Charlie & Co.

Thursday, March 8, 2012
Charlie & Co. – Lvl 5, Westfield Sydney, Cnr Market & Castlereagh St, Sydney, Australia
Burger:
The Wagyu & Co. Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$18 Eat in
Summary

Two things we’ve learnt about chefs over the last couple of years: 1, they’re insane and 2, it seems like every one of them wants their own tiny takeaway joint. Totally understandable of course. Chances are most of us will remember being a kid and delving into a box of fastfood quicker than you can say “Copernicus”. Everyone one from Bobby Flay to Neil Perry, even Marky Mark, is putting their passion for burgers into practice. Justin North is no exception. Coming up through the Sydney scene in the early Naughties with restaurants like Bécasse, then later on with Etch, La Grand Cafe and Quarter 21, Justin’s infamy didn’t catch our attention until we dropped past Plan B back in early 2010. His wagyu burger there was a lunchtime hit, but since shutting up shop after big brother restaurant Bécasse moved to the new 1.2 Billion dollar Westfield Shopping Centre, he needed a new outlet for his burger love. To North, it was evident that good burgers were in demand and so in late 2010, paying homage to supposedly the first bloke in America to start making hamburgers, Charlie & Co was born. Looking around at the sleek, elegant and chic eatery, everything that you wouldn’t expect from a burger joint in a shopping centre food court, we were delivered two of their well-known Wagyu & Co. Burgers. In between a Bécasse Bakery sesame seed bun lay a Wagyu pattie with beetroot relish, pickled gherkin, lettuce, aged cheddar and aioli.

Comments
“I have long been an advocate of getting rid of food court shops because it’s always shit and come 2am the next day when you are hugging the toilet bowl, you really hate yourself. Like the other shopping centre eateries we’ve chosen to review, Charlie and Co. is anything but average. Its Wagyu Burger is a very neat little burger with each bite being well-balanced and delivering a different punch of flavour each time. It did need some sauce though, just for that additional saltiness that I like in my burgers. The pattie wasn’t overly thick but was still juicy – not so juicy as to stain your G-STAR jeans you would have bought from a department store 5 minutes before, but still decent drip. The bun was a nice little gem too, not too doughy, but nice and soft. Chips were good – slightly on the cold side though.”
“I went into this adventure with some big expectations. We’d had a whole lot of emails about this burger and so when it was time to take the jet up to Sydney, I knew we had to check it out. Accompanied with a big smile and some great service, this thing came out looking like a superstar. What impressed me most was the pure and simple thought process behind it. As opposed to what a proctologist might tell you, pickles, beetroot, mayo, beef and buns are a great idea! The burger’s biggest downfall though was the lack of salt. Because you’re dealing with Wagyu its beefiness doesn’t come through like with Angus, so to compensate I had to add a squirt of ketchup for the extra flavour kick. Overall for me, it was OK; but maybe a little too much hype and coin surrounding this one. If I was in the area on our next Sydney trip, I guess I’d go back to see how their Angus burgers measure up. Plus also, it’s not everyday I get to ride an escalator.”
Charlie & Co Burgers on Urbanspoon


Igloo Road House (Buxton Burger)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Igloo Road House – 2220 Maroondah Hwy, Buxton, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Buxton Burger
Serviettes:
6
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
33 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$13.80
Summary

About an hour and half north east of Melbourne sits a humble little petrol station where you might pop in for a cheeky snack, a magazine and some Fan Tails for the road. That is, if you’ve never heard of the legend that is the Buxton Burger. The interesting thing is, its home, the Igloo Road House, isn’t really on the way to anything; unless your a sucker for a trout farm. Sure, during the winter there is a tiny bit of skiing that goes on down the road at Lake Mountain, but for a burger to get such critical acclaim from both the general public and Masterchef’s very own big man, Matt Preston, they’ve got to be doing something right. First established in 1946, the Igloo Roadhouse has become a bit of a hang out for car/bike enthusiasts who tackle the infamous stretch of road known as the Black Spur. The speed demons have it all worked out: wind your way to Buxton, smash one of their enormous burgers, then wind your way all the way home letting g-forces aid the digestion. “Tell us more about these goliath burgers”, you say? Well, Igloo Road House does a variety; starting with your typical Burger with The Lot (lettuce, tomato, beetroot, cheese, bacon, onion, egg, ketchup) then, the all famous 13cm tall Buxton Burger (Double The Lot + Pineapple) and then, the 20cm tall Cathedral Burger (Triple The Lot + Pineapple). The crazy part about these burgers is the records that come with them. Last year there were 39,321 people who ate a “normal” burger there. Then there were 4,672 machines who consumed the Buxton Burger, and to finish it off, 527 imbeciles/legends who smashed the Cathedral. The best part is there’s a guy out there who’s demolished a Buxton Burger in about 1 minute 30 seconds – definitely a plaque thats hanging in his den. With an enthralling afternoon of trout fishing ahead of us, we knew we needed to be somewhat limber and not too sleepy. So, we played it safe, ordered 4 of their signature Buxton Burgers and sat in the sun waiting for our demise.

