Speakeasy

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Speakeasy – 359 Chapel Street, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Speakeasy Beef Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$18
Summary

With a narrow entrance on Chapel St, it is easy to miss the Speakeasy, but if you know where to look, the white welcoming décor and the front wooden communal table make it easy to pin point. With more room in the back, there is good potential to cater for larger crowds and the outside terrace also makes it easier to enjoy the upcoming summer rays and down a few bevvies with mates. The menu is quite simple, catering to all tastes and cravings, from pork to duck, to vege and fish – they’ve got breakfast, lunch and dinner covered. Having been open for a few months, and creating a bit of buzz around Melbourne, Speakeasy is on its way to contradicting its namesake. We sat down for lunch one lazy Sunday afternoon and ordered the Speakeasy Beef Burger which came on a glazed brioche bun with a beef pattie, cheese, lettuce, ketchup, mayonnaise and fat cut chips.

Comments
“It all started with a great brioche bun, a delicious classic ketchup and mayo combo, and then a well cooked pattie that tasted a little bit like a rissole, even sausage mince at times. The cheese was tasty, but why wasn’t ours melted? As far as Chapel St burgers go, this place has the potential to own them all.”
“First off, they unfortunately broke one of the cardinal sins in making a burger, not melting the cheese on the pattie. Then to rub salt into the wounds, I saw another patrons burger come out 15 minutes later with the cheese perfectly melted and oozing onto the plate. That aside the beef was cooked really well, with the right amount of juice that (combined with the mayo) created a delicious compliment. It was a shame about the cheese as this burger has the potential to be the best on or around Chapel St. I never have been nor will I ever be, a fan of fancy big cuts of chips, they’re just not fluffy on the inside when they are that big!”
“This burger had no real standouts, however still delivered a good feed. The bun was fluffy, sweet and soft, but did brake one of the most epic burger rules – “thou shall not use bun with larger radius than pattie”. That aside the pattie was seasoned well and cooked to a good standard. The mayo and cheese worked well, with the cheese adding a nice saltiness helping it to stand out. For once there wasn’t a whole lot of greenery, which is good. The fat chips were cooked alright, but I’m still not convinced I like them. Helpful tip I picked up from D – cut fat chips longways, that way it cools quicker and are easier to eat.”
“Such a real shame that this thing came out with un-melted cheese. Not only would’ve that help melt my heart, but there would have been some “tight pants” in the house. My bun was spot on; it was glazed well and even though there was a little too much of it, I wasn’t left with a whole lot of it on my plate once I’d gotten through the pattie. Speaking of which, was nicely pink in the centre, quite tasty and had a significant amount of “rissole-ness” to it. The cheese tasted a lot like an aged cheddar and really was excellent. It had a sharp, distinct flavour that isn’t the norm for a burger in these parts of Chapel St. I did enjoy this but screw you guys for giving us some serious food envy with everyone else’s burger looking a billion times more awesome.”
Speakeasy Kitchen Bar on Urbanspoon


Caboose Canteen

Friday, December 16, 2011

Caboose Canteen – 4 City Square, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Caboose Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$26
Summary

Smack bang in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD with the erratic foot traffic of Swanston St at its door, you’ll find Caboose Canteen. Living next door (for added protection one thinks) to its sister eateries Three Below and La Vita Buono, it differentiates and prides itself on being a place for local CBD workers to enjoy a hearty meal during/after their daily grind. After a few tweets and photos sent our way we thought we ought to get the inside scoop on the Caboose Burger before their no.1 fans, the Occupy Melbourne protesters, took it mainstream. Before us sat a familiar looking Caboose Burger that came on a toasted sesame brioche bun with chopped wagyu steak, tomato relish, barbecue sauce, lettuce and a side of fries.

