Some things in a city are popular because they are fun. Others attain a following due to their inherent and newly acquired brilliance. Still, others reach a higher status. They become an institution. So it goes with Guildford’s famous burger establishment, Alfred’s Kitchen. Built in 1946, next to the rail line, Alfred’s is known as much for its conversation encouraging fire pit as it is for its food.
Not to say the food is not exceptional, for it is. An eastern suburbs resident dare not call themselves such if they haven’t sampled the delights from the kitchen. There’s the Alfred’s Special, more beef sandwich than burger, and more inducing of an oral orgasm than any other burger I have ever experienced. There’s also the chips, crunchy chunks of potato that have somehow acquired a taste which could be no better than if it were the very food of the gods, especially when combined in holy union with the chicken salt of the Kitchen’s counter. And possibly most famous of all, the pea and ham soup that boils away in a giant pot reminiscent of a Witches cauldron, and indeed the delights that are cooked within are no less than magical. I would go on, but like all of my loves in life, I would never be stopped and I fear that by continuing ad infinitum would be to make tiresome a menu which is anything but.
But as I hinted before, perhaps the real delight of Alfred’s is the communal spirit that is fostered under the pinkish glow of its proud neon sign. In this small space of pavement and muddle of benches, class systems are destroyed, social inhibitions melt away and the true equality of spirit and kindliness that exists at man’s core is finally laid bare. One moment you can be laughing with a high flying business executive in the shared joy that is anticipating your Alfred’s meal, the next you find yourself pondering the philosophical utterances of the local homeless man.
With 40 different hamburgers to choose from, soup, curry and chips there’s something for everyone. It’s situated on the corner James and Meadow Streets in Guildford and is open 5pm to midnight on Sunday-Wednesdays and 5pm to 1am Thursdays but more helpfully it’s open from 5pm to 3am on Saturday and Sunday. If you have yet to take the plunge, I can say no more than this. It is time.