Comments
“I think you first have to ask yourself is it worth the drive! The answer is hell YES. Is it because the burger is that great? I would have to say no. Not that the burger is bad, I just think for me the whole experience of it was enjoying a great drive and amazing scenery, finished up by an iconic burger. Big in size and taste, this doesn’t disappoint if your after a classic takeaway shop burger. A well cooked pattie that was juicy and seasoned just enough. I personally would have liked the egg yolk to be a little runnier for a bit more creaminess. When it first came out I thought the bun was grossly over sized for the burger, but once I dove in I saw the reason behind it. It all really came together well for such a massive burger, which is a good achievement where many fail.”
“So it wasn’t the biggest burger we have eaten, but it was clearly the largest bun we have ever witnessed. I ripped off half the bun before starting, as I didn’t want my first 12 bites to be stomach-filling bread getting in the way of the beef. The beef was ground up and packed tight. It didn’t have much flavour and was of a grey colour, but being completely covered in cheese, egg and bacon, it made up for the lack of flavour. If this was a smaller standard size it would still be a pretty good fish’n’chip style burger. It also presents great value for money considering a number of burgers in the city cost more and, are half the size and of similar flavour.”
“Retrospect is a beautiful thing. It generally gives us a chance to analyse something that occurred in the day, whether we were the cause of it or not and form an opinion on it. When the chance came along to drive 1.5 hours and try the infamous Buxton Burger we pounced. When we finally arrived at the Igloo Roadhouse in Buxton (famous for the Buxton and Cathedral Burger) it felt like a big tick would finally go on my list of burger joints, and this had been haunting me for over 2 years. It almost felt like a right of burger passage to me. Waiting 30 minutes for the Buxton Burger really didn’t bother me as I was fancying the chances of my appetite increasing while we wait. And then, finally the great towering burger arrived. If you don’t know what to expect when you order the Buxton, it’s basically the Lot, just doubled for our greedy pleasure. This Burger was hard to handle, but this beast can be tamed. The pattie was tasty and juicy, the sliced beetroot had it’s place and was ok, the cheese was good, eggs were perfectly cooked with a little bit of run and the Pineapple lasted 3 bites and then had to be taken out. So going back to what I was saying about retrospect. Was it worth the 1.5hr drive, 1 toilet pit stop, 1 petrol refuelling, 1 nature viewing stop and $13.80? Well, it was a burger I really wanted to conquer, and I did. Would I recommend it? Probably not – only unless your a burger fanatic in love with the utterly ridiculous. This burger, sorry to say, felt like any other burger I would get from a burger shop. Chips were good, standard chips, but when combined with chicken salt they become a must.”
“Seriously folks, this is big! That is a full-size dinner plate in the picture and its sitting on it like Hulk Hogan on a tricycle. My first bite was nothing but bread; I ate it, but knew that some different tactics were going to have to be employed in order to smash the whole thing. I wrapped my hands underneath the behemoth – as if I were holding a rocket launcher – and went to town. I left the pineapple in for probably 2 or 3 bites but then realised, why punish myself with such an abominable ingredient, so I tossed it. There was plenty of bacon in this thing, but it was fatty as hell and made for some picking and prodding. The beef patties were sausage-like, fatty and were packed tight. They weren’t bad but nothing great. This is most definitely a once in a life time kind of burger; meaning you probably only ever need to eat one in your life. But saying that, the drive up itself is an incredible experience, so why not pop in for a snack.”


Coin Laundry

Friday, February 24, 2012

Coin Laundry – 61 Armadale St, Armadale, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu Beef Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$18.50
Summary

Located in Armadale: an affluent, normally sleepy pocket of Melbourne, Coin Laundry has become quite the drawcard. If you’ve visited the area before you’d know its mostly residential with the odd antique or craft paper store thrown into the mix. Now (well, since late 2010), thanks to Matt Vero and Steve Rowley, when cool cats think Armadale they think Coin Laundry. They’ve given both locals and the more serious coffee addicts across Melbourne an awesome place to kick back, enjoy a delicious breakfast and the chance to listen to some toffy convo’s about “little Madison’s dance recital”. The menu has its hoity toity moments but with breakfast until 3pm, you know the guys running it are pretty chilled and if you want just a plate of bacon, I’m sure they’d understand. At some point last year, on a gloomy hungover morning, we were pleasantly informed by one of their award winning barista’s that we should definitely give their Wagyu Beef Burger a crack. It took us a couple months, but finally we got down there to order it. On a rustic wooden board out came a toasted brioche bun with a Wagyu beef pattie, beetroot relish, aioli, tomato, lettuce, cheddar cheese and some handcut chips*.
*Since our review the guys have swapped out the handcut chips to french fries with secret seasoning.

