Back to the Burger

Monday, January 30, 2012

Before we can uncover the all important Top 10 for 2011, we needed to get back to our original Top 10 from 2010, and see if the burgers measure up and are still worthy of being labeled “The Best of the Best”. There were a lot of twists and turns throughout the journey, with some burgers stepping up to a whole new plain whilst others slipped into a ridiculous hole that some say is haunted. What does this all mean? Well, rumours have it that the coveted Top 10 2011 is mere days away from being unveiled. So, gents, hide your boners. Ladies, wipe away that wet patch from underneath your chin, because the Top 10 2011 is coming (soon).

10. ANDREWS HAMBURGERS – 144 BRIDPORT ST, ALBERT PARK

“Still juicy, still messy, and still a Melbourne institute. Eating at Andrew’s is like
having your Mum cook your favourite meal; you know exactly what your going to get, you know it’ll be made with love and you know it’s going to be great.”

9. THE MILLSWYN – 131-133 DOMAIN RD, SOUTH YARRA

“The bun and pattie, its two hero items have changed for the worse. Yes the burger still tastes great, but the ratios here are out of whack. Bring back the love.”

8. CAFE VUE – 401 ST KILDA RD, MELBOURNE

“Although the pattie could’ve been a little juicier, it’s still a great lunchtime burger that continues to be just as delicious. Shame on them for changing the chips though.”

7. ROCKPOOL BAR & GRILL – CROWN COMPLEX, SOUTHBANK

“It’s hard to believe but seriously, this burger has gotten even better.
I mean look at that sexy piece of meat!”

6. THE LOCAL TAPHOUSE – 184 CARLISLE STREET, ST KILDA EAST

“Not any drastic changes to this baby; it still has a subtle creaminess to it that really compliments the beer marinated beef pattie. Still good but not as juicy as last time.”

5. BARNEY ALLEN’S – 14 FITZROY ST, ST KILDA

“It really is remarkable at how they can get that super thick pattie cooked to perfection. Together with the surprisingly awesome combo of beetroot and onion jam, this is the best thing to happen to St.Kilda since Tony Lockett.”

4. DANNY’S BURGERS – 360 ST GEORGES RD, FITZROY NORTH

“If its 2am (or any hour of the day for that matter) and you NEED a burger,
this is where you should be going. They haven’t changed in decades,
and that’s just how we like it – awesome.”

3. THE AMBEROOM AT ROYCE HOTEL – 379 ST KILDA RD, MELBOURNE

“These guys have changed their menu for an “in-and-out” sort of lunchtime crowd and the burger has copped the brunt of it all. The bun was over toasted, the pattie was OK at best and the rest of the ingredients have declined in quality: the biggest disappointment of 2011.”

2. COLLINS KITCHEN AT GRAND HYATT – 123 COLLINS ST, MELBOURNE

“A little surprised that they decided to add cheese because it really doesn’t need it. Just like 2010, we’d be happy to eat this burger with just bun and pattie: still great.”

1. BEATBOX KITCHEN – INNER/NORTHERN MELBOURNE

“Hail to King Raph, because this is just as incredible as ever.
We’ll be honest and say we’ve been back here on more than
one occasion over 2011. Its hard not to when you’re in love.”



Five Guys Burgers & Fries

Friday, January 27, 2012
Five Guys Burgers & Fries – 1715 Post Oak Boulevard,
Houston, Texas, USA
Burger:
Cheeseburger with Bacon
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
7 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$6.79 USD
Summary

Established by a couple of guys (I can only assume it may have been….five?) in the Washington DC area in the 80s, Five Guys quickly grew in popularity, resulting in their eventual franchising in the early ‘thousands. In a mere 10 years, they’ve managed to franchise more than 900 locations. So you know homeboys have to be doing something right. As if they weren’t already popular enough, President Obama famously stopped in and bought his staff a round of burgers while the TV cameras were rolling, no doubt the presidential seal of approval has helped. Regular burgers at Five Guys are always doubles, so you need to make sure you order the “little” versions if you’re not feeling famished. I had the Bacon Cheeseburger with lettuce, pickles and mustard. Five Guys also don’t charge for additional toppings, so next time I may add the grilled onions

Comments
“This right here is In-N-Out’s strongest contender for “Multi-location Takeaway Burger Joint” glory. Yes, it’s ‘plasticised’ processed cheese, but it just melts so gloriously over the juicy beef patties. The bacon is always crisped perfectly, and the bun is perfectly sweet and soft, not interrupting the chi of the burger at all. Fries are served in cups – super crispy, but don’t make the mistake of choosing the Cajun seasoning – it’s too intense and it competes with the umami flavours of the burger. I would also like to award bonus points for their mobile app, I fully intend to order and run in to pick up my burger in my pyjamas one of these days…”

