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


Rockpool Bar & Grill

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Rockpool Bar & Grill – Crown Complex, Southbank, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
David Blackmore’s Mishima Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Formal
Sleepiness:
21 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$24
Summary

If someone were to ask you where they should go for a good steak in Melbourne, chances are Neil Perry’s famous Rockpool Bar & Grill will be at the top of that list. Having made it to our very own Top 10 for 2010 with his David Blackmore’s Full Blood Wagyu Hamburger, we were very eager to sink our teeth into another one their renowned beef burgers. This time opting to use a Mishima beef pattie instead of the much loved David Blackmore Wagyu beef. What’s Mishima beef you may ask? Mishima is a Japanese produced beef that is regarded as rarer and pricier than the well known Kobe beef. Best described by David Blackmore as the “Original Native Japanese Cattle,” Mishima cows are thoroughbred in Japan and aren’t ever crossed with European breeds. The island on which they graze exists in relative isolation, whereas Wagyu beef is the result of crossbreeding these Mishima cattle with European Angus. With the addition of the new beef nothing else has really changed in the burger. It came on a toasted brioche bun with peppery onions, zuni pickles and tomato and lettuce on the side. Now before you go rushing into Rockpool be sure to check their website or our Facebook for updates- the Mishima Burger is incredibly rare and only appears on the bar menu approximately 4 to 5 times a year.

Comments
“You really can’t go wrong when heading to Rockpool for a meal. Although this was basically a simple pattie change on the renowned and delicious David Blackmore Wagyu Burger, this rare and almost unknown Japanese beef gives the burger a completely new life. The Mishima beef pattie was something new and different to anything I have tried before, with a more rustic style coarsely ground beef consistency. Perfectly cooked and juicy, this pattie has a real meaty dominate flavour about it. Although the pattie is the only change from the Blackmore burger they really seem like two completely different burgers. One isn’t better than the other, I guess it comes down to what you prefer. Another win for Mr Perry.”
“Just an outstanding and meticulously orchestrated burger. I opted to leave out the lettuce and tomato in order to concentrate on the distinct flavours that the beef, chutney, pickle and onion all offer. The beef was a large, thick patty that oozed juice and flavour that was in perfect ratio to the acidic pickle and spicy onions. The bottom of the bun had dissolved by the end of it but I couldnt care less; it’s just the price you have to pay for all that juice!”
“I was so happy that we came back again. I was a bit curious to see if they could deliver a better burger than their Wagyu version- keeping in mind this was in my top ten from last year. The burger was fantastic; a thicker pattie meaning more meat, more intense flavours and the pickles and onion, in true Rockpool fashion, were great. I don’t think this burger is better than the David Blackmore’s Wagyu Burger, in retrospect I think they are just two different types of burgers. This one just has more meatiness about it. Its a bigger burger for a bigger appetite and in some ways dominates over the all the other flavours inside, whereas the Wagyu Burger is a bit more delicate and is not as filling. Either way the winner is the Rockpool for creating such a good burger. Loved it.”
“The thing that stood out to me in the burger – as it should have – was the meat. The beef was incredibly flavoursome, juicy and ground quite coarsely without it all falling apart (meaning they’ve cut the mince properly with the grain). The spicy onions were the second thing that stood out, but not in the best way. Normally I would’ve eaten this kind of burger without the side of tomato and lettuce (and I did). But in this case I actually think that they might have helped to balance out all those really intense flavours of onions, pickles and beef. Or… I’d probably chuck the whole lot and just devour the amazing beef and bun on their own. The David Blackmore’s Mishima burger is a truly special experience that every serious burger lover should endeavour to sink their teeth into.”
Rockpool Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon


Burger Edge

Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Burger Edge – Shop 13, The Chevron 519-539 St Kilda Road,
Melbourne, Australia
Burger:
The Meat Lover
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
9 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$10.50
Summary

Well, we had to do it. Finally we did another burger franchise. With a lot of our readers telling us to get down there and give Burger Edge a go, we knew we had to do it and see first hand how they pump out their burgers. The St Kilda Rd Burger Edge is tucked away in a little nook in The Chevron apartments. It was cosy, smelt of decent burgers (always a positive) and had friendly staff. After much dispute on which burger we should eat, we decided that the dude at the counter should settle it. He recommended we go for the Meat Lover Burger that had Prime beef, short rindless bacon salami, ham, tasty cheese, salad, and BBQ sauce. We also grabbed some chips with “Mexican” seasoning salt.