Comments
“I’ll get it out of the way, but damn it was cold inside this place. It wasn’t even that cold an evening. Anyhow, the meat pattie seemed to be cooked really well and tended to remind me more of a classic meatball than anything else. There was a nice bit of spice throughout the meat that I’d have to put down to paprika or diced chilli. Seeing more and more of this style of brioche bun popping up in restaurants lately means that it must be a hit. For me it worked a treat – it was tasty and most important of all held everything together for some nice consistent bites. ”
“An immediate but really nice kick of spice to this burger, with a chilli paste on the top bun and then with some mixed through the beef. But to me this is where the creativity and uniqueness ends: it had the same brioche bun that many kitchens are using at the moment, it had good size beef pattie but it was cooked a little too long and the lettuce and tomato eventually turned to mush resulting in a loss of flavour drowning out the spiciness. Being served in a saucepan (not a warm one or anything) instead of a plate is a bit of a wank to me, and I dont think it justifies the price tag as it doest compete with similar priced burgers in the immediate vicinity.”
“A simple burger that in my opinion works well as an inner-city lunch time burger. It had a well flavoured wagyu pattie made up of a good blend of high-quality meat and spices. The brioche bun delivered that beloved sweetness that I love. The relish was well balanced with sweet and spice combined with the barbeque sauce to add some smokiness to each bite. Not too much green worked for me; just a simple leaf and a thin slice of tomato that didn’t effect my meal at all. Chips were good, but did need some salt.”
“At first I thought it was a crazy case of deja vu. “Didn’t we already eat this at Newmarket Hotel?”, I kept thinking as I was shooting the familiar looking burger. Putting that aside I delved in and discovered that this leans to the class of a “Burger Remix” – a modern take on a classic burger. And it wasn’t an abrupt remix that created substantial waves in its burger soul. The chopped wagyu pattie was peppery, hinted at chorizo and was pretty darn good. My bun did a “C+” job of keeping things together though, because by the end of the meal I was left with a bunch of it sitting on my plate. Overall it was good, but I’ve got this incredible gripe with the guys for not going out on a limb and creating a burger thats more unique to Caboose Canteen. Newmarket virtually already do the same burger and honestly, on the occasions we’ve visited, its been a juicier, more tender and more fitting burger. They are, for one, a So-Cal Mexican restaurant, so it makes perfect sense for them to serve such a burger. Don’t get me wrong, the burger was good, but for Caboose to use it perplexed me a bit. I’d say go back to the drawing board, look at what your brand represents and create something for yourselves. Chances are it could be awesome.”
Caboose on Urbanspoon


Glass Brasserie

Monday, December 12, 2011

Glass Brasserie – 488 George St, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu Beef Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
15 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$20 @ Lunch with a drink
Summary

Whether you’re a tourist, a hungry CBD 9-5er or a champion burger aficionado, one of your top-of-mind lunch time destinations in Sydney is going to be the renowned Glass Brasserie. We’re familiar with Chef Luke Mangan’s work at South Melbourne’s Palace and when planning a visit to Glass Brasserie, Z was expecting nothing but greatness. Before we go on, we must mention that the burger is available only at the Glass Wine Bar menu, which is still just as fancy and will have you looking around in awe. The team have spared no expense, inviting New York designer Tony Chi to work his magic; using ultra high ceilings, earthy tones and with glass and mirrors all around you, you’ll feel like you’re dining in some sort of Swiss aristocrat’s holiday house in the Alps (true story). Luke Mangan’s right hand man, Executive Chef and burger lover is Joe Pavlovich: in a recent interview he commented, “When you eat a good burger, news travels fast. We’ve never really had a good burger culture in Australia and now we’re starting to.” With that said we had to send Z up there to see whether Glass Brasserie and Joe Pavlovich could truly walk the walk. Z sat down at the Glass Wine Bar and ordered the Wagyu Beef Burger Lunch Special that included a 50/50 brioche and burger bun filled with ox-heart tomatoes, house-made barbecue sauce and mayo, Raclette cheese, onions cooked in beer and Rangers Valley beef mixed with dry-aged beef fat, a pickle and fries on the side, plus a cool beer to wash it all down.

Comments
“As soon as I saw this thing waltzing it’s way over to my table I thought, “touché Mr Pavlovich, touché.” Wow did this burger look impressive. A waterfall of cheese like this arouses me in so many ways its almost unfathomable. After my Penthouse shoot was over I sunk my teeth in and was greeted with warm, soft and delicious beef. The Raclette cheese took me back to my time in France where the locals practically brush their teeth with the stuff – devine. Displaying poise and grace, the bun never took over and let the beef and cheese do all the talking. Every now and then however, the BBQ sauce would stand up and interrupt this tasty dance with obnoxious line dancing that didn’t belong in such a burger. Whether I was delirious from all the cheese I don’t know, but I could swear there were hints of apple coming from the bacon, which wasn’t bad, but did enough to distract me. Now, because every Sydney burger for me has become a “Could this be better than Lotus” burger (one can only dream), I couldn’t help but pick at the back chat that I was being given by the good but not great bbq sauce and bacon. All together this burger was still pretty damn wicked and deserves a whole lot of respect and admiration. To serve this kind of calibre burger + chips + beer, for $20, is incredible! Every pub/restaurant/bar should definitely take note. As of this moment, if you’re hunting down burgers in Sydney check out Glass Brasserie for lunch and then hit up Dan Hong at Lotus for dinner. You won’t be disappointed.”
Glass Brasserie on Urbanspoon


