Mail Exchange Hotel

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Mail Exchange Hotel – 688 Bourke St, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
M.E.H’s Beef Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
4 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t Bother
Price:
$18.50
Summary

The ominous looking building that is the Mail Exchange Hotel is rich with history. Prior to being constructed, it was the home of Robert Hoddle who famously designed the layout for Melbourne’s inner city streets. After the land’s acquisition in 1913 by the Post Master General’s Department, construction began for a new building that would ease the congestion of another Melbourne landmark, The GPO. So, after almost 100 years and a few tenants later, nothing would be more Australian than to turn the old gal into a pub. The ground floor on the building has been been completely restored and features a 200 seat bistro, central bar, atrium with internal courtyard and informal lounge areas (the Pokies). With a pub-style menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner we went for the Mail Exchange Hotel Beef Burger that comes with 200 grams of chargrilled beef, lettuce, tomato, fried egg, bacon, mustard and mayo. This is all accompanied with a side of beer-battered chips and coleslaw.

Comments
“I don’t know why people bother putting something on the menu just for the sake of having it on there. If your not going to put any effort at all into something, don’t ruin it for everyone that is looking to enjoy a decent meal. Everything about the burger was wrong and uncared for. I really felt like my palette and stomach had been abused. Who the hell gave the green light for this to be on the menu?”
“I can’t really find anything positive to say about this burger, so I’ll just list the negatives: the bun was too big, stale and fell apart. The beef had very little flavour. They used the spine of the lettuce and the ends of the tomato. The “coleslaw” was wet cabbage with no mayo. So yeah, I think this place makes its money off the Pokies and the food is just an inconvenience for them.”
“Like a 5 year old that doesn’t want to eat his vegetables, you would have seen me react the same way with this burger. I hated burgers in general when I was eating it. I’m not even going to analyse it any further. It should just be removed from the menu and forgotten about. Readers – this was the first time I didn’t finish my burger – EVER. Damn you Mail Exchange Hotel, damn you..”
“As far as burgers go, this was shit. My bun fell apart almost instantly. The meat resembled a fast food chain just with some gourmet additions: chopped onion. You might be satisfied with this meal if you’d just gotten off a 24 hour plane ride and you were stuck in transit in Whothehellknowsville and this was the only thing to eat FOREVER. Come to think of it, the place kind of looked like a tacky airport lounge. It was a really nice, sunny day when we went though. I ate a Paddle-pop. I think it was banana.”
Mail Exchange Hotel on Urbanspoon


Kelly’s Bar & Kitchen

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Kelly’s Bar & Kitchen – 1510 Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, Olinda,
Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Kelly’s Burger
Serviettes:
5
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$19.50
Summary

Kelly’s is both a great local and an exciting new discovery for visitors to Mt Dandenong. As soon as you walk in you are welcomed by the cheerful, smiling staff and a comfortable timber lodge-like interior. Upon receiving the menu you can’t help but read the history of the place – built in 1891 as a logcutters cabin, it has withstood the test of time to be one of the oldest licensed venues in Victoria. But we digress, after reading the spiel in the menu you will notice a solid two pages of enticing choices. Whether you’re at Kelly’s for a light dinner or a good old fashion pig out, it’s all there. Of course we went for Kelly’s Burger that had a homemade 200gm beef pattie, lettuce, tomato, relish, bacon, egg, cheese and serve of chips.

