Back To The Burger

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
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A lot can happen to a burger in a year. That’s why we’re going back to our 2013 Top 10 to see if they’re still as good as we once remember them. They made our list for a reason last year so, we rolled up our sleeves and dug in to see if they had what it takes to make the Top 10 2014 list. Some have obviously changed since we last ate them, but have they changed for the better? Stay tuned to find out.

10. TUCK SHOP TAKE AWAY – 273 HAWTHORN RD, CAULFIELD NORTH
2013
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9. GLORIA SWANSTON’S KITCHEN – 243 SWANSTON ST, MELBOURNE
2013
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8. ROCKWELL & SONS – 288 SMITH ST, COLLINGWOOD
2013
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7. BEATBOX KITCHEN – VARIOUS LOCATIONS, MELBOURNE
2013
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6. ROCKPOOL BAR & GRILL – CROWN COMPLEX, SOUTHBANK
2013
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5. NSHRY – 129A BEACONSFIELD PDE, ALBERT PARK
2013
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4. LAURIE DEE’S – PACIFIC EPPING, EPPING
2013
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3. THE SPOTTED MALLARD – 314 SYDNEY RD, BRUNSWICK
2013
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2. FAT BOB’S BAR & GRILL – 80 COCHRANES RD, MOORABBIN
2013
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1. THE MERRYWELL – CR CLARENDON STREET & CROWN RIVERSIDE, SOUTHBANK
2013
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Minetta Tavern

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The_Burger_Adventure-MinettaTavern

Minetta Tavern – 113 Macdougal Street, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
Black Label Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$27 USD
Summary

Those who know a thing or two about burgers will tell you that Minetta Tavern is the be all and end all of burgers. Everyone who’s anyone in the NYC food scene has been there to try there $27 pride and joy. There’s good reason too. The guys behind Minetta Tavern are also responsible for New York institutes like Balthazar, Pastis and The Odeon, and, they only use the best of the best. In this case, it’s Pat La Frieda Meats. They’re world famous and still family owned since 1922. They worked closely with the Minetta team to get their Black Label Burger shining brightest amongst the galaxy of New York burger joints. Although they’ve only been around since 2009, the place will looks you into thinking it’s been there since the old days. What’ll trick you is all the old-style caricatures, checkered floors, portraits from decades past and the red leather booths. I sat down and triumphantly ordered their Black Label Burger that comes with a beef patty – a mix of dry aged, skirt steak and brisket – caramelised onions and a custom brioche bun.

Comments
“It was oh so soft. This was the most subtle burger I’ve ever eaten. It kind of felt like listening to a lullaby or piece of soothing classical music. Each bite was fluffy, juicy and delicate. The patty crumbled in with each bite reveal a beautiful shade of pink. I’d say it was probably cooked closer to rare than medium but I’m so up for that pink with that quality of meat. Every bite had a bit of a crunch from the clarified butter they use to give it a nice seal. The onions again were so subtle but sweet. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re used to the fish and chip shop and that’s your jam. It’s the kind of thing burger enthusiasts dream about because the quality was just outstanding. Saying that, it’s not a burger I could eat everyday. It’s a burger that needs an occasion, a celebration maybe? It’s the birthday cake of hamburgers.”


The Anthem

Monday, January 5, 2015
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The Anthem – 1725 W. Division St, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Burger:
Jucy Lucy
Serviettes:
8
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$10.99 USD
Summary

Just like Australians, the Americans are super passionate about sport – in all shapes and sizes. The Anthem has dedicated itself to sports fans by providing belt loosening comfort food that will hold you whilst your team loses yet another thriller. Their extensive beer and cocktail list will then make you forget about all those woes and get you ready for the next game. They’ve got huge screens everywhere so you can soak in the glory or wallow in sorrow. So, it’s really easy to get a love/hate thing going with this 70s neon Sports Bar. When it comes to Chicago critics however, they can’t stop raving about the place opened ever since 2011. One of the reasons they’re so famous is their Jucy Lucy. Originally an invention out of Minneapolis the Chicago locals have made it their own. In between two three-ounce patties lies an ounce and a half of Velveeta cheese, there’s caramelised onions, sweet horseradish pickles and a buttery bun – that’s it. I sat in front of three big screens, watched the Baltimore Ravens throw a ball, then ordered the “local celebrity” that is the Jucy Lucy.

