MOS Burger

Monday, August 15, 2011
MOS Burger – 2-53-3 Hatagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
(2-53-3幡ヶ谷、渋谷、東京、日本)
Burger:
Tobikiri Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
5
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
5 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
¥390/$4.88 AUD/$5.07 USD
Summary

Whilst working in Los Angeles in the 1960s, founder Satoshi Sakurada frequented a local hamburger chain called Tommy’s. Inspired by the ‘cook to order’ concept, Mr. Sakurada hit on the idea that this kind of hamburger joint would be just as popular with his fellow countrymen. After returning to Japan, Mr. Sakurada set up the first MOS Burger in Tokyo in 1972. Taking inspiration from their name “Mountain, Ocean, Sun” and slogan “Making people happy through food” MOS Burger has grown to the 2nd largest burger chain in Japan (behind McDonald’s) with over 1,400 outlets throughout, and with another 100 spread across Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia. We had been hearing rumours of MOS expanding to Australia for a while and after the opening of a Brisbane “Test Run Store” in March, we decided that we had to check out the original. Each of us grabbed a different item but I grabbed the Tobikiri Cheeseburger (Superb Cheeseburger) that came on a soft whole-grain bun, 100% Japanese beef + pork mince pattie, melted Japanese Gouda, HS Pepper Soy Sauce and onion slices.

Comments
“There are one of two things going through your mind right now: 1) “Holy cow, is that a river of ooze on the side of that burger?” Or, 2) “Wow that Z bloke is one sexy mf”. Either way, you are right. This thing came out dripping in cheese – it was insane. Through some broken english, we found out that the mystery drippy cheese was indeed Japanese Gouda. The entire thing had a teriyaki vibe to it though, with soy sauce and cheese being the most dominant flavours. Like most of the burgers here, it was bite sized. So if you wanted to get full you’d probably need at least 10 of these things. But I wouldn’t recommend it as the cheesiness is a little overbearing. So all in all, it wasn’t my favourite style of burger in the world, but it was still definitely worth the experience.”


Station Hotel

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Station Hotel – 59 Napier St, Footscray, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Station Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
20 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$18
Summary

Dating back to 1864, this typical Aussie pub is breathing new life thanks to experienced head chef and owner Sean Donovan. With an impressive CV that includes the likes of three Michelin star restaurants like La Tante Claire (London) and Georges Blanc (France), and more recently South Yarra’s famous Botanical, it was safe to say we went into this Adventure with some high expectations. You step into what appears to be a pretty normal looking pub, until you walk into the dining area where you’ll find the heartbeat of the venue. Its the the open kitchen where a team of chefs serve up everything from Onion Soup Gratinee to grass and grain fed Aussie beef, seafood and of course, there are the more traditional pub dishes. We ordered the Station Burger that came out partially deconstructed – a beef pattie, bacon and gruyere cheese all on a brioche bun, then the lettuce, pickles, sun-dried tomatoes and tomato chutney were all “add as you please”, placed neatly on the side.

Comments
“I really like it when the “local pub” puts such an emphasis on the quality of dining and it’s menu. This well thought out burger came out of the kitchen looking great. A well presented burger that had a thick, juicy and near perfectly cooked pattie, just a little pink on the inside. However, I think the bun could do with improvement, as I’m not sure whether it was just too dense and heavy or it was just not as fresh as it could have been. The sun-dried tomatoes were a point of difference; still not sure if a good one though. The side of chutney had a nice sweet tang, but not really sure if it was necessary. The other sides of pickles and lettuce were also quite fresh. All in all, this was a good burger, but it just needed a better bun (and maybe kept a little more simple) to take it up a notch.”
“Compliments to the waitress who let us know that the beef was going to be a little pink on the inside (which was ideal for us). To me this burger came out exactly as it should of: a large slab of expertly cooked, pink and juicy beef, a couple of thick pieces of bacon and a small amount of gruyere cheese, all on a dense bun worthy of containing the juicyness. Really, this in itself was enough. I’m not sure why they bothered putting a really strong tomato chutney, sun-dried tomatoes, lettuce and pickles on the side as they could only take away from and spoil the most important flavours. Overall I thought it was a fantastic burger but don’t bother with the other condiments, just give me fries instead. Ps. I did add the pickle.”
“I love a good modern day take on the traditional Pub Burger. The pattie was tasty; big and juicy. The bun was filling and the herb butter on the bottom bun and on the pattie were a nice touch. The pickles and lettuce on the side were fresh and well prepared. I ended up adding the sun-dried tomatoes to the burger – sure, it was a different take, but I’m not convinced that it worked.”
“This one had such potential. It really looked the business. You could even see the juices slowly oozing out of it! I was a little unsure how to approach it though. I totally understand the theory behind building your own burger and making it the way you want to make it but, I feel like Chef Donovan is in a position to flex his muscles a little and really show his guests the best way to enjoy his creation. I mean, if it tasted better with sundried tomatoes, I wouldn’t even have known it, because for me they’re just added wank. In saying that, the meat really did shine. It was simple, flavourful and awesome. But everything else was just OK. The bun for me was way too sweet. It didn’t taste all that fresh and was alot more doughy than what is necessary when it comes to brioche. If I was ever on that side of town again though, I’d be back for sure, purely for the amazing pattie.”
Station Hotel on Urbanspoon


