaurant where homesick Australians can dine on modern Australian cuisine in rustic elegance reminiscent of home. Burke & Wills boasts hand-crafted boutique cocktails and a menu that highlights Australian nuances of flavour, in a setting that encompasses the essence of the outback.

The restaurant is encased in earthy wood and brick and the seated dining area showcases the iconic Down Under through an array of framed photographs. The theme of ‘bush elegance’ is further conjured through unique interior styling and a familiar ochre twang from the well-dressed waiters.

Black Kale Salad

Black Kale Salad with mint, fennel & shaved pecorino

The Australian classics on the menu include the ‘Roo burger with triple fried chips (not the crisp variety – real chips), coriander crusted lamb ribs with spiced yogurt and picked vegetable, and the sorely missed pavlova (sadly no sticky date pudding, but that could be set to change with the reprimanding the waiters received due to its absence).

On Monday nights through June, Burke & Wills offers a “World Cup of Wine” special, pitting Australian wines against one from a competing nation in a blind tasting. The staff keep their cards close to their chest about which wine matched which country, but the guessing games serve to liven up an already upbeat atmosphere.

Hazelnut cake with espresso ganache

Hazelnut cake with espresso ganache

The food, drinks and friendly staff culminate in a fantastic dining experience. For those who’ve been away from home, it can make all the difference seeing a few friendly faces and eating a little bit of Skippy in a burger with homemade tomato jam (a family recipe, we are told). At least they did him justice.

Also very exciting is the Manhattan Cricket Club’s majestic cocktail lounge upstairs to the restaurant, discretely hidden behind a tufted leather door. Featuring oversized chesterfield chairs, mirrored hallways and a private bar, the room is available to be hired if you do possess a coveted membership. They’ll even store your prized bottle of liquor for each time you come – we Aussies are a good bunch.

Burke & Wills

226 W 79th Street, New York, NY
(646) 823-9251

Manhattan Cricket Club

226 W 79th Street, New York, NY
(646) 823-9252