Comments
“A real rustic style burger created in really rustic restaurant. With what I’d expect to be some very locally sourced ingredients, this burger ticked all the boxes of being a fresh country burger. The bun held in all the juiciness from the meat and the amazing golden yolk perfectly. The crispy bacon really added a nice salty flavour to the thick and juicy pattie. There was also a great aioli there that had a chipotle smokiness about it. I would really recommend heading out of town to get this burger, even if its just for a nice weekend drive. Oh, and things do get a little messy with this one.”
“Probably not worth reading my review. I was sick as a dog. I couldn’t smell or taste anything and I had no appetite. I got through about half of it very slowly and can’t remember a thing. I think the egg was good though? Shall endeavor to try it again.”
“I would drive an hour to eat that burger again, and if I didn’t have petrol in my car I would solve the mystery in teleportation and not commercialise it, but keep it as my greedy secret for one reason.. to eat this burger whenever I felt like it. This thick pattie was juicy and tasty with visible onion chunks (just like mama used to make). The cheese was noticeably melted on the pattie, the bacon was crisp, salty and AWESOME. The relish was good and the chips were good too. I recommend trying this burger with one of their choice of ciders.”
“Even a Polak like me likes a good ol’ fashioned Kaiser. This one was especially good, so with a bakery across the road it makes me think they’ve got to be fresh. From top to bottom this burger was tasty: I’ve mentioned the bun already, the bacon was excellent, the egg permeated awesomeness and the aioli had a smokey flavour that almost resembled chipotle. The only concerning thing I would say about this whole experience is a touch of inconsistency. When checking the menu online it will tell you that you’ll be receiving a regular homemade beef pattie. Once we arrived the menu stated that the beef pattie is Wagyu. Its easy to say that their site hasn’t been updated, but for me, it really didnt taste like Wagyu beef. So if you try it do let us know which one you think is right. In saying that the pattie was still really good – more like a rissole with chopped onions throughout – but still an enjoyable pattie. That was my only qualm. Everything else about the experience was cool though, kind of like the Mt Dandenong air, so bring a jacket. Unlike D who had to borrow G’s spare, and then got egg/sauce/burger all over it. Lesson learnt G.”
Kelly's Bar & Kitchen on Urbanspoon


The Burger Lounge

Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Burger Lounge – 902 Main Rd, Eltham, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Lounge Signature Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$12.50
Summary

If you look down the main street of Eltham on a Sunday night you’d say its a pretty quiet place. That is, until you spot The Burger Lounge. Its no wonder MP Steve Herbert (State Member for Eltham) recently nominated these guys for a 2011 Telstra Business Award; they are killing it. One of our readers had recommended The Burger Lounge to us, but it was safe to say this is not what we were expecting. People are everywhere; either scrambling for a table or picking up takeaway orders. The music is pumping and the lights are dimmed making the interior look more like a CBD cafe/bar than the everyday suburban burger joint that most of us are used to. We somehow managed to score a couple of seats outside and watched with astonishment as more and more people rolled in. It was crazy. After a bit of deliberation and going over their menu a million times we ordered the Lounge Signature Burger that came with a 100% prime organic beef pattie stuffed with havarti cheese, basted with a balsamic glaze, pickled cucumber, red onion, lettuce, tomato, relish & herb aioli.

Comments
“The first thing that took me by surprise was how unbelievably busy this “burger lounge” was. All of the burger’s individual ingredients seemed really fresh and of good quality but the whole package didn’t come together as well as I expected for a specialty burger shop. I wasn’t really sold on the idea of the havarti stuffed pattie as it didn’t add anything special and just seemed more like a gimmick. The pickles were good, but the whole thing seemed to be masked by it’s relish. I think it could’ve been a better burger if it were more simple.”
“After much heated debate about what burger to choose from their extensive menu, I lost. I would have preferred to try the Classic with Cheese, but the guys were hoping to try something new. The idea of some cheese that I’ve never heard of before stuffed inside beef just doesnt float my boat. It sounds like too much preperation and therefore not the freshest beef possible. Saying that, the beef still tasted great, but I didn’t actually notice the small lump of cheese in it’s centre as the mayo and strong chutney sauce overpowered it. Overall a very filling and messy experience. I can’t say I’ve ever been to Eltham before but in what seems like a sleepy pocket of Melbourne, full of fresh air, trees and birds, this place is doing a roaring trade.”
“Something about this burger really unsettled me. As I started eating it I could taste this flavour that would linger and semi-ruin the whole experience. After much discussion (debate) with the team I came to the conclusion that the relish was completely taking over in a bad way. By the time I had reached the end of the burger the bun looked more like a soggy, messy car wreck. So really the pro’s were only the pattie and pickles. I’d label the burger average, but only by a fraction. Chips were good.”
“My first impression was Great, weird bread again. Then I got a bit excited about trying our first burger with stuffed cheese inside the pattie. Sadly, the havarti was the wrong choice of cheese for the job, because once I bit in it didn’t ooze out at all. It just ended up going hard and rubbery like a Boccocini or Oaxaca cheese. On its own, the beef was actually pretty good; seasoned well and quite tasty. I wasn’t sure whether it was the balsamic glaze or the havarti but I did get a few sour hints with every bite. The Turkish/Foccacia style bun was way too big for the burger and I was left with just bread that I didn’t eat. Like we’ve all said, this place has the locals in a furor, so I’ll have to go back to try their Classic. As for their Signature though, I’d re-write it.”
Burger Lounge on Urbanspoon