For even more awesomeness from BURGERMARY click here



T.G.I Friday’s Yokohama

Tuesday, January 24, 2012
T.G.I Friday’s Yokohama – Yokohama Ekimae Bldg. 1F, 1-1-13 Kitasaiwai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Japan (神奈川県横浜市西区北幸1丁目1−13)
Burger:
Ultimate Jack Daniels Burger
Serviettes:
8
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
30 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
¥2090/$25.80 AUD/$27.04 USD
Summary

Wherever you visit T.G.I’s around the globe, whether its in Melbourne, Mumbai or Moscow, you know you’ll be getting a heluva generous meal. Since first opening in New York City in 1965, they’ve now expanded to over 700 restaurants in 54 countries and are ever growing – much like their regular’s waistlines. Two impressive feats inlcude serving over 19.8 million hamburgers worldwide and inventing the concept of “Happy Hour”. With all that in mind, after spending half the day checking out the city and then joining the Kirin Brewery tour, all that was fueling us for our fateful encounter with T.G.I’s Yokohama was no more than (FREE) beer and peanuts. As we stumbled out onto the street, drunk on hunger and amber liquid, all we knew was that we needed to eat – stat. A quick cab ride and we were staring at the famous red and white stripes of T.G.I’s ready to inhale anything on a plate. Best idea ever – the Ultimate Jack Daniel’s Burger – consisted of a hamburger bun with 2 beef patties glazed in Jack Daniel’s sauce, Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, red onion, lettuce, tomato, stacked onion rings and a side of fries with extra Jack Daniel’s sauce in case you feel like the burger’s million calories just aren’t enough.

Comments
“Wow. There’s nothing to say here but this monstrosity was a mission in itself. Because of the Jack Daniel’s sauce and onion rings it turned out to be a very, very sweet burger. Too sweet in fact for such a big burger. The whole thing became a huge mess really. I’m sure you could use a knife and fork to keep it together, but really… who uses a knife and fork!”
“I have never been so hungry in my life! After a full day of walking around (getting lost), not eating and drinking free beer, we naively thought that we would tackle the largest burger on TGI’s menu. I guess my stomach had shrunk in size as I really struggled to get through half of it! The beef was a little overcooked for my liking but the crunch of the onion rings contrasted well with the rest of the burger. Then the sweetness of what tasted like maple syrup covered bacon and Jack Daniel’s sauce caught up with me, and with a lot of reluctance I couldn’t finish the beast. I’d also like to note that drinking 3 litres of Pepsi (the novelty of free refills never wears off) didn’t benefit my chances of finishing this behemoth…”
“What were we thinking when we were ordering the most ridiculous, unnecessary burger on the menu? What was meant to be a nice dinner time filler, suddenly became an episode of Man V Food. The double pattie was a bit dry, but still tasty. I even added more Jack Daniel’s sauce which, as a consequence made the burger intensely sweet. Then add on top of that all of the maple syrup covered bacon – maybe I did go a bit overboard? The chips were good, but I didn’t get the chance to enjoy them due to the monster burger we ordered. Word of advice if you’re in Yokohama and you order this thing, “Be afraid”. Oh, and unlike B & D, yes I did eat all of the burger.”
“When this thing came out I wasn’t sure whether to laugh, cry or just walk out. This really was the biggest burger I’ve ever attempted to eat. It stood there smugly, all high and mighty and proud of itself, but that’s as far as it went. The beef and bacon were OK, but the overall taste was as if the Lollypop Gang and Oompa Loompa armies joined forces and were invading my tastebuds – diabetes much? I cleverly avoided liquids and picked strategically at the chips because there was no way I was letting this sucker take me down. At one point I lost the top bun somewhere and ended up having to grasp it all in both hands and mould it together as if it were a giant meatball. Did I succeed? You bet you’re ass I did, and I’ve never felt more ashamed.”


Prime Burger

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Prime Burger – 5 East 51st St, Midtown East, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
5 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$6.25 USD
Summary

Prime Burger was established in 1938, and judging by the decor they might’ve renovated it once, maybe sometime in the 50’s or 60’s and haven’t touched it since. The average age of the waiters would easily be about 50, all looking dapper in their white jackets and bow ties, which, considering nothing on the menu is over $10 shows the respect they have for their jobs. You have the option to either sit at the large laminated bar or the unique and original swinging desk seats – I opted for the seat and ordered the Cheeseburger. These guys serve a traditional sesame seed bun with only two extra ingredients: a chopped in-house beef pattie and oozing American cheese.