Comments
“You know what, this one actually surprised me a little as I wasn’t expecting much from this place. I thought this would be just another burger franchise thats popped up over night with not much to offer. I tasted the beef pattie on its own and it was a little under seasoned, but you probably wouldn’t notice because of the spicy salami overpowering most of the burger. Overall it actually wasn’t so bad and all the ingredients came together pretty well.”
“I found this burger to be very neat and tidy. All the ingredients were in proportion to each other resulting in a decent bite, each and every bite. We did order the meat lovers so I can’t complain that there was too much meat, but jeez there is a lot of meat in this burger! The bbq sauce complimented and added an extra smokiness, which I dont usually like, but in this case worked a treat. It was only my first burger here and I believe it’s better than Grill’d.”
“This burger did nothing for me. The Salami was the most dominant flavour and probably, in a way, the highlight on what was an average burger. The pattie was dry and a little bland. We chose the white sourdough bread, which we thought was a good choice, but it turned out to be a little dry. The red onion was tasteless but the lettuce was nicely prepared and presentable. Highly recommend trying the chips with Mexican seasoning. Would I have it again?…No.”
“We didn’t have to wait too long for this one. The burgers were ready to rock’n’roll after a couple minutes – which is something I’m always suss on. Anyhow, at that moment my hunger was telling my tastebuds to shutup and just go with it. As soon as I bit in I was hit with an abundant amount of meatiness. But really the main flavour was coming from the spicy salami. The beef pattie should’ve been the hero, but it didn’t stand a chance as it was dry and bland. The positives included the cheese, salami and lettuce, but thats like telling a girl she has nice elbows. For me this place has no real concept, like its not being run by real burger lovers. It feels more like someone with a load of cash tried to jump in on a trend just to make a few bucks. Contrary to D, for me Grill’d still rules the roost amongst the franchises. Well, at least for now…”
Burger Edge on Urbanspoon


Little Press & Cellar at The Press Club

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Little Press & Cellar at The Press Club – 72 Flinders Street, Melbourne, Australia
Burger:
Mikro Bifteki
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
5 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$7 EA.
Summary

Little Press & Cellar is the baby brother of celebrity chef George Calombaris’ well-known and established, The Press Club. It maybe smaller and more casual, but it is just as enticing and hospitable, offering Mezethakia (tapas to some, or finger food to others) making it great for the walk-in clientele who might be up for a bite or even a cheeky drink – the perfect spot to escape the rain on a miserable Melbourne day. We tried the Mikro Bifteki – a mini Wagyu burger, patzari (beetroot) and Haloumi (Cypriot cheese). As a little something extra that only the sheikest of the sheik are accustomed to doing, we added a side of chips with Taramosalata (traditional greek caviar and egg paste) for $13.50.

Comments
“This entire day was really unplanned. I had some errands to run in the city and Z decided to tag along. Upon driving in to town we were already trying to decide where we could grab some food. When the meet and greets were over we found ourselves on Flinders St saying “Where to for lunch.” Z had heard that The Press Club has a little cellar kitchen that did a wicked little burger. As I walked into The Little Press & Cellar I was instantly greeted and escorted to the table. We ordered the burgers with the side of chips and Taramosalata. We started with dipping the chips in the Taramosalata and I was pleasantly surprised with its creamy texture, subtle saltiness and hints of garlic that mixed so well with the crispiness of the chips. The burger was literally bite sized and I was left salivating for more. The Wagyu pattie was really fluffy, crumbled nicely and seasoned perfectly. With the slither of melted Haloumi on top, it made for really a nice combination. The beetroot added a nice sweet feature to a salty burger, and worked well. The Bun was perfection. After finishing the first burger we had to get another one and when it arrived I had to try it with some Taramosalata. Due to its subtle flavours, compared to the burgers more dominant flavour, I really couldn’t taste it in the burger. I would recommend people try Taramosalata with what its meant for: chips and bread.”
“First off I should mention that this is the kind of burger you’d eat accompanied by a whole lot of other dishes, otherwise you’d probably end up ordering at least 4. But thats saying something, because you actually would.. they are pretty awesome. Everything in this burger was quality and each ingredient played a significant role. The mini brioche bun was sweet, soft and excellent. The Wagyu beef pattie was luxuriously buttery and packed with parsley – which is rare as they hardly put extras in with it – but it was a nice touch. The most prominent flavour was the Haloumi though. It had a rounded sharpness to it, kind of like a butter knife. Although there were some typically contrasting flavours in there it was still a really simple burger. The caviar dip was interesting but surprisingly tasty, and I’m not even really big on seafood. In fact, I usually say, “If it lives in the sea, let it be.” But it was excellently paired with the chips. This is a cool little place thats offers quality service and ingredients but is still nice and casual. If you’re appetite is leading you on your journey though, be prepared to spend a little more than usual. But thats what you get when you order some of the classiest chips in Melbourne.”
Little Press and Cellar on Urbanspoon


Salute Bistro at Bentleigh R.S.L

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Salute Bistro at Bentleigh R.S.L – 540 Centre Rd, Bentleigh,
Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Salute Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
11 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$20
Summary

The Returned and Services League of Australia (R.S.L) was established in 1916 to support the men and women who have served, or are currently serving, in the Australian Defence Force. Out of respect for our current and fallen soldiers we thought it would be fitting to visit an R.S.L and eat a burger for Anzac Day. With roughly 1,500 R.S.L’s throughout Australia we didn’t have to look too far, and after a couple of whispers about an amazing burger at the Bentleigh R.S.L we marched on in and ordered their “Salute Burger.” It features a Wagyu beef pattie with cheddar cheese, caramelised onions, cos lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise, all served with a mountain of fries.

