Coco Cubano

Friday, November 30, 2012

Coco Cubano – 157 Greville St, Prahran, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$14.90
Summary

Located on a prime corner position on the ever evolving and eclectic enclave that is Greville St, Prahran, Coco Cubano is a living tribute to all things Cuban. Stereotypical Cuban photographs adorn the walls including cigars, vintage cars, Che Guevara, coffee beans and family portraits of moustached men. With the Coco Cubano philosophy being ‘Viva la revolucion! Be the revolucion’, they encourage you to get amongst it with a wide selection of coffee, chocolates, cocktails and tapas menu. Despite their political differences and embargo the Cubans were not denied the humble American burger. Accompanied by a $15 jug of Sangria (Sunday arvo’s only) we ordered the Wagyu burger that came on wholemeal bun with a 100% Wagyu beef mince with onion, bacon, cheese, capsicum, garlic aioli and some thick cut chips.

Comments
“With the sun still shining and the temperature sitting in the high 20′s in the early evening, we could of almost convinced ourselves we were in Cuba. Then we realised we live in Victoria, the nanny state, therefor there wasn’t any aroma of a Cuban cigar in the air. This burger had some serious ingredients in it; all packing some great flavours, really fresh and high quality. This left me thinking how they made any money off the burger at the price it was at. This was the first time I had experienced capsicum in a burger and thought it suited it. It added a bit of spice to an otherwise extremely creamy burger. The wholemeal bun ultimately fell apart due to the serious juice oozing from the wagyu beef.”
“Blending an almost Caribbean vibe with Greville St culture is an interesting and a brave take. As you walk off the street you suddenly feel the urge to drink from a cocktail glass with an umbrella in it. I really enjoyed the theme and casualness of the place, add the fact that the open kitchen had a fiery grill roaring at the time we walked in and the smell had me hooked. The pattie was a meaty, thick Wagyu chunk that tasted great. Your initial reaction is to add sauce, but after a few bites you don’t need it. The roasted peppers with aioli really worked well in this burger, as did the wholemeal bun. The thick chips were really good, crusty on the outside and with great amount of seasoning.”
“As stated, we paid $14.50 a pop for this burger. So when it came out looking like a million bucks with all the fancy bells and whistles, boy was I impressed. As soon as I bit in I experienced a wave of creaminess seeping out of its every nook and cranny. Time passed and I started to consider the potential logic behind the wholemeal bun. Never would I even think of using such a thing but then I realised it was just there for support. The wholemeal made for neutral, non-intrusive scaffolding. So, apart from eventually falling apart, it wasn’t so bad. Overall the burger was quite simple, creamy and meaty, but I felt it lacked a bit of acidity. It needed an extra something to cut through the decadent aioli and cheese. Maybe some red onion, pickles or even sweet tomato ketchup would’ve helped that out. I honestly really liked this burger; especially for the price.”
Coco Cubano on Urbanspoon


Gramercy Bistro

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gramercy Bistro – 162 Commercial Rd, Prahran, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Gramercy Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
13 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$20.50
Summary

It’s fair to say that when a place takes on a name like “Gramercy Bistro” you’re more than likely to think of all that is cool about Manhattan. Go on and add one of Melbourne’s trendiest hotels in the Cullen (a part of the Art Series Hotels) and big expectations loom. Paying homage to some of NYC’s greatest hotels, owner Adam Faigan and Head Chef Rodd Blutman and his team have put together a menu that injects a little bit of Melbourne into many go-to New York dishes like Reuben sandwiches, Steak frites, Buttermilk Pancakes of course, the humble hamburger. Catering for every kind of diner also extends to the layout: a casual deli/cafe approach towards the front, cocktails and cigars in the inside-outside area, or the relaxed, but a touch more formal, dining space near the back of the restaurant. On a sun filled Sunday we sat smack-bang in the middle and ordered their signature Gramercy Burger that comes with a Brioche bun, Wagyu beef pattie, bacon, onions, pickles, melted cheddar, tomato, relish, mustard and a side of shoestring fries.

