3 Prussia Street

Stoneybatter

Dublin 7

https://www.thechilishack.ie/

Click on that link above. Go on I’ll wait. Look up at the top (where it normally says “Pornhub”) – you’ll notice that the page is titled “Best Burgers In Dublin & Galway”. I can’t speak for Galway, since I’ve never had burgers there (I had a delicious burrito once) but claiming these are the best burgers in Dublin is a bold, bold claim. I’ve eaten some seriously great burgers in Dublin, burgers I’ve literally written home about (which confused my parents). Anywhere claiming to be the best had better be able to back it up; put their money where their meat is.

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It’s been a while since the last Burger Club, 12 weeks to the day in fact, and we were salivating at the prospect of picking things back up again (that’s not to say I didn’t cheat on the guys a few times during the break: notable burgers I had during the sabbatical included Flanagan’s on O’Connell Street (surprisingly good); Bread Meats Bread in Glasgow (oh. my. god); Rotunda in Glasgow (ill-advised) and The Brian Boru in Phibsboro (frozen) – plus we had an outing to Smokin’ Bones in Phibsboro which will go down as the ‘lost’ review). This place was picked more for location than reputation; it’s easy walking distance from my house, and on a lazy Sunday evening, that’s important. First impressions weren’t great; at dinnertime on a beautiful sunny Sunday evening it was empty. And I do mean empty. Literally, we had the whole restaurant to ourselves. It’s hard to put your finger on what it is but there’s something vaguely unwelcoming about this place; it has attitude, an air of “fuck you”. The music doesn’t help. I love The Misfits as much as the next man who loves The Misfits (below is a picture of Jerry Only signing a gig ticket for me as proof), but I don’t want to have to scream over them to have a conversation with my friends when I’m out having dinner. Sorry to show my age here, but if I can’t hear the people sitting at the same table as me, then it’s too loud. (And trust me, it’s rare that you can’t hear Amanda). An elderly couple wandered in and left without ordering anything while we were sitting. I’m just saying, maybe turn it down a little bit.

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“You’re superficial I’m a Misfit / baby that’s OK”

Service here is almost non-existent; you order at the counter, take a seat and they page you to go up and collect your food. You’ll also fetch your own cutlery and napkins and clear your own table at the end. It’s very basic, but presumably this approach contributes to the extremely attractive prices; a burger and chips for €8.50 is cheap anywhere; in Dublin I wouldn’t be shocked to pay twice that.

On to the food. The Chili Shack offers burgers, hot dogs, various forms of chili con carne, chicken wings, and a welcome surprise, poutine. We have a rule in Burger Club that whenever there are wings on a menu have to order them, and they were a strong start, piping hot, nice and spicy with plenty of meat on them. The paprika fries were really good as well, crisp, salty and full of flavour, but the poutine was disappointing. The gravy was insipid, and had an oddly gelatinous texture like it had been cooked 8 hours ago and scraped off the bottom of a bain-marie, although it was nice to note it was made with real curds and not just grated cheese.

The burgers certainly looked the part, I’ll give them that. Kirsty ordered a plain cheese burger, Amanda the Big Clucking burger, and me the Smoked Stack, and all three looked great. They came served in a big brioche bun, which I’m always a fan of, and mine was topped with two crunchy onion rings. This is where the wheels come off unfortunately. These things were thin, thin, thin, and while I accept that some people (weird people) prefer a thin burger, they were also burnt. Not chargrilled, burnt. I can accept a thick burger being well done on the outside to make sure it’s cooked all the way through, but these things were thinner than the plot of a Twilight novel, and would have cooked through in about 2 minutes flat. They came out like something you’d be served at your mate’s boozy summer BBQ, all that was missing was a wilted plastic cheese slice and a warm can of Bav, and they were honest-to-God crunchy. Thin and crispy works well on pizzas, not so much on burgers.

Thin (left) & crispy (right)

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Mayonnaise as fuck

Next up, we need to talk about mayonnaise, starting with 1) why the fuck is there mayonnaise on my burger, and 2) why is there this much mayonnaise on my burger? Putting mayonnaise on a burger should be classified as an act of terrorism, (also the advertised chipotle mayonnaise did a really convincing impression of regular mayonnaise) and this was absolutely swimming in it, overpowering all the other flavours, turning a disappointing burger into a frankly unpleasant one.

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Maaaaaayyyyyyoooooonnnnnnaaaaaiiiiiisssssseeeeee

One of the things I judge burgers on is whether I would go back on a non-Burger Club capacity, just with mates or with my wife some night when we’re feeling too lazy to cook. On this occasion I definitely wouldn’t. I walk past this place all the time, it’s half way between my house and my favourite pub, and even walking home on a Friday night after a few Cosmopol beers I’d walk right past it. The chili and the hot dogs might be better than the burgers but I doubt I’ll ever find out. Jo’Burger and Generator Hostel are 10 minutes walk away on Smithfield Square; Smokin’ Bones 15 minutes in the other direction. Any one of them are a better option. Best burgers in Dublin? These aren’t even the best burgers on Prussia Street.

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Burgers – 4/10

Sides – 6/10

Service & Surroundings – 4/10

Value – 7/10

Overall rating: 5 / 10