Comments
“I was very glad to see that an establishment dedicated to the men and women that protected and served our country can deliver a good meal. The local R.S.L, which was always the place to get a quick and fast pub-style meal, has come along way. This burger really surprised me with how fresh and juicy it was. The beef pattie was well cooked and seasoned with a good portion of salty bacon atop. I actually really enjoyed the bun; it was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with butter both top and bottom. The only thing that I would’ve liked to have seen changed is the bottom bun to be a little thicker. Lest We Forget.”
“I was so happily surprised at the site and taste of this burger. Having eaten at possibly every R.S.L between Melbourne and Noosa throughout my childhood, I know they can be hit and miss when it comes to food outside the typical “Meat and 3 Veg”. A proper sized slab of beef packed with juice and flavour mingled with the crisp, salty bacon and sharp cheddar making it a simply impeccable burger.”
“Our first R.S.L burger! I was always looking forward to the day we would review something as Australian and individual as this. I wasn’t expecting much from this burger, to be honest I was more looking forward to the cheap beer on tap which always hits the spot on a Sunday night. The beef was good and the bun was a little dry and just average. Basically this burger had no hidden surprises. It was a filling burger, but at the same time it was forgettable, all I really remember is that I liked it without really knowing why. Ohhh… and the chips were ok.”
“At first glance, I felt a little underwhelmed. Once I bit in I changed my tune. Boy was this tasty! The beef had a crunch to its outer crust but then was soft as butter as you bit through. The onions were super sweet and confirmed that caramelisation is indeed their best friend. The only thing I’d nitpick over is the bun. It tasted fine but they need to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to stop the bottom section from soaking in all the juices and falling apart.. because it got pretty damn messy. For some this could prove annoying, but for others its a blessing in disguise. My next move involved slamming my hands into the fries and using them like salad forks, dressing them with the awesomeness of meat syrup.. A more devine condiment there could not be.”
Salute at Bentleigh RSL on Urbanspoon


Red Ox Steakhouse

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Red Ox Steakhouse – 502 Hampton St, Hampton, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu Beef Burger 220g
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$21.50
Summary

Located in bayside Hampton, Red Ox offers prime cuts of superior quality beef as well as seafood, chicken, duck and kangaroo. This small, suburban steakhouse prides itself on serving exceptional quality produce day in day out – the kind of meal you’d usually have to travel into town for. Perfect for those ever approaching chilly nights, you are greeted with a toasty warm, cosy interior, as well as very friendly and helpful staff making for a very comfortable dining experience. We opted to warm up with their Wagyu Burger that comprises of a 220 gram Wagyu beef pattie, cheese, lettuce, a tomato ring plus golden fries and onion rings on the side.

Comments
“There isn’t really anything great to say about this burger. It wasn’t so much to do with the beef pattie (which was more than passable). It had to do with the whole experience from start to finish. I know the other guys will say the same, but having to check to see if there’s enough patties and taking close to 1 hour to come out (cold mind you) is not on. It also seemed like they ducked around the corner to the supermarket to pickup some buns (am actually 99% sure they did!!). The whole thing really just tasted like something you’d make at a lazy Sunday BBQ.”
“I got a little concerned when we ordered 6 burgers (we had company) and the waiter had to check with the kitchen if they had enough. If you call yourself a “steakhouse” you wouldn’t think there would be any problem. Once that was okayed, it then took over half an hour for them to arrive. With only 2 other tables occupied in the dining room already with food, we were a little puzzled. This is a burger I could have made at home: the bun was just simple supermarket roll cut in half (not toasted), no butter, no sauce, the tomato was just a raw slice of tomato and two slices of cheese placed on top that wasn’t melted over the beef. The beef, although cooked through, was cold. So I’m guessing they got the timing all wrong on this one.”
“I’m not too sure what to make of this burger. It was simple, it didn’t try to be anything else, but it was lacking something. After considering it for a day or two I decided that it was average and if you are going for a simple burger approach, please use the best meat at your disposal. In this case I don’t feel the pattie was of the best grade and it was certainly overcooked. The melted cheese on my pattie was an added bonus (see photo above), considering my other partners in crime had unmelted cheese sitting on top of theirs. Chips were ok.”
“This one is really a case for the X-Files. Something happened in that kitchen that night, but no one will ever know. FBI cover up?… I doubt it. The guys have already stated the facts: it was a home-style (not rustic or like “mama-used-to-make”.. more like all the ingredients had come from a supermarket and were put together by your kid brother) burger that came out coldish/lukewarm with freshly cooked, hot-as chips. As for theories: Maybe the chefs are part-time firemen and they had to suddenly rush off to go rescue a kitty, leaving the rest of the staff to hold the fort? ..I have no idea. In saying all this I actually did enjoy the beef pattie, so I’d like to think they do have decent steak here and perform better in situations where there’s less prep work involved. But who the hell knows?”
Red Ox Steakhouse on Urbanspoon