The name Soho, in reference to the area of London, is apparently derived from both a former hunting cry and a rallying call for the Duke of Monmouth’s men at the Battle of Sedgemoor. It there makes perfect sense that on a chilly Monday night a couple of weeks ago, two friends and I found ourselves at Soho Burgers in Fremantle while hunting for food for mon mouth (and their mouths too).
We had already been thwarted in two attempts to feed ourselves that night. Firstly we decided to try out the new Missy Moos Burger Bar in South Fremantle, but after trying unsuccessfully to call them a number of times during the day I found on some obscure website that they are apparently not open on Mondays or Tuesdays.
No worries, we’ll get our burger fix at Flipside in North Fremantle! Off we drove, only to be greeted by a darkened, closed restaurant. Not open on Mondays either, apparently.
We figured that something should be open on the main strip of Freo so we just parked the car and started wandering to see what took our fancy, though by this stage we were getting a little disheartened and had visions of eating kebabs on the footpath. Walking up South Terrace we wistfully looked in the window of Dosukoi Japanese Noodle & Bubble Tea, willing it to somehow be open on a schoolnight but knowing that no amount of hungry stares could make it so.
Wandering a little further we came upon Soho Burgers, another relative newcomer to the Perth burger party. It was open. Hurrah! We would be eating burgers after all! Thanks Duke of Monmouth!
We were greeted at the door by a friendly waiter who wanted to sit us at a free table right at the door, but this is generally unpleasant so we asked for another table. He started to say there wasn’t another one, but we soon pointed one out and off we all headed. After sitting down we checked out our surroundings – the interior is an interesting combination of metal and wood. So interesting in fact that I failed to take any photos of it. I blame this on being too overcome with relief at finding somewhere actually serving food. If you’re interested you can check out the photos on their website.
The chairs were also interesting – big wide cushioned ones that made us feel like we were in a bowling club or a TAB. Sadly there were no platters of bowling club food on offer, so we started looking through the menu. Upon doing so, we noted that Soho Burgers is different to all the other new burger joints around in that it doesn’t just focus on burgers. They also have a range of starters, pizzas and grilled meats, and we noted that many fellow patrons were trying the pizzas.
We focused our decision making processes on the burgers. All of the burgers are made using a “homemade bun” (“gluten free bun available for $1 extra subject to availability”) and served with lettuce & tomato, and I was very pleased to see that in addition to beef and steak burgers they also sell fish burgers, chicken burgers and a vegetarian option of “homemade bean & veggie patties made with chickpeas, red kidney beans, cous cous, lentils, oats & seasonal vegetables”.
My friends couldn’t go past the sound of those “homemade” veggie patties and ordered the Soho Veggie Deluxe (bean & vegie patty, avocado, fresh beetroot, cheddar cheese & homemade sweet chilli sauce $14.90) and the Veggie Veggie (bean & veggie patty, swiss cheese, roasted capsicum, fried onion, homemade spicy peri sauce & sour cream $15.70) burgers. I couldn’t decide between the Veggie Denman or a fish burger, but somehow ended up going with the Chicken Shroomer (grilled chicken breast, mushroom, caramelised onion & homemade coleslaw $17.90) which is a little odd as I’m not normally a fan of coleslaw but I had a strange craving for it.
We also ordered a bowl of chips to share ($7.50) which came with homemade tomato ketchup. By this stage I was beginning to wonder why they hadn’t called the place Soho Homemade Burgers (homemade!).
Although not quite as crisp as I would prefer, the chips were piping hot when they came out and we were all happy to see they were still wearing their skin. According the the menu the “sweet tomato ketchup is made using fresh tomatoes, apples and a hint of ginger”, which sounds quite lovely but sadly did not reflect what was served to us. It tasted like a raw passata, in need of some loving by way of herbs and seasoning, and remained largely untouched after a few tastes. We hoped the other homemade elements would be of a higher standard.
The girls liked their veggie burgers but didn’t love them. The patties themselves were mushy, for want of a more refined descriptor, and the burgers soon turned into messy messes in which the flavours were fighting the good fight against each other and getting lost in the process.
I was fighting the good fight myself, struggling to eat my burger which was falling apart before I got started. The chicken was in two pieces and thus it was difficult to get it to stay inside the bun, which was not quite wide enough for the amount and sloppiness of the fillings. The bun was nicely toasted, which certainly helped, but the wetness of the coleslaw meant that the bottom bread was quickly soaked through and soggy. There’s only so much mopping up of sauce you can achieve with chips, try as I might. The chicken was moist and the flavours were nice enough, but not at all memorable.
Service throughout the night was very attentive – eager to take our orders and then coming to check we were enjoying our meals. They were reasonably busy as well, so I’m sure the service would also be good on a busy weekend.
Sadly however, the meals just weren’t great enough to warrant a return visit. The prices are also a few dollars more than my favourite burger purveyors Jus Burgers, so I can’t see myself heading back for a burger any time soon. It’s entirely possible that the other dishes are more enjoyable though, and we did see a number of pizzas going out to a large nearby table, so perhaps that’s the part of the menu to stick to if you find yourself hunting for food on a cold Monday night in Freo.
As we were leaving, one of my friends summed it up just perfectly – “well, we can’t have amazing meals every day”. Serves us right for following a puffy sleeved man into battle, rallying cry or not.
Phone: 08 9430 7646
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11:30am – 9pm
Website: Soho Burgers
We paid: ~$20/head for burgers and chips