Comments
“This is a Sports Bar on steroids. Hoots and hollers were more than welcome but I kept my mouth shut so as to prepare for the hype that was their Jucy Lucy. It arrived looking like a hot mess even before I got into it. There was so much cheese ooze pouring out I carefully placed a doubled up napkin on my lap and hoped for the best. The first bite was good – really pink and soft for the medium they said they would cook it. But I hadn’t hit the cheese yet. The second bite was going to be the most important. That’s when it happened. The water fall of cheese that flooded my mouth was madness. Never had I experienced such a Cheese-nami. It was smooth and silky like a disgraced Italian news reader. I’d never had Velveeta before but I imagine it was big in the 70s with the fondu folk. Was it all necessary though? I’m not so sure. This style of burger for me is adventurous but what I think tends to happens is that it puts the cheese on a pedestal, and the patty on a dental chair (at the lowest setting). Good for the casual beer and bite but add a winning/losing team and some jugs and you’ll probably find it amazing.”


Dr.Morse

Friday, December 19, 2014
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Dr Morse – 274 Johnston St, Abbotsford, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Classic Beef Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
7 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$13
Summary

If you’re a Southsider, there’s a good chance you’ve never been to this end of Johnson St. That’s because there really hasn’t been much reason to go, unless you’re an old school Collingwood fan or a junkie (or both). Nowadays the “other side” of Johnston St is picking up and it’s mostly to do with Dr Morse. The renovations took about a year but they’ve worked their way from a little coffee dispensary to a full blown bar and eatery. Big glass windows greet you as you walk straight past the bar into their oversized beer garden (straight to another bar). They’re pretty proud of their food and drink so you’ll always see some little brewer taking over their taps for a weekend or a pig on the spit as a bit of a treat for the locals. What excited us was their Weekend Menu, which slightly differs and is made a little more straight up and down to their every day dinner haul, offering an all day breakky and stuff like Fried chicken & kimchi sandwiches. We managed to grab a beer and their Classic Beef Burger that came with a beef patty, lettuce, tomato, cheese, mustard and pickles on a brioche bun.

Comments
“Just a ripping, well executed burger with all the important elements spot on. The beef patty was on the thicker side with a great amount of char and flavour burnt onto each side, yet the inside remaining pink and juicy. The cheese completely enveloped the patty with parts hitting the hot plate and leaving a delicious crust, which, combined with the sharpness of the mustard really married together well. Texture wise it was perfect, with a little crunch coming from the lettuce under the soft brioche bun.”
“It was a good looking burger. It was simple, small and didn’t try too hard. It did end up letting me down just a smidge though. For $13 I really expected some chips on the side. The beef was quality but could’ve done with a pinch more salt. The lettuce and tomato did nothing for it. They mainly just created more slide then necessary. The burger has real potential, especially if it were to be simplified even more. Just beef, cheese, mustard and pickles, and it would be great!”
Dr Morse Bar & Eatery on Urbanspoon


Billy Goat Tavern

Monday, December 15, 2014
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Billy Goat Tavern – 2700 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Burger:
Double Cheezborger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
5 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$4.55 USD
Summary

This Chicago institution dates back to 1934 when a young Greek immigrant named William “Billy Goat” Sianis bought the Lincoln Tavern for $205. Yes, there was a goat, and it (and its descendants) became the mascots. If you’re a classic SNL fan then you’re probably familiar with the Olympia Restaurant skit. If you don’t know it then check it out later because it’s features half the Ghostbusters and Cheezborgers! You see, Bill Murray and John Belushi (also in the skit) used to spend a whole lot of time in Chicago, so it was only right for them to eat at the most famous burger joint in town; Billy Goat Tavern. They loved the place so much they wrote a skit with Don Novello about the very-particular order method and the new to USA wait staff. Don’t try and order fries, only “cheeps”. There’s no coke, only pepsi. You can see these signs still around today the place. If you’re a burger geek then your choices are simple: Single Cheezborger, Double Cheezborger, Triple Cheezborger and then the Homerun (x4 patties). They do other kinds of sandwiches and dogs but you’re really not there for them. These world-famous burgers have allowed them to open over 9 locations in the city and led me to their Navy Pier location where basically, a boardwalk meets Luna Park style attractions. My Double Cheezborger came on a freshly baked Kaiser bun with two “designed to be stacked” patties and double cheez. No fries, only cheeps.

