Bar Ampere

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bar Ampere – 16 Russell Place, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Bifteck a L’Hambourgeoise
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$20
Summary

If you’re looking for this joint, some people might say, “Google it”. But if you’re a Melbournian who loves a decent drink, then it’d be easy enough to just mention that it’s next door to Gin Palace. You’ll be even more tempted once we mention that Bar Ampere is brought to you by the same cat that owns Gin Palace, Madame Brussels and Collins Quarter. That cat is Vernon Chalker and with Bar Ampere he pays tribute to the futurism movement which swept through Paris and Italy at the turn of the 20th century. With Béton brut (raw concrete) wall to wall, light globes hanging from an army of mannequins hands and a back bar built from wine bottles, can all make dining at Bar Ampere feel like entering an art exhibit. But when the extremely friendly staff welcome you, you can untuck your shirt, relax a bit and think with your stomach. The menu again takes a little bit of French and adds a lot of modern Melbourne. With only splades to assist you, you might find yourself ordering anything from a ham and cheese toasty to a syringe filled with mash potatoes (yes we’re serious). On a cool Sunday evening we ordered a round of home made Ginger Beer and Bar Ampere’s Beef Burger (Bifteck a L’Hambourgeoise) that boasted two beef patties, a buttermilk bun, Swiss Gruyère, carrot & grain mustard wombok slaw and is finished with a side of cornichons & tomato chutney.

Comments
“It gets me a little bit excited knowing that you can come to a place like this to feast on a great burger up until 3am. Arriving on your table classically wrapped in wax paper lets you know these guys have put in the effort to create something special. The first thing you do when ordering is ask yourself two patties or the one? Of course we opted for two! The patties are beautifully cooked; nice and grilled on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. A heavy seasoning gives the patties a peppery finish that you won’t forget. It also somehow reminded me of meatloaf… and thankfully not the singer. The finely shredded coleslaw adds a cooling tang to the burger. The fluffy buttermilk bun was amazing, although the bottom started to get a bit soggy by the end. I really have to say I missed a good side of chips with this burger and, from how great this burger is, I’m thinking they could have been great too.”
“I’m not sure if it’s been scientifically proven, but there seems to be a direct correlation between a burger wrapped in wax paper and deliciousness. Inside I discovered a perfectly structured double-beef pattie and bun. A new ingredient I don’t think I had experienced in a burger before was the very thinly cut coleslaw that added a real tangy bite to it – similar to what you get from a pickle. It was perfectly balanced out by the spicyness of the mustard and worked really well together. The beef could of been a little bit more pink but still had great flavour and the soft bun soaked up all the juices perfectly without completely dissolving.”
“I loved the pepperiness of the pattie. It was also juicy, meaty and cooked just right. You are given an option of going for a single or a double pattie; Friends go for the double, it is that good, without it being overly filling. The coleslaw was used sparingly in the burger which I think was a good thing as it cools your palette down and neutralises that pepperiness from the pattie, but not too much to bore your tastebuds with a mouthful of coleslaw. The bun was beautiful; so soft and delicate. This burger does not come with chips which, was a bit of a shame, as I reckon they would have been the icing on the cake.”
“The zillion dollar fast-food food industry has been doing it forever, so it’s about time those cool-cat-burger-bars caught on. The difference is, when ordering a McWhopper you know exactly what you’re getting. But in this instance, the burger’s gift wrapping amplified the Adventure ten-fold, unaware of what your mouth is about to experience. Punch me for saying this, but I honestly wasn’t sure the double was the right choice. But once I bit in I cursed myself for ever doubting the decision. The best part was that the burger put the beef on a pedestal and let the other ingredients adore it without causing a frenzy. This is probably due to the fact that the chutney is left on the side so you can add it as you go without totally devastating the bun. Although it did get a little soggy at the bottom, it still held the ingredients together like a vice forged by a medieval blacksmith named Benedict. The only things I would do differently with this burger would be the addition of some mayo to enhance the creaminess and add some fries or onion rings as a side.”
Jus Burgers (South Yarra) on Urbanspoon


Belle’s Diner

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Belle’s Diner – 150 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Dinerr Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$17.50
Summary

Bright like Broadway, the warm glow of the words “DINER” are a homing beacon for all those looking to get their fix of laid back, NYC inspired dining; the classic sort of course. With Head Chef Catriona Freeman fresh from a stint at Heath Ledger’s Five Leaves, it makes plenty of sense to bring back some of the tastes of Brooklyn to Fitzroy. Situate yourself at either the sleek stainless-steel counter or at one of the vintage timber booths, you’ll always have something to entertain you. From peering into the kitchen for some behind the scenes drama, trying to decipher the cool-cats tatoos sitting opposite you, or just watching as the day rolls past through their huge glass windows, you’ll hardly notice time tick past on their übercool clock/wall/wall-clock. Without much hesitation we ordered their Dinerr Burger (not a typo) that came with a Wagyu beef pattie, brioche bun, caramelised onion, Tasty Cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickles, mayo and a side of seasoned fries.