Ol’ School Fish ‘N’ Chips

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ol’ School Fish ‘N’ Chips – 566 Brunswick St,
Fitzroy North, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Hamburger plus cheese, egg, bacon
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
15 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$10.50
Summary

When you arrive, what greets you is an imposing black exterior that leads inside to a large feature wall covered in graffiti, and judging by the chill dudes behind the counter, it was probably graffed by them. Its the kind of place where you’ll find most locals ordering by just walking in, nodding and saying “The usual thanks”. They may be “New School” by appearence but its in their methods of cooking that the “Ol’ School” part of their name really becomes apparent. Of highest praise amidst the neighbourhood are their chips, which are hand-cut and deep fried for just the right amount of time, making them nice and crunchy. Chips aside they offer a pretty familiar Fish’n’Chip shop menu, ranging from battered fish to Chiko rolls. We, of course, went for the Hamburger of 100% Angus Beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, a sesame-seed bun, and then added cheese, egg and bacon for good measure.

Comments
“This is one of the biggest and thickest beef patties I’ve had on a Fish ‘n’ Chip style burger. The beef was ground really tight which made for a dense and rough texture. Nothing really stood out about this burger either good or bad. It was exactly what you would expect from a Fish ‘n’ Chip Shop and served its purpose well: you’re hungry and it fills you up. With Danny’s around the corner I’m guessing most people come here for the fish and not the burger, however, the chips were great.”
“Just a straight-up, uncomplicated, unpretentious, basic Fish’ N’ Chip Shop burger. The pattie was simple and well-seasoned, and the cheese was nicely melted and creamy. The bun was just a traditional burger bun that was slightly burnt, but still didn’t take away from the burger. All and all a good Fish ‘n’ Chip experience by a crew that were hospitable and a killer dress sense that you would find in a Beastie Boys video clip circa 1992 – keep it up lads! Chips were good; nice, crispy and well seasoned.”
“In a world full of goody two-shoes 99% fat-free wanabe gourmet burgers, these guys are like Lex Luthor. From the get-go you know what you’re about to consume will be a classic burger that most of us would’ve grown up ordering with a dimmy and potato cake. The only difference with these guys is that they’ve gone for a higher quality Angus beef pattie – which would probably explain the New School Fish ‘N’ Chip price. But it is what it is. The beef was simple and flavoursome but could’ve been cooked a little rarer. It had a sweetish note to it too, like it had been cooked with soy sauce or ketchup. Although my cheese wasn’t melted, which is usually a turn off for me, the flavour that it produced when mixed with the egg was so superbly creamy. I would’ve loved to have seen the egg a little runnier, but on the plus side it resulted in a pretty “mess free, no sliding bun” kind of meal. Overall quite enjoyable, especially coupled with their killer chips.”
Ol' School Fish 'N' Chips on Urbanspoon


Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien – 119 West 56th St,
Midtown West, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
The Works Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$7.50 USD
Summary

After wandering past the the swanky Le Parker Meridien Hotel’s check-in counter, the best place to head is towards a dark curtained wall. There you will find a dim, narrow hallway with a neon-lit burger at the end of it. Usually – as was the case when I arrived – there will be a line of people, all with the same goal in mind, waiting patiently in the shadows. The anticipation to see whats inside the doorway grows with every minute, until finally you can peek in and are transported to an entirely different world. In stark contrast to its most of basics of exteriors, you end up in a joint filled with menus written on cardboard, a collection of retro movie posters and a barrage of pen and texta scribble all over the walls. Getting some Seinfeld Soup Nazi flashbacks are understandable as their (at first) intimidating instructions on how to order threaten having you look like a chump, or worse yet, endure the pain of being sent to the back of the line if you’re too slow. But don’t fret. There are only 2 options of burgers, so if you get it wrong – yeah, you’re a chump. I went with the Works Cheeseburger that came on a humble hamburger bun with a classic beef pattie (cooked medium-rare), cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, sliced pickles, mustard, ketchup and mayo.

