MOS Burger

Thursday, June 30, 2011
MOS Burger – 2-53-3 Hatagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
(2-53-3幡ヶ谷、渋谷、東京、日本)
Burger:
MOS Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
2 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
¥350/$4.10 AUD/$4.35 USD
Summary

Whilst working in Los Angeles in the 1960s, founder Satoshi Sakurada frequented a local hamburger chain called Tommy’s. Inspired by the ‘cook to order’ concept, Mr. Sakurada hit on the idea that this kind of hamburger joint would be just as popular with his fellow countrymen. After returning to Japan, Mr. Sakurada set up the first MOS Burger in Tokyo in 1972. Taking inspiration from their name “Mountain, Ocean, Sun” and slogan “Making people happy through food” MOS Burger has grown to the 2nd largest burger chain in Japan (behind McDonald’s) with over 1,400 outlets throughout, and with another 100 spread across Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia. We had been hearing rumours of MOS expanding to Australia for a while and after the opening of a Brisbane “Test Run Store” in March, we decided that we had to check out the original. Each of us grabbed a different item but I had my eyes set on the MOS Cheeseburger that came on a soft whole-grain bun, a beef + pork mince pattie, Australian cheese, thick slice of tomato, onion, mayonnaise, American mustard and the classic MOS meat sauce.

Comments
“The best way to describe this burger is basically a McDonald’s Cheeseburger with a large dollop of Bolognese sauce on it. If it were any bigger it would have been a total mess however, I avoided all of that nonsense by scoffing it down in 3 bites. Sure, MOS is essentially a fast-food chain, but I noticed the locals were’nt treating it as fast-food; more like a place to hang out and unwind. There were kids studying and office workers kicking back, playing video games and puffing on cigarettes in the enclosed smoking areas. Also unlike some of the big chains, each burger is cooked to order. This may see you waiting a little longer but its worth the wait as the burgers come out fresh and hot.”


The Espy

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Espy – 11 The Esplanade, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Espy Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
16 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$16.50
Summary

From Reggae to Dance, Hip-Hop to Rock & Roll, The Esplanade Hotel (or more affectionately known as “The Espy”) has been catering to Melbourne’s eclectic musical tastes for over 100 years. Whether it be a local band or an epic international, it is the place n St Kilda to check out some new tunes, have a drink and enjoy a feast. So when you’ve got all these big musical acts coming to and fro, you’d better be able to offer them some decent grub, right? This is where The Espy Kitchen comes in; preparing everything from classic Pub favourites to delicious pastas, desserts and killer breakfasts (perfect rejuvenation for even the biggest hangovers). We visited one rainy Melbourne Sunday evening and went for the only burger on the menu. Their signature “Espy Burger” comes with a beef pattie, bacon, tasty cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato, red onion and The Espy’s secret sauce all on a sesame seed bun. There’s also a decent portion of fries with house-made ranch dipping sauce.

Comments
“With the rep that this place generally has (not that its a a bad one but more that its quite laidback) I really wasn’t expecting much. However, when it came to the kitchen it couldn’t be further from the case! Everything that I saw come out of there looked as if it had been prepared by someone with love and passion for food. The burger offered a hearty traditional beef pattie topped with tasty cheese and a good amount of salty bacon. Pickles are always a wlecome addition and all the other ingredients were pretty fresh (although there was a little too much lettuce). The traditional seeded bun did a good job of holding it all together. Nothing too fancy just a job well done. Good work guys.”
“I have to admit this is the first time I’ve been to The Espy. It always looks gross and full of people who catch public transport. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a clean, warm and friendly restaurant tucked away at the side of the live music venue with families casually sitting down to dinner. Inside the stock-standard-sesame-seed-bun was a hearty piece of beef with a great juicyness to it; as well as being accompanied by a few rashes of crispy bacon. As I expected they didn’t try anything fancy and just did the basics quite well.”
“Practically living at the Espy in the old University days it really felt like traveling back home and having your mum cook you her ol’ fashioned “Mama’s Style” hamburgers. All the love and home rusticness is there. The medium-sized pattie was very juicy and tasty. The melted cheese was great and the pickles added that tang that I so love in a burger. The secret sauce added a subtle creaminess to each bite. The down sides were that it did need a little bit of ketchup and there was too much green in there. Chips were good.”
“Sooo surprising. G accidentally gave away the venue beforehand and I hate to say it but I thought, “Damn it’ll be all turkish buns and no love” – how wrong I was. The bun was a seeded traditional roll that did a half-decent job of soaking in the juices. The pattie was really enjoyable; it was lightly seasoned and allowed the beef to do a lot of the talking. The cheese they used was also remarkable. The bacon might’ve been just a little too crispy for me but that’s nothing to cry about. The pickles were OK but I reckon it couldve done with a few less of them… same goes for lettuce. My recommendation is, save the dill mayo-style dipping sauce for the burger. It doesn’t work well as a side with chips and would add a creaminess to the burger that’d cut through the acidity of the pickles. I know I’ll be back soon. Seriously impressive.”
The Esplanade Hotel (Espy Kitchen) on Urbanspoon


Freshness Burger

Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Freshness Burger – 1F 2-3-16 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku,
Tokyo, Japan (東京都新宿区新宿2-3-16ライオンズマンション1F)
Burger:
Classic Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
¥590/$6.95 AUD/$7.35 USD
Summary