Comments
“Some really nice presentation here with crispy salty fries served in an unpretentious cardboard box and the burger topped with a pickle. The highlight for me was the perfectly melted, super smooth, creamy and gooey cheddar cheese that ultimately enveloped the beef and married the bacon. The bun was super soft and sweet, which worked really well with the creaminess of the cheese and the contrasting tang of the mustard. The beef pattie was the right size and cooked just right, however it lacked a whole lot of flavour. I would of loved the bacon to be a bit crispier to add a bit of crunch to a burger that overall lacked a variety of texture.”
“We’re not off to a good start when I say the standouts in this burger were the bun, bacon and cheese. The pattie was a bit bland but, supported by all these awesome tasting side ingredients, as well as the tangyness of the mustard, really made up for it. Due to the pattie tasting a bit processed and run of the mill, more sauce had to be added. The fries weren’t great and to add insult to injury my Coke was a bit flat. However bonus points for the lime wedge.”
“Mouth agape I thought, “Wow, what a work of art – a sexy, classy work of art.” But then I caught eye of the weird multicoloured beef. I thought the worst, expecting a multitude of unnecessary herbs and spices to choke the beef’s potential. To my surprise, when I bit in a wave of enjoyment ran up and down my tastebud valleys. The highlight ingredients for me were the cheese, the bacon and maybe even the pattie. The not too overpowering mustard was masterfully added but the relish was a smidge too jammy and sugary. It was actually good! But then like most relationships, it kind of got boring. Not to say that this is a bad burger at all. But it didnt leave me wanting more, not out of hunger, but pure allure.”
Gramercy Bistro on Urbanspoon


Burger Fuel

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Burger Fuel – 101 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington, New Zealand
Burger:
Third Pounder with Cheese
Serviettes:
0 (thanks to the Doofer)
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$9.60 NZD / $7.55 AUD
Summary

Burger Fuel first opened on Ponsonby Rd in Auckland in 1995. After initially expanding nation-wide they were eventually floated on the NZ stock exchange in 2007 and partnered with a Dubai based investment group. Since opening their first Middle-Eastern store with a 200 seat restaurant in Saudi Arabia, they now boast 37 stores across New Zealand, Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt and Libya. The store is decked out with plenty of stainless steel, fluro lights and an obvious love of hot rods with a really tried and tested kitchen finely tuned to produce a consistent burger using the finest of local ingredients. After much deliberation we opted for the Third Pounder with Cheese that comprises of 1/3 pound of 100% pure NZ grass fed beef, melted cheddar, bread and butter pickles, dijon mustard, relish and the famous fresh natural Burger Fuel aoli.

Comments
“First off, the “Doofer” is the smartest invention ever. As someone with OCD who hates shit on his hands, this is heaven sent. And, this burger definitely needed it because it was extremely saucy. Almost too saucy as the strong flavour of the dijon mustard and sharp pickles pretty much completely overpowered the cheese and only left a little bit of beef flavour. The beef was really evenly cooked; the reason I know this is because I really like checking out kitchens (even though I’ve never actually used mine at home) and found the patties being char grilled on a conveyor belt. On a side note. I’m very impressed, and at the same time perplexed, as to them having a store in Iraq.”
“A couple of days into our camper van trip of NZ and on a route mission to consume as many burger options as possible meant we sometimes would eat burgers a bit earlier than normal. In this case eating a burger at 11am was an eventuality that we often faced. For a morning burger the Third Pounder and Cheese was a winner, but not a filler. I loved the Dijon mayo and the pickles were awesome. The pattie was on the greasy side and did taste OK for franchise beef, but if it was a lunch/dinner meal I could have used some more meat in the mix.”
“One of them “Jermaine from Flight of the Conchords” look-a-likes regularly told me that Burger Fuel is the best burger in NZ and I had to give it a go. Truth be told I didn’t care for these comments. Could a chain hold such an honour? Of course my immediate feelings towards Burger Fuel were tarnished, imagining a Grill’d-like establishment that’d rather ask me about my feelings than how I’d like my burger cooked. Sadly, neither of these things happened. Chowing down into my burger with its soft NZ-style bun gave me an automatic kick of dijon – exactly what I needed at 11am. The bread and butter cucumber were also a treat but where I felt it lacked was in the meat department. Whether it needed to maybe be a 1/2 pounder, or just use fattier beef I’m not sure, but it didn’t really stand out for me. I don’t know if I’d need another one on my next trip to NZ, next time I’m in Iraq though, that I’d give a crack.”


The Beaufort

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Beaufort – 421 Rathdowne Street, Carlton, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Out-N-Out Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
16 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$10.50
Summary

The brainchild of one of Melbourne’s bartending veterans, Dave Kerr opened the doors of the now much loved Beaufort with a handfull of other Melbourne misfits almost 6 months ago. Turning a bit of an obsession into reality, Kerr’s nautical themed dive bar come American diner delivers well-mixed classic drinks as well as a few quirky house specials. Their menu is blatant Americana, providing Carlton locals with mouthwatering treats like buffalo wings, deep fried pickles and pulled pork sandwiches. Amid a sea of cool cats (and one dude that looks like he’d been drinking there since the 70′s) we ordered their Out-N-Out Burger that came with a beef pattie, cheese, tomato, onion, ketchup and mustard all on a soft sesame seed bun.