Comments
“When I’d heard that this burger was Heston Blumenthal’s favourite burger in the world, well, I had to try it! Admittedly, I got a little lost and ended up walking into the hotel’s restaurant. But they were kind enough to point me in the right direction to where I would find a dark hallway filled with a queue of people. The place inside is amazing. One minute you’re standing outside in a fancy hotel foyer and then you’re in a dingy, graffiti covered diner. This really is my favourite kind of eatery: where they have a very very limited menu but they do it exactly right over and over again. These guys are confident, know what they are doing and if you dont like it then leave. Once my name was yelled out I eagerly ripped open the brown paper bag and saw a big awesome mess of a burger. The charred beef was cooked evenly and complimented the crisp bite of the spanish onions and the sweet pickles. In defiance of all odds, the soft bun did its job and some how managed to keep it all together. Overall, quite a juicy and most delicious mess.”
Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien on Urbanspoon


The Ludlow Formation

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Ludlow Formation – Building 3, 6 Riverside Quay,
Southbank, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
4 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t Bother
Price:
$22
Summary

Looking out at Melbourne’s skyline at the foot of the Yarra River you have The Ludlow Formation. Nestled amidst several other restaurants, bistros and buskers, its a classy looking establishment with stone, raw steel, recycled timber and other designy jazz as far the eye can see. Their Head Chef Marc Brown has quite the rep behind him. Before arriving in Australia in 2001 from the UK, he trained at some of London’s top restaurants, including several Michelin-starred establishments, and worked with some of the world’s foremost chefs including Albert Roux, Anton Adelman, and Michel Lorain. But whilst at Ludlow he’s crafted the menu to take on a more Southern European feel with everything from Slow Braised Rabbit to Coconut Parfait – quite the extensive menu. We’d heard a thing or two about their burger so, sitting outside with live music at our backs we ordered their Wagyu Burger that comes on a brioche bun with Mahon Cheese, thick-cut Istra Bacon, spanish mojo (code for secret relish), lettuce, mayo and a side of fries.

Comments
“I really hope these guys were having an off day, because this burger had so much potential, however, it was absolutely horrendous. The two most important elements of a burger are the beef and bun. In this case both were terrible, both of them burnt to an absolute crisp. I’m not exaggerating when I say the beef could survive a full 60 minutes as a puck in an ice hockey game. If you combine this food with the bogan tourist clientel that filled the remainder of the restaurant, your not going to find many repeat, local customers, myself included.”
“Ok before I get stuck into it, from the top, there is a lot of potential here. But with a burnt beef pattie on the outside and an almost rare/ pinkish inside I really didn’t get the opportunity to taste much. The bun was a waste, such a beautiful bun burnt to s^@t. I was devastated to see the way this promising, beautiful bun was treated on the grill – for shame! The “Mojo sauce” that comes in the burger really missed the mark and delivers a healthy punch of garlic that will leave you reaching for after dinner mints. What added more insult to injury was the cover band! There is something about Southbank that always brings out the worst in a Melbourne dining experience: from the table service to the meal and the over priced restaurants full of cashed-up bogans, it will take me a while to to get past this anger for Southbank. Chips were ok, tasty and crispy.”
“This is a chefs worst nightmare. You take a day off to feed baby ducks by the pond and the kitchen turns into a black hole. On paper, and on previous tips, this burger sounded the business. Sure it was unforgettable, but for the wrong reasons. I won’t spout them all again, but when you burn 3 potentially delicious patties and buns something has got to be done. The most enjoyable part of the meal was when I tore out the bacon and ate it solo; quite decent in-fact. There’s a lesson to be taken away in all of this and it’s all about being consistent. Whether you’re cooking for the King of England or John Smith from next door, always deliver your best. We never announce ourselves or tell the wait-staff who we are. We’re just a couple of dudes ready to smash some sweet-ass burgers and we expect our burger to be just as good as anyone else’s on any given night. Noone’s a winner here. A really sad day for everyone involved.”
The Ludlow Formation on Urbanspoon


Cheeseburger Baby

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Cheeseburger Baby – 1505 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida, USA
Burger:
1/2 pound Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
0 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t Bother
Price:
$6.50 USD
Summary

Touted as the ‘oldest burger joint on South Beach”, Cheeseburger Baby appears to have stood the test of time in a city where you’re either hot or you’re nothing. The menu is simple and uncomplicated, with fries as a separate order and the option of some sandwiches and hotdogs. The service that sets this place apart is their offer of free delivery to the entire South Beach area. If you’re game, you can also try “The Punisher” – a 5 pound burger which gets you a free t-shirt and photo on the wall of fame if you finish it. No mention of a free visit to a cardiologist.

Comments
“Well yes, I’m the sucker that fell for the free delivery. Smart of Cheeseburger Baby to capitalise on the thousands of hotel rooms in the area – theoretically, it was supposed to be a cheap and delicious alternative to room service. Unwrapping the burger, it was clear from visual inspection alone that things did not bode well. The meat was horrendously overcooked, terribly seasoned and was falling apart. Quite possibly the worst burger I have ever eaten, second only to Misty’s Diner.”

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Cheeseburger Baby on Urbanspoon