Comments
“This is without a doubt one of the best burger, no scrap that, dining experiences I’ve had in a long time. It was an instant transportation to a different era; a much simpler time of the traditional American diner, smack bang in the middle of Midtown Manhattan of all places. The decor hasnt changed in decades and i think that applies to the waiters aswell. I love a place that has career waiters who have spent decades in the restaurant, taking real pride in what they serve and the service they provide. Now the burger was not much to look at it; it was just cheese, beef and a bun! So to say, “I was amazingly surprised at how much flavour it packed”, is an understatement. The beef, chopped in-house, was cooked a consistant medium-rare, and was fantastic. The classic American cheese left me wanting to order another 5, and the lightly steamed bun made it one of the softest and tastiest burgers I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.”
Prime Burger on Urbanspoon


Gasometer*

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gasometer – 484 Smith St, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Smoked Cheese & Bacon Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
13 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$18
Summary

Located at the edge of Hipsterville you’ll find a barn-like eatery that’s become a favourite for a number of Melbourne social clubs including The Beard & Flannel Co., Fixie’s Unlimited and the infamous Super Nintendo Atari Alliance. All that jazz aside, in late 2010 the once Irish themed pub changed hands and became known as Gasometer – an ode to the former gas works operation that once resided across the road. More recently though they’ve started to establish themselves as a popular live music venue; this coupled with affordable brews and American Diner inspired dishes has this Northside pub packed to the brim on most nights. Their menu caters to both the carnivores and Planeteer’s (vegos) with dishes like Smoked Buffalo Tofu Strips to BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos. It was impossible for us not to order the Smoked Cheese & Bacon Burger that came on a traditional sesame seed bun with a 200g wagyu beef pattie, house smoked cheddar accompanied with lettuce, tomato, topped with crispy bacon and 1000 Island sauce. Oh and in true American fashion, served with a pickle spear and a choice of potato salad or crunchy fries on the side.

Comments
“I really like this burger! It had a nice fatty pattie, but I think if it were cooked for a little less time it could’ve been a lot juicier, most probably taking its greatness up a step. The basic burger bun did the trick but could’ve been a little bit smaller to match the pattie. The burger doesn’t come with any tomato sauce or mustard, as I thought it might because of all the classic Americana inspiration, but the 1000 island turned out to be a decent replacement. Be sure to ask for a bottle of their Mexican chilli sauce when your order arrives – wicked with the mayo and chips.”
“This burger from the outside looked like any other regular burger, and when I ate each ingredient individually nothing stood out. The bacon alone was actually quite horrible – very rubbery and over cooked – however once you take a big bite out of this burger it is absolutely amazing! Everything just worked perfectly together and I can’t explain why, it just does. The chefs who obviously know what they are doing have made it look simple and easy. This was definitely unexpected from a venue filled to the brim with people with tattoos, beards, black rimmed glasses and most conversations starting with “what colour is your fixie?”. Saying all that, I would love to visit again the next time I venture to the other side of the river.”
“There’s something about re-inventing a classic that has a certain romance about it for me. Like taking a Victorian pub with its barn/church like interior and making it hospitable and comfortable to the hipsters (general public), of the Northern Suburbs and letting the beer run, run and run. Add on top an adopted American style cuisine with buffalo wings, chilli dogs and most importantly the Smoked Cheese & Bacon Burger and you have a hit. The burger itself was great: the pattie had a certain rustic element to it, the traditional bun was just that, traditional. The bacon was a bit tough to eat, but still good. The 1000 Island sauce was ok, but I still felt it needed that saltiness that a ketchup or mustard could only provide. The burger was hard to manage with all that sauce on it, but enjoyable nevertheless. Chips were a big standout, fluffy on the inside and super crunchy on the outside with great seasoning.”
“When I saw this my taste buds lept. When a burger comes out in basket you know someone that knows a thing or two about diner culture has had some input with this. I went to pick up the burger and it was piping hot. Whether because it had just been steamed or from resting on its hot bed of wicked chips, I dont know. Either way, when I got stuck into it I was instantly greeted by some delicious beefy flavours that left a nice coating of fat dancing around my mouth. The bacon was ok, but a little too tough and at one point even interrupted my meal. The smokey cheese was splendid and together with the 1000 Island sauce excelled at filling me with delight. I finished it all off by sitting back, munched on my pickle and casually punched a hipster in his bearded face.”
Gasometer on Urbanspoon

*Unfortunately Gasometer has changed their menu from American to Eastern European. Forgive them Burger Gods because they do not know what they do.


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