Comments
“First off, this is a seriously cool venue with really friendly staff and, if I lived locally, would love to call it my local. Everything in this burger was in perfect proportion with a really thick and juicy beef pattie. The condiments can often get lost in a burger, however the large cut tomato and pickles added a really good crunch. The cheese and sauce together created a creamy flavour that worked well with the sweet and sugary bun. Not the biggest burger, but with an ample amount of fries it wont leave you hungry.”
“A slick diner feel with just the right amount of mood lighting 4 guys can handle on a burger escapade. The burger was on the small side, but still filling nevertheless. The brioche bun was typically sweet, so memorably soft and delicate, worked really well with the delicious, juicy pattie. The humble pickle is always a welcome addition on my plate so, along with a small amount of lettuce and tomato they worked a treat. The mayo in the burger was good and the seasoning on the chips was great!”
“As usual, when taking photos I’ll steal a chip to shut my hunger up for even a few seconds. But I couldn’t stop at just one. It was like someone took a steak and somehow grated it over the chips. So eventually I bit in and the cheese was first of many burger tastes to flirt with my taste buds. It wore a tuxedo and introduced itself with a suaveness normally reserved for secret agents. The pattie crumbled with each bite, had onions throughout and was peppery and beefy. It maybe could’ve been a little more pink, but that’s me being a schtickler. Their pickles were also a highlight. They played their supportive role well, distinct but not too “acidy”. Balance played a big role in this entire meal for me: from all of the burgers ingredients, to the accompanying fries, to the retro decor and charming staff. Everything was superb.”
Belle's Diner on Urbanspoon


Half Moon

Friday, October 19, 2012

Half Moon – 120 Church Street, Brighton, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Beef Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
35 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$22
Summary

Rejuvenated for the umpteenth time, Half Moon is as synonymous to Brighton as cosmetic surgery, convertibles and inbreeding between the local inhabitants of the Brighton bubble. Calling itself a pub is a slight understatement; this place is big, modern and bares little resemblance to what you would consider a traditional pub. Split over 2 levels and boasting no less than 6 drinking and dining spaces both indoors and outdoors, Half Moon caters to everyone from families with little kids eating dinner, mates catching up and watching the footy to cougars on the hunt for their future ex-husbands. The menu offers a small selection of pub classics as well as a some pastas and meat dishes. We ordered the Beef Burger that had bacon, Swiss cheese, sweet and sour onions, lettuce, tomato and aoili served with chunky steak fries.

Comments
“I was a little disappointed at first when this burger came out as the bun greatly outsized the pattie itself. But once getting hold of the burger I came to the conclusion that anything smaller might’ve have left you cradling a mess. The bun itself was actually pretty good and held a think juicy pattie that was perfectly cooked. I have to say the standout and highlight of this burger though has to be the sweet and sour onions. All the other ingredients were still fresh and flavourful though. With the addition of a lil’ sauce you could have a pretty quality Bayside burger on your hands.”
“This place has ruined many Christmas lunches for me by providing me with many epic hangovers (Half Moon used to throw the best Christmas Eve parties). The carpeted dining room was a far cry from the last time I was there and everyone was a lot better behaved. The bun on this burger was huge and it did take a few bites to reach the beef however, it needed to be, nothing else would of been able to keep this burger together. The thick chunk of beef was cooked to a perfectly pink medium-rare, and was one of the best quality I’ve tasted in a while. With the bun being so large, the sweet and sour onions sort of clumped together in one small spot so were only tasted in a few bites, which was a shame as they were great. Sometimes the pricier burgers can leave you still feeling hungry afterwards, this was definitely not the case in this circumstance.”
“Sometimes you come across little culinary gems in life that at the time really leave an impression on you. I may have found one on this outing folks. This time it wasn’t the pattie, even though it was good and had a lot of those awesome attributes. It was the sweet and sour onions that got my attention – a clear differentiator to other burgers I’ve had recently. I loved the contrast those onions added to the rest of the ingredients in the burger. There were some things I didn’t think that well of: the bun was too big, the chips were a bit average and the burger did need extra some sauce. No matter how good those onions were it still would’ve need more sauce to tak it up a level. Either way a good burger, but heaps of potential.”
“My first bite was nothing but dough. With this much bun I figured this was going to be a filling burger. The beef was pink throughout, very juicy and excellently beefy. There was a quality charr to the outside of the pattie and it had a nice amount of fattiness in it. Swiss cheese is probably one of my favourite cheese for a burger and this really hit the nail on the head. It was beautifully melted but, didn’t melt into the background and stayed bold. I really didn’t mind the bun but it really should’ve been smaller. That, and the lack of aioli/ketchup/mayo (take your pick) both in and outside the burger were the only things I’d hate on in this burger. But if I were around Brighton again getting my Milf on and I got hungry, sure, I’d be back.”
Half Moon on Urbanspoon


Joe’s Bar & Dining Hall

Friday, October 12, 2012

Joe’s Bar & Dining Hall – 64-66 Acland St, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Spicy Beef Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$18
Summary