The Standard Hotel

Thursday, March 17, 2011
The Standard Hotel – 293 Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Standard Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
14 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$19
Summary

The Standard Hotel is, in all its glory, a good ol’ fashioned pub. With many other institutions pouring in the big bucks into new-age renovations and refurbs, the Standard Hotel stands tall and proud, appearing completely untouched for decades. This isn’t to say that the place is falling apart, it has just been maintained with a nostalgic grace that’ll take you back to more simple times. The crowd has of course evolved since its opening in 1865, with a mix of young and old, to hipsters and the working class. This of course goes hand in hand with contrasting your ol’ fashioned pub meals like Steak Sandwiches and Fish and Chips to some of the more “local friendly” dishes like Goats Cheese Tart and an Eggplant Parma. With a country band twanging away inside we took a seat in their most spacious and adored beer garden and ordered their Standard Burger. It came on a traditional kaiser roll with a thick beef pattie, egg, bacon, tomato, beetroot, onion, lettuce, cheese and a side of chips.

Comments
“Having been disappointed with pub food of late, I was not expecting much from this burger. When everyone else is trying to reinvent the burger (with not much success), these guys have created just what needed to be done. I was actually surprised when it turned up in front of me looking like a traditional no frills pub burger.. Finally! It had a nice, thick and juicy pattie with a succulent pink centre accompanied by one of the best cooked eggs sitting atop it all. With a fresh Kaiser bun (and skewer) holding it all together and all the fresh ingredients, this burger really has something good going for itself.”
“This is a very tall burger! After removing the beetroot I got started on trying to condense the burger to a more manageable size. In doing so I popped the egg yolk and it sent a river of golden goodness everywhere. When a large beef pattie is involved it is easy to overcook it leaving the edges charred, however this had great flavour and juiciness throughout. The bun had a crusty outside shell and the remaining fluffiness soaked up the rest of the burger juices. A great local pub that hasn’t changed in decades and I’m guessing its exactly how the residents would prefer it.”
“I was so relieved that this wasn’t another dolled up pub burger. It didn’t try and show boat with any fancy ingredients. Even as you walk in you totally feel like you’re stepping into a country pub in the middle of nowhere. The pattie was lightly seasoned and resembled a rissole at times but when bitten with the bacon it added an awesome 2-hit meat combo. If you want to avoid looking like a pansy and eating with a knife and fork I suggest leaving the spike through the middle, because either way it does get messy and you’ll be left with egg on your face – literally. As for the veggies, for me the tomato and lettuce were unnecessary and didn’t contribute a whole lot but the beetroot added a pleasant sweetness and the onions were really good, especially when they mixed with what tasted/looked like a smear of whole grain mustard across the top bun. These guys really have created quite the enjoyable meal here and for me, true to their name, they’re setting the standard amongst traditional pub burgers.”
The Standard Hotel on Urbanspoon


Red Egg*

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Red Egg – 500 Chapel Street, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu Beef
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$23
Summary

Red Egg is a newly opened, recently renovated restaurant in the space of previously famed Angeluccis and Studio Cafe. Dining takes place in a very large and lounge-like room amidst dim lighting, modern furnishing and decor. With busy Chapel St at its door, Red Egg’s sidewalk dining is the perfect place for both “sight seeing” and being seen. They boast a wide range of Modern Australian dishes from seafood and steaks, as well as enticing wood-fire pizzas and plenty of meals designed to be shared. We launched into their Wagyu Beef Burger that came on a focaccia/baguette-like bun with tomato, lettuce, caramelised onion, bacon, cheese, a Wagyu beef pattie and a side of fries.