MOS Burger

Thursday, June 30, 2011
MOS Burger – 2-53-3 Hatagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
(2-53-3幡ヶ谷、渋谷、東京、日本)
Burger:
MOS Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
2 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
¥350/$4.10 AUD/$4.35 USD
Summary

Whilst working in Los Angeles in the 1960s, founder Satoshi Sakurada frequented a local hamburger chain called Tommy’s. Inspired by the ‘cook to order’ concept, Mr. Sakurada hit on the idea that this kind of hamburger joint would be just as popular with his fellow countrymen. After returning to Japan, Mr. Sakurada set up the first MOS Burger in Tokyo in 1972. Taking inspiration from their name “Mountain, Ocean, Sun” and slogan “Making people happy through food” MOS Burger has grown to the 2nd largest burger chain in Japan (behind McDonald’s) with over 1,400 outlets throughout, and with another 100 spread across Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia. We had been hearing rumours of MOS expanding to Australia for a while and after the opening of a Brisbane “Test Run Store” in March, we decided that we had to check out the original. Each of us grabbed a different item but I had my eyes set on the MOS Cheeseburger that came on a soft whole-grain bun, a beef + pork mince pattie, Australian cheese, thick slice of tomato, onion, mayonnaise, American mustard and the classic MOS meat sauce.

Comments
“The best way to describe this burger is basically a McDonald’s Cheeseburger with a large dollop of Bolognese sauce on it. If it were any bigger it would have been a total mess however, I avoided all of that nonsense by scoffing it down in 3 bites. Sure, MOS is essentially a fast-food chain, but I noticed the locals were’nt treating it as fast-food; more like a place to hang out and unwind. There were kids studying and office workers kicking back, playing video games and puffing on cigarettes in the enclosed smoking areas. Also unlike some of the big chains, each burger is cooked to order. This may see you waiting a little longer but its worth the wait as the burgers come out fresh and hot.”


The Espy

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Espy – 11 The Esplanade, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Espy Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
16 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$16.50
Summary

From Reggae to Dance, Hip-Hop to Rock & Roll, The Esplanade Hotel (or more affectionately known as “The Espy”) has been catering to Melbourne’s eclectic musical tastes for over 100 years. Whether it be a local band or an epic international, it is the place n St Kilda to check out some new tunes, have a drink and enjoy a feast. So when you’ve got all these big musical acts coming to and fro, you’d better be able to offer them some decent grub, right? This is where The Espy Kitchen comes in; preparing everything from classic Pub favourites to delicious pastas, desserts and killer breakfasts (perfect rejuvenation for even the biggest hangovers). We visited one rainy Melbourne Sunday evening and went for the only burger on the menu. Their signature “Espy Burger” comes with a beef pattie, bacon, tasty cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato, red onion and The Espy’s secret sauce all on a sesame seed bun. There’s also a decent portion of fries with house-made ranch dipping sauce.

Comments
“With the rep that this place generally has (not that its a a bad one but more that its quite laidback) I really wasn’t expecting much. However, when it came to the kitchen it couldn’t be further from the case! Everything that I saw come out of there looked as if it had been prepared by someone with love and passion for food. The burger offered a hearty traditional beef pattie topped with tasty cheese and a good amount of salty bacon. Pickles are always a wlecome addition and all the other ingredients were pretty fresh (although there was a little too much lettuce). The traditional seeded bun did a good job of holding it all together. Nothing too fancy just a job well done. Good work guys.”
“I have to admit this is the first time I’ve been to The Espy. It always looks gross and full of people who catch public transport. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a clean, warm and friendly restaurant tucked away at the side of the live music venue with families casually sitting down to dinner. Inside the stock-standard-sesame-seed-bun was a hearty piece of beef with a great juicyness to it; as well as being accompanied by a few rashes of crispy bacon. As I expected they didn’t try anything fancy and just did the basics quite well.”
“Practically living at the Espy in the old University days it really felt like traveling back home and having your mum cook you her ol’ fashioned “Mama’s Style” hamburgers. All the love and home rusticness is there. The medium-sized pattie was very juicy and tasty. The melted cheese was great and the pickles added that tang that I so love in a burger. The secret sauce added a subtle creaminess to each bite. The down sides were that it did need a little bit of ketchup and there was too much green in there. Chips were good.”
“Sooo surprising. G accidentally gave away the venue beforehand and I hate to say it but I thought, “Damn it’ll be all turkish buns and no love” – how wrong I was. The bun was a seeded traditional roll that did a half-decent job of soaking in the juices. The pattie was really enjoyable; it was lightly seasoned and allowed the beef to do a lot of the talking. The cheese they used was also remarkable. The bacon might’ve been just a little too crispy for me but that’s nothing to cry about. The pickles were OK but I reckon it couldve done with a few less of them… same goes for lettuce. My recommendation is, save the dill mayo-style dipping sauce for the burger. It doesn’t work well as a side with chips and would add a creaminess to the burger that’d cut through the acidity of the pickles. I know I’ll be back soon. Seriously impressive.”
The Esplanade Hotel (Espy Kitchen) on Urbanspoon


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