For more than nearly 30 years Greasy Joe’s has been one of Melbourne’s most iconic establishments, serving up it’s signature burgers and amazingly huge breakfasts. So when this Acland St icon came up for sale, Rob Gringlas jumped at the opportunity to reinvent it into something that still holds some original charm. After returning home following a stint in the UK, Gringlas wanted to bring the best of what he saw around the world to St Kilda. Losing the “Greasy” and reopening as Joe’s Bar & Dining Hall, they have undergone a huge transformation with a hip new fit-out, a casual yet refined menu and a drinks list of great cocktails, local beers and Australian wines. Paying homage to its past life, the menu still includes burgers and sliders as well as other dishes like roast pumpkin and marscapone risotto plus a decent selection of steaks. We however, went straight to the burger section of the menu and ordered their Spicy beef burger that comes with a 100% Galloway beef pattie, jalapenos, onions, double cheese, lettuce, tomato sauce, cayenne and chipotle mayo.

Comments
“I really liked the new fitout and the new menu; its a lot more grown up and appropriate for the area. The burger was really well presented, however it came open and I like my burger already stacked because I’m not very confident with putting it together without making a giant mess. Also, because I’m pretty tough and love my spicy food, I added more of the spicy sauce they offered us. There was just the right amount of jalapenos in the burger adding enough kick with each bite but not too many that you start sweating profusely. I’m not sure the double cheese was necessary but I guess it added a creaminess to match the spice. The beef was nice but the flavour didn’t really come through when competing with the other ingredients.”
“Nothing but standouts the entire way for me with this burger. The soft traditional bun was exceptional and the pattie was tasty, big and obviously prepared by someone who loves their meat. What also worked for me was the chargrilled taste that lurked on the back of the palate along with the double grilled cheese which, is always going to win points in my book. The jalapenos with red onion added that fresh crunch to each bite and was a great way to break-up the dominating flavour of the beef. Overall, both the burger and the chips were great.”
“By now you should all know I have a little bit of an obsession with chipotle. So when I find a burger with chipotle mayonnaise you know I’m going to get a little excited. Because of our last rather bland experience under the venue’s previous guise I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high. But this burger was great. The pattie was soft and ground coarsely to give it a nice crumble with every bite. The red onion really shone and played nice next to the jalapenos. As far as the chipotle mayo goes it was ok, but I was hoping it could’ve been even smokier and spicier. Overall a really decent burger. I’d almost say best I’ve had in St Kilda for a while.”
Joe's Bar and Dining Hall on Urbanspoon


The White Lady

Friday, October 5, 2012

The White Lady – Corner Commerce Street & Fort Street,
Auckland, New Zealand
Burger:
Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
7 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$9.50 NZD / $7.60 AUD
Summary

In this day and age it’s not often you come across an establishment that’s been dishing out burgers for over 60 years. What’s even more surprising is that the joint is located in little downtown Auckland. This long white bus/trailer, converted diner on-wheels, is in many ways the original food truck (check it out). With the same family at the helm since 1948, the White Lady has become famous for their late night/very early morning hangover preventions/cures. Currently open Monday to Thursday from 730pm to 3am and 24 hours from Friday to Sunday, there’s no wonder so many locals vouch for its greasy healing properties. Weathered and in need of a fresh lick of paint doesn’t deter a soul though. The charm and elegance that the White Lady delivers has taken it to the #1 spot of “What to do in New Zealand” by Lonely Planet. Not being avid readers of the publication, we actually stumbled upon the neon clad bus early one morning and cursed our NZ buddies who forgot to mention this institution to us. We ordered and vowed to come back the next day to experience the burger with clear heads. We took our turn in a busy lunch time line and ordered the Cheeseburger that came on a traditional burger bun with a 100% New Zealand beef pattie, grilled onions, tomato, lettuce, cheese and tomato sauce.

Comments
“I am an absolute sucker for nostalgia and when I found out this place was founded in 1948 and had barely changed since, the thought of having the same burger experience as someone over half a century ago made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. As expected there was nothing fancy or pretentious about this burger. However what did surprise me (as I don’t think I’d ever had it before), was that the cheese was melted to the top of the lightly toasted bun instead of over the beef. The beef was perfectly seasoned but it was the grilled onions that added the greatest flavour and texture. Having first tried this burger drunk at 3am it was reassurring that it tasted just as good second time around, sober and during the day.”
“This burger was made for eating whilst standing – nicely wrapped and compact. The cheese was melted onto the bun like butter on hot toast. There’s not not much else that needs to be said about this burger. The pattie was thin and very tasty. The sweet caramelised onions perfectly capped off the burger and made it a complete meal. In my opinion no chips were needed. Next time in NZ I will definitely be going back!”
“When you’re on an epic Burger Adventure like we are and you come across a piece of history like this, it almost brings a tear to your eye. Whether it was 3am or 3pm the service was impeccable and burgers were delivered with a smile. The small-ish burger is easy to manage and does a great job of holding all of the fresh ingredients together. The dominant flavour for me was the sweetness from the onions and, when paired with a creamy cheese and salty meat pattie almost made for a perfect diner style burger. This is the place to come to in New Zealand, whether you’re after a burger or just want to soak up a piece of history.”