In 1992 Mikio Kurihara spotted a house “For Rent” in the Tokyo suburb of Tomigaya. This, he thought, would be the perfect place for a burger joint. Inspired by the diners, roadhouses and grills of Tennessee USA, Kurihara began to build a brand that would be driven by one sole desire: to provide the freshest, juiciest hamburgers in Japan. Freshness Burger’s slogan “Freshness FOOD . Freshness SERVING . Freshness PEOPLE . Freshness PLANET” now echoes across over 200 locations throughout Asia. It may not make perfect sense in English, but we’re sure the Japanese get it because they pack these little places to the brim. Their menu seperates their Classic Burgers and Hamburgers (there seems to be a difference) but also offers Hotdogs, Veggie burgers, and a range of sides and drinks. Curious to see how the Japanese interpreted a classic, we ventured in and ordered the Classic Cheeseburger that came on a soft bun with a quarter-pound 100% Australian beef pattie, red cheddar cheese, grilled onion, lettuce, tomato and finely chopped pickles.

Comments
“I found this burger oozed a lot of juice and oily goodness. From where though I don’t really know!? The beef pattie was actually a little on the thin side and not as salted as I’d hoped, but still, it was cooked just right. All the other ingredients were as fresh as you’d expect. Unfortunately I had to add a good amount of ketchup and mustard to really give a little extra zing. It was really odd at how hot the whole burger was. It kind of seemed like the whole thing was placed in a steamer or something to soften it all up.
“They definitely got the name right, because this burger came out fresh as a daisy. Actually it was piping hot and I had to wait a while after burning my tongue. Even though there was a generous amount of cheese, I still had to add a decent amount of sauce to make up for the dull piece of beef. Once it had cooled down, it became a very easy burger to eat. It didnt leave a mess but it was too small to fill you up.”
“Quite a basic and enjoyable meal. The pattie needed a bit more seasoning and there was too much lettuce… but the grated pickle was a pleasant surprise! The bun was soft and took on the right amount of juice from the pattie. The sad thing was, it definitely needed mustard and tomato sauce to help boost it to the average rating for me. On a side note, “The Pepsi Nex” as they call it, was terrible and their chips/fried potatoes were average and needed more salt.”
“The first thing that you notice is how incredibly soft this burger is. At the right temperature I reckon you could kneed it into a ball and play catch with it. Everything was, like the name suggested, quite fresh. The “red cheddar’ was OK but I wanted a little more saltiness from it. The whole thing lacked a lot of flavour for me so I drowned it in ketchup and mustard. Really, the greatest impact you get is the hidden chopped pickle that sits under the cheese. Next time I’d go for one of their Hot Dogs or more Japanese-style burgers.”


Hog’s Breath Cafe

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Hog’s Breath Cafe – 695 Warrigal Road, Chadstone, Australia
Burger:
Cheeseburger in Paradise
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
11 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$12.95
Summary

If its an all-in doozy of a night that you’re after, then Hog’s Breath Cafe is the place for you. Packed to the brim with hungry folk and all kinds of random paraphernalia on the walls, this place is all about “having fun and enjoying yourself”. Their menu offers everything from pasta, seafood, sandwiches and ribs, but they’re claim to fame is an 18 hour Prime Rib Steak that can be ordered before you arrive if your worried about a sell out (it happens). It all began in 1989 by a gentleman by the name of Don Algie. After spending 4 years in Florida (some may suspect most of it at a TGIF’s), he sailed to the Whit Sundays looking for the perfect spot to set up his new venture. There in Airlie Beach, Queensland, he built the very first Hog’s Breath. Amidst the calamity and noise our waitresses Knick-Knack and Juno kindly pointed out some very enticing Burger-tarian options. We opted for the Cheeseburger in Paradise that included a grilled beef pattie topped with sliced cheddar cheese, lettuce, beetroot, tomato, red onion rings and smoked BBQ sauce all on an Aussie style Damper bun. With a hefty serve of HogsTail® fries on the side, we began the pig out.

Comments
“I was a little disappointed with this burger. For somewhere that really prides itself on the quality of their steaks and ribs, I was really let down by their poor meat pattie. I was expecting something big and bursting with juices, but in the end was it was small, dry and under seasoned. The burger was however, overloaded with tomato, beetroot and lettuce which, was too much so I ended up taking most of it out. The bun was a bit dry and didn’t really feel like it was the freshest thing I’ve ever had. The fries were actually pretty good though. Also if you’re going to make a Cheeseburger, at least make it cheesy!”
“This burger actually wasn’t as bad as I expected… it also wasn’t as big as I expected. It didn’t even leave me wishing I had worn tracksuit pants to dinner like all the other patrons. The beef had little flavour to it and the cheese wasn’t melted, but for some reason the smokey BBQ sauce made up for it. I obviously removed all of the beetroot. All the waitresses reminded me of that Juno movie and the curly fries – that were awesome – brought back fond memories of Queensland holidays.”
“It came out looking like a murder victim; insides spilling out and with a knife stuck in the middle. Not a good start to say the least. After taking a few snaps I took my first bite. The meat was OK: lightly seasoned with onions but it had a very pasty, totally over processed (and store bought) texture to it. I then went on a mission to pull out the 4 enormous slices of cold beetroot inside my burger. Sure, you can debate whether or not beetroot is a good choice in a burger all you like, but no one ever needs 4 bloody slices. This thing was meant to be a “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, but sadly it felt more like a “Cheeseburger in Syria”. I’m sure these guys do some wicked ribs and steaks, but as far as burgers go, its time to go back to the drawing board.”
Hog's Breath Cafe on Urbanspoon