My stretchy pants are on and my stomach is empty. Two things I highly recommend before visiting The Hungry Brown Cow at the Holt shops.
If you’re a self-confessed burger aficionado with a sweet tooth like yours truly, you need to add it to your ‘to eat’ list ASAP.
Owner of The Hungry Brown Cow, Will Cowie, introduced his delicious brownie cookies to Canberrans more than three years ago. I was one of the lucky ones who received a delivery of his deliciously indulgent chocolate treats before he released them to the public.
If you’re a regular at the Capital Region Farmers Market, you’ve likely seen Will handing out his creations (often selling out within hours) to fans from his food trailer over the years.
His regular appearances at the markets, pop-up events, local foodie festivals like The Forage, and interstate chocolate festivals have helped him develop a cult following. Heck, I have driven to the markets and his house to pick up his creations for guests on my Sweet Tooth food tour. So yes, dear foodie, I am an avid fan of these sweet treats.
Unfortunately, you will no longer find Will and his herd at the markets on Saturday mornings but you will find them, along with his amazing burgers, at his permanent burger and brownie bar. Instead of waiting for Saturday to roll around, you can now get your mouth around them five days a week.
I apologise in advance to your waistline.
Opening quietly at the Holt Shops at the end of 2020, The Hungry Brown Cow has added vibrancy to the area and has seen hungry customers lining for their burger and brownie fix.
The cookies often sell out by 1:00 pm on weekdays and 10:30 am on weekends.
If you’re familiar with Canberra’s burger scene you’ll know that Canberra has an abundance of burger joints to choose from, not that I’m complaining. I love to eat them, I love to make them, I’ve competed in a burger competition, heck I’ve even created my own burger that featured on a menu. But each venue has its own unique features.
For Will, it’s all about a quality patty and the sauces he makes from scratch. Anyone for some house-made maple aioli to complement the bacon on your breakfast burger? He also sandwiches his delicious fillings between buns from another local favourite, Three Mills Bakery.
There are no tables and chairs but Will has created a great space and the menu is small but satisfying. It’s takeaway only and you can choose from four burger options or a fried chicken tenderloin box with a secret HBC sauce. Chips are included with all five options so that’s extra brownie points from me.
I want to try one of everything but I settle on sampling the Friar Tuck, Take it Sleezy and The Larry Bird. The Friar Tuck is loaded with a generous piece of crispy buttermilk fried chicken with house-made jalapeno and lime aioli, pickles, lettuce and American cheese. It’s a great looking burger and it tastes just as good as it looks with layers of flavour packed into it.
The Take it Sleezy is one of the best cheeseburgers I’ve eaten. I can’t exactly put my finger on what it is but the beefy patty is thick and it’s topped with the perfect amount of pickles, onion, American cheddar, mustard and ketchup.
Will makes his own herbs and spices mix for the fried chicken and he marinates it in a herbed buttermilk mix for at least 24 hours. The Larry Bird is a tasty box of buttermilk fried chicken tenderloins but it’s the HBC sauce that has won my heart. If Will bottled that sauce I would have walked away with five bottles. It’s creamy with hints of mustard and pickles. It’s addictive.
His original brown cows have evolved and when I visit I try his newly created stuffed cookies instead of the original cookie sandwiches. Flavours and styles can vary daily depending on what the customers want and where Will draws his inspiration. The stuffed cookies are decadent pillows of chocolaty goodness but I think I prefer the original sandwiches … just.
Constant flows of orders are placed during my visit. Two tradesmen come back inside when they finish their burgers telling Will how amazing they were and promising they’ll be back again soon. Like them, so will I.
The Hungry Brown Cow is located at Shop 4, Holt Shops and is open from 7:00 am until 2:00 pm Tuesday to Friday, from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday and for dinner from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm from Thursday to Saturday.