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


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


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