Comments
“I first saw the skit when we first started the blog. Little did I know it was based on real life. Went down the pier expecting to see tourists all over this place, but as it turned out, they were everywhere but the Tavern. The burger, made right in front of you as you line up at the counter, was really just a fancy cheese burger. Super simplified but fancier. I didn’t believe that’s the same bun they were using back in the old days. But I do buy that those fatty patties and cheese are the same recipe. I was only passing through but I can see the appeal of this kind of burger when watching “da Bulls” and downing a whole lot of beer. It’s not the kind of meal you walk a million blocks to try and find (like I did) but it isn’t bad. It was a quick, really soft and cheesy experience. But I think the hype sort of ruined it for me. Next time I’d clear my schedule, order a jug and a Triple, and settle in.


Middle Brighton Baths

Thursday, December 11, 2014
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Middle Brighton Baths – 251 The Esplanade, Brighton,
Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Baths Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
5 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t bother
Price:
$22
Summary

Brighton Baths have been around since 1881 and although originally just a recreation centre over the years they’ve turned into a multi trick pony. The Baths are a place for weddings, dinner with the family or a just coffee when your neck-deep in lycra. The venue is a great place for locals and tourists alike to see Melbourne’s beautiful, however mostly hazy, cityscape. The Baths are split into two with a more fancy restaurant upstairs and a cafe/bar downstairs. The cafe menu is a little simpler and cheaper but aims to please most people with things like a classic bowl of wedges to Spaghetti Marinara. Sitting across from Ricky Ponting one fine Sunday, we ordered the Baths Burger that came with a beef patty, traditional seeded bun, lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickled cucumber and chipotle mayo.

Comments
“There aren’t many better views in Melbourne while enjoying a sunny Sunday lunch, made even better by dining alongside Australian legend and former Test captain Ricky Ponting and his family. Unfortunately the burger didn’t live up to the same standards as the view and guests, it honestly looked and tasted like something bought from the local supermarket with a chipotle mayo added, which is fine if you’re cooking at home or a bbq, however not when paying $22 for it.”
“I found my pattie tasteless and a bit rubbery. The only highlight was the chipotle mayo which added some pepperness to what was a bland burger. The bun, cheese and pickle where all doing there part but it’s pretty much a supermarket burger. Heaps of room for improvement here.”
“This wasn’t good at all. From the bun to the lettuce. It was all store bought, but you could make it better at home. The patty was salty and looked like it had been shaped in a production line. The cheese only began to melt when my hands gripped the enormous bun. For the 22 bucks it was totally not worth it. The highlight was chipotle mayo, if any.”
Middle Brighton Baths - Cafe & Bar Ground Floor on Urbanspoon


The Grosvenor Hotel

Thursday, December 4, 2014
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The Grosvenor Hotel – 10 Brighton Rd, St Kilda East, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Grosvenor
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$22
Summary

The Grosvenor is an establishment that runs all the way back to the late 1800s. It’s seen it’s fair share of locals, but it’s probably getting some attention from near and far these days ever since they remodelled in 2011, and since former owner of the famous Albert Park “The Point” took over. As much as owner Rabih Yanni may claim he wants a good simple pub, he’s doing things that go beyond the norm of a local watering hole. When you walk in you’re greeted with something that you’d be more used to seeing in a ritzy steakhouse like Rockpool – a display case of dry aged meats of different cuts. But then they go and offer a Parma night and Trivia night, which seem totally at home at a pub that’s connected to a Bottle Shop. It may be a little inconsistent but it’s a classy looking place that offers almost something for everyone. From their Steak nights to Trivia or a selection of burgers each going for $22. I strolled in one particular Sunday and ordered their namesake, The Grosvenor burger that came with a Dry Aged Angus beef patty, cheese, smokey bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles all on a soft and sweet seeded bun.

Comments
“It was as if they said to themselves, “We have to put something expensive on the menu”, and went for this. It was OK at best. I don’t like a burger that’s fancy for the sake of it. It really doesn’t need to be that way. I walked in and there was meat hanging up like in a butcher, that made me think this place must be proud of their beef. So it led me to try the patty on its own and that was actually good! It was fatty, had a nice thick texture and had a touch of saltiness. I could tell there was some quality there, but they drowned it in plenty of unnecessary sauce. It’s a shame because this could be a decent burger if it were simplified.”
Grosvenor Hotel on Urbanspoon