Comments
“I started off a little condused as I was expecting to have a duck egg on my burger – this was one of the main reasons I was taking the guys here. After speaking to the staff, I found out people weren’t the biggest fans of duck egg, so they took it off the menu.. how rude! It wasn’t the easiest burger to manage, especially when using a round beef pattie on a rectangle ciabatta bun. Each of the ingredients were packed full of flavour, with the beef and fried onions as the standout winners, but I ended up having to eat them individually and all in different stages.”
“A burger with a lot of potential. The pattie for starters gets a BIG tick – juicy, slightly pink in the middle, great taste and cooked just right. The Cheese was good, the onions could have been a little bit more caramelised and bacon slices with big strands of fat were a poor choice. The sauce that came with it was ok, but the biggest disappointment for me was the dense loaf of bread they used as a bun. It was a dough overload and a more traditional bun would have suited it better. Fries were ok.”
“The chefs are either boa-constrictors or they haven’t actually tried eating this burger. It was such a pain in the ass (more specifically, jaw) to get the first bite in. The bun was ALL WRONG and was almost like a spongy baguette. There was really nothing great about this burger. The meat was OK, but it was more like a rissole than the succulent Wagyu pattie I was expecting, and the veggies weren’t anything exciting. The only plus to this challenge of a burger was the bacon, which I found quite good. But saying that, it is pretty difficult to screw up the delicious meat-candy that is bacon.”

*Last we checked Red Egg had closed. We swear it’s not our fault.


Trunk Diner

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Trunk Diner – 275 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
8.5 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$13.50
Summary

As a baby brother to Trunk Restaurant & Bar, Trunk Diner caters for the more casual breakfast/lunchtime crowds. Their menu does its best to soak in the values from a traditional American diner (with some SoCal influences) offering everything from eggs, waffles, quesadillas and of course, apple pie. Stepping away from all that Americana nostalgia however, you’ll find yourself waiting for your order in what only can be described as.. a shed. But don’t worry about feeling claustrophobic in there, the walls are clear plastic cafe blinds that do their bit to keep nature out and your food on your plate. On a warm day the seat of the house is in their courtyard, allowing for excellent people watching whilst soaking in some warm rays. We took our places “inside”, looked over all the sauces lined up on the table (home-style ketchup, BBQ and El Yucateco), and proceeded to order The Burger that came with 175grams of fresh ground Wagyu beef (cooked medium-rare) on a grilled brioche bun, baby cos lettuce, Spanish onion, thick cut tomato and house-made pickles. There are plenty of extras you can throw into the mix (for a small price) with 3 different cheeses, jalapenos and guacamole to name a few. We kept with the all-American theme and went with the crispy bacon, Monterey Jack and a side of fries.

Comments
“This pint sized burger really packed a punch and it was quite surprising how filling it actually was. After adding the sides of fresh lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles, I also gave it a good dollop of the house-made tomato sauce. It was awesome and looking back I probably didn’t even need to add the tomato. The bacon was well cooked adding just that little bit more texture and the Monterey Jack cheese was melted perfectly into the thick and juicy pattie.”
“I got a little excited and ate the pickle by itself before giving it a chance in the burger. I’ve learnt my lesson and will add it next time; it would have suited the burger amazingly. A great little compact burger that for me was very neat and tidy. The bacon added a great crunch and the cheese melted well into the beef to add a touch of creaminess. The fries came with possibly the best home made tomato sauce ever – none of this fancy tomato salsa shit, just good old-fashioned home-style dead horse.”
“This burger is surprisingly filling; what looks like a small’ish burger really does fill you up. The pattie is fantastic – good amount of thickness, juicy and nicely pink in the middle topped with some nice melted cheese. The pattie was so tasty I could have had it on its own. On the side you’ve got a great tasting slither of pickle, a nice cut of lettuce, red onions cut into rings and a slice of tomato that was slightly too thick. I plan on going back again to try it with some caramelised onions. Chips were OK.”
“My ears pricked up as soon as I heard the sound of a cute American girl behind the grill – an excellent sign. After some anticipation and after all the recommendations we’ve had, it had arrived. In short , the bun was perfect. It soaked in the juices nicely, but then left enough to ooze out onto your chips below. The overall flavour throughout the burger was flame-grilled utter beefiness. As for the extras, I honestly even forgot I added bacon.. so I’d probably skip it next time. The Monterey Jack was good and tasted alot like a bold cheddar, but I think I would’ve preferred the gruyere to add even more creaminess. Like the others have noted, the homemade ketchup and pickles were both ridiculously good. It looks like I’ll have to go back again to try and find the perfect combo of additions (I’m thinking gruyere and caramelised onions), but frankly this is the kind of burger you could have as simple as: Bun, Beef and Sauce. Some fantastic work by the Trunk team. Do believe the hype.”
Trunk Diner on Urbanspoon