Comments
“From the moment this burger arrives on your table in a classic American diner style basket with a pickle served on the side, you know these guys have put some thought into it. Although, once we ordered and received our burger we were informed that the bun they had used wasn’t the usual due to a sellout night the day before. Not that this proved any problem for me, as I loved that they lightly toasted the bottom sections to help hold the juices in and what seemed liked the top was steamed keeping it piping hot and soft. A nice thick and juicy pattie stood out as the star with little else to fight with in this burger. I have to say I really liked this burger, but still feel it needed something else to make it amazing.”
“I’m not exactly sure how they achieved it, but this burger remained piping hot from first to last bite. The classic sesame seed bun was ideal, with just enough burnt toast marks to add some texture and structure while the rest was soft and fluffy. The thick juicy pattie was perfectly matched with the sharp tang of the ketchup and mustard sitting underneath it, creating a classic, no thrills and good value burger. I was really pleased to see that the old drunk guy talking to himself at the end of the bar was still made to feel welcome and didn’t mind that an American dive bar had been built around him.”
“A great tasting pattie that was generously on the thick side, so it didn’t leave me hungry. Having diced onions in the burger was a welcome change and really worked to dull down the acidic onion flavour that can sometimes dominate the palette. The bun was soft and I loved the toasty flavour it got off the grill. But what really impressed me was that it was served with both tomato sauce and mustard in it – winning!”
“I wasn’t completely sold on this burger. And this wasn’t for a lack of trying on my behalf. I really did want to like it because upon first inspection it looked the goods. The hero pattie was great. It was nice and coarse and really let you know you were getting a decent amount of beef. I actually hardly noticed the other ingredients because of it. But, the burger lacked something. I was enjoying the onion rings. So, I even tried putting put them in my burger to give it a hand. But the burger felt dry and without any stickiness of oil or fat it made me reach over to the complimentary spicy sauces and add a bunch in. After some contemplation I figured a whole egg mayo would’ve added a nice fatty creaminess and taken it up a notch. Then maybe if the pickles were inside the burger instead of on the side we’d have a real contender.”
The Beaufort on Urbanspoon


Parlour Diner

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Parlour Diner – 64 Chapel Street, Windsor, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Parlour Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$12
Summary

That’s right, Melbourne has another American-style Diner. What separates this place from the other dozen Americana eateries around town is the subtleness of the dining area. Even though it gives nod to some old school American diner properties like the long bar, the stools, the table layout and the open style kitchen. It still has that certain unique Melbourne cafe quality to it, whether it be the Asian style pork sliders that appear in the menu or the fine china used in service, it all represents Melbourne’s multicultural casual quirkiness. This of course is all backed by some great, friendly service and coffee aroma that greets you at the door. We chose to smash the Parlour Burger that came with a 8oz Beef pattie, tomato, lettuce, cheese, pickles on a brioche bun.

Comments
“This burger wasn’t exactly what I expected from these guys given the decor, menu and atmosphere of the diner. And, after a little tweaking I was a very happy camper. At most I enjoy a little bit of lettuce to add a bit of crunch and texture in a burger. I don’t actually want to taste all that greenery, so when presented with this much sharp and bitter flavour I promptly removed it. What lied beneath was a thick, juicy, well seasoned beef pattie covered in perfectly melted cheese on a super soft and glistening sesame bun. Just a word of warning, there is a small and sharp skewer hiding, like a tree trunk holding up all those leaves.”
“What I loved and hated about this burger was the imperfection of it. Like the pattie tasting great, but being over cooked. Great choice of bun, but cut unevenly leaving the base really thin. There was too much green stuff, but I loved the pickles. There is a trend here of good things working for this burger, but maybe lacking that extra bit of care that could really make it pop. Loved the curly fries though, no if’s or but’s about that!”
“This is a fresh, tasty summertime burger. Especially when you couple it with some curly fries, onion rings and maybe even a milkshake. Although the pattie was thick and juicy, all that greenery almost made me think I was eating healthy for once. But it only took more two bites for that bull to poke its horns out of the forest and remind me I was eating a meaty and a lovingly fatty hamburger. Between it and the lettuce, I actually missed all the rest of the other ingredients. Whether this was because the burger was super balanced or they were drowned out by the Amazon amount of lettuce I’m note sure. I’d definitely head back with a crew next time I’m around.”
Parlour Diner  on Urbanspoon