The Newmarket Hotel

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The Newmarket Hotel – 34 Inkerman St, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Rare breed Warialda Belted Galloway dry aged Beef Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
11 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$25
Summary

The guys that brought you venues like the Royal Saxon and The Middle Park Hotel are at it again. In a collaborative effort with architects Six Degrees and consulting chef Paul Wilson, the New Market Hotel’s famous Shnitz & Tits has been replaced with an elegance and charm only found across the Baja California. As you step past the original red brick facade, the borders between inside and outside turn to shadows and tall Oscar Niemeyer-like arches will make you feel like you’ve stepped out of StKilda and into a contemporary artwork. Alot of time and money have gone into this project, and it didn’t just stop at the renovations. The menu is rich with SoCal-Hispanic influences. Dishes like Bone Marrow Tacos and Pork Carnitas with Pineapple Salsa are perfect for diners that think they’ve had it all. After a little bit of guacomale to start off with we delved straight into the Rare breed Warialda Belted Galloway dry aged Beef Burger that came on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, sides of pickled cucumber, corn, capsicum, and a bowl spicy of patatas bravas.

Comments
“This is what I’d say is a true non-traditional burger that actually works.. and works damn well! Everything about this burger was well thought out: from the pickled side of assorted veggies and the rustic potatoes chunks with a chipotle style mayo, everthing really had it’s own distinct flavor. The burger itself has one of the best buns out there, and the pattie, oh that pattie! This is something that your not going to try anywhere else. The pattie is laced with paprika and really tastes like chorizo. I’d say its best enjoyed biting from your burger to your side dish, as each portion complements one another perfectly.”
“A lot of credit should be given to the Chef. He’s confidently taken some huge risks with various flavours and sides which could easily have turned into a disaster. The bun (my favourite style), held it together and trapped in all the juice and spice from the beef. In comparison to the other dishes at the Newmarket that are too small and leave you either hungry or broke, this was a fullfilling meal. At places like this staff can sometimes be a little “too important” and snobby, but we had some really friendly service from a blonde with half of her head shaved.”
“Overall a pleasant experience. Interesting décor, big menu, good service, but most importantly a burger to be proud of. The pattie was by far the star of the show. It was well seasoned with a mixed variety of spices that gave it a good zing. It was thick and cooked well, but 1 more minute on the grill and it would’ve been over done. The bun was perfect and the miscellaneous pickles that accompanied the burger were great; each with its own distinct flavour. The abnormally yellow chips/potato wedges were ok.”
“My first impression was Wow. What the hell is this? This burger was more Mexican than any of the burgers I’d eaten in Mexico. Probably because the Mexicans were trying to emulate the Americans. Saying that I was hoping it would be a touch spicier. Your first bite is filled with juice that can only be recreated by chorizo. The lettuce and tomato were basic but you end up forgetting about them because you’re too focused on this unique flavour to the beef. We were told its seasoned with paprika, garlic, onion powder and cooked with bone marrow.. but I couldn’t get past chorizo; especially with all the red/orange juices dripping out of it. A rare dining experience that every burger (and Mexican) lover should sink their teeth into.”
Newmarket Hotel on Urbanspoon