Comments
“Never has loitering outside a laundromat and train station ever been so worth the wait. Arriving on a fresh, soft and slightly sweet bun the Coin Laundry burger lives up to the good word that seems to be going around. The Beef pattie was well seasoned and quite juicy. The beetroot relish is great and goes really well with those pickles, adding a nice tangy zing. The hand cut fat chips were good, but still prefer shoestring fries.”
“One of my only pet peeves in life is restaurants and cafes that don’t serve Coke; its the only thing I want to drink with my food. Whether it’s a late breakfast, a burger or high end dining, it is best accompanied by a glass of Coke. OK rant over. This burger was a lot less delicate than I expected: the beetroot worked quite well with the slightly overcooked beef but when it came to the cheese, it overpowered it. The bun was wonderfully fresh, soft and sweet. I’m not a fan of thick cut potatoes pretending to be fancy chips but with the added chutney dip, they weren’t too bad. The wait staff were friendly, considering it was a Sunday and knowing the area well, the demographic of customers can definitely be of the difficult and snobbish variety.”
“If this place still had washing machines and dryers hidden at the back of the cafe, I’d get a lot more serious about my laundry routine. No more recycling smelly shirts and airing them outside my window for a second chance at life before I wash. One drunken outing and straight to the laundry! Having this dream crushed by reality is sad, but something I have to come to terms with in due course. But in the meantime I can only dream. OK, to business – I loved the beetroot relish combined with the shredded pickle, both worked well. The pattie was tasty and juicy. The cheese was good and added that sharpness to the meal. Overall the right amount of greens involved and the bun was soft and sweet. The burger was served with tomato relish, but I don’t think it was needed. Potato wedge-things were good.”
“These guys are setting the standard as far as “Cafe Burgers” go. Fingers crossed, but if most places could look to Coin Laundry as a starting point, no longer would we be dealing with the “Turkishbread4abun” epidemic. Its quite rare for me to enjoy a burger when there’s beetroot involved, so for my plate to be left with nothing but burger sauce and the waitresses phone number, it must mean something good is taking place. The beef pattie was nice and juicy, but maybe a little too light for my liking – the minor downside to Wagyu. Overall a really good burger and now, hearing about french fries being added to it, I’ll be coming back in no time.”
Coin Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon


Shake Shack

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shack Shack – Madison Square Park, 11 Madison Ave, Gramercy/Flatiron, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
Shake Shack Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Weather dependent – anything from board shorts to ski masks
Sleepiness:
4 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$4.50 USD
Summary

Shake Shack opened its windows in Madison Square Park in 2004 and immediately became a neighborhood fixture, with locals, tourists and everyone inbetween gathering to enjoy some classic American dishes like burgers, hot dogs and milk shakes. The brain child of restauranteur Danny Meyer of the Union Square Hospitality Group, has now grown to seven locations in New York City with further Shacks in upstate New York, Washington DC, Connecticut, Miami and now in Kuwait and Dubai in the Middle East. The Shake Shack burger uses 100% all natural Angus beef, grounded fresh daily and cooked medium. It’s served up nice and simple with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, a pickle and “Shack Sauce”.

Comments
“After hearing all of the hype over the last few years, I was wondering if the 45 minute wait to order, and further 15 minute wait for the burger to arrive was worth it. But then, I took my first bite. This burger is as good as its reputation – I could not fault this burger one bit and I can’t even begin to explain why it is just SO good. It’s quite a small burger with what tastes like the freshest of ingredients, on a bun that is very, very soft. The beef is perfectly cooked and seasoned, and combined with the American cheese and Shake Shack sauce makes for one of the creamiest burgers I’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring. However, before too long after I’d finished consuming my delicious burger, I instantly started regretting not ordering the Double. So the very next day I took my place in line for another 45 minutes and made my “Double Dream” come true.”
Shake Shack (Madison Square Park) on Urbanspoon


The Burger of the Year 2011 – NSHRY

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Melbourne beaches can have their ups and downs. From shameless tourists and gym junkies to the airheads and rollerbladers there are plenty of reasons that an air-conditioned library is sometimes more appealing than the hot sands of the Bayside foreshore. But what happens when a tired old takeaway down by the water gets knocked up and 9 months later is reborn as a serious must-eat-at Melbourne destination? Well, apart from burning your stupid library card I guess the next thing to do is start practicing you’re roundhouse kicks, because this place knows how to draw a crowd.

When owner and Chef, Michael Nham, saw the opportunity to start his own establishment right on the water, he leapt for it. Growing up in a Vietnamese/Taiwanese family, Michael tells us that his adoration for food and cooking all started at quite a young age. He reckons the first time he was introduced to Western food he basically lost his mind. The culprit was lasagna – a whole new world of flavour for him, so he just kept eating it and eating until he eventually just threw up (what a champ). Since those early days his passion for Western and even Fast-food has continued to grow. This is where NSHRY and their Umami Burger fit in. When opening his beach side eatery he knew he had to have a burger on the menu, and after extensive research and time planning what he was going to create, he drew on Umami for inspiration.
The Winner

It’s not every day that you come across a burger that can get juice flowing down to your elbow. Michael Nham has created something here that really is remarkable. When everyone is jamming Wagyu into their burgers as a fancy wallet emptying tactic, he stops and reconsiders, telling us that a “100% Wagyu pattie has no place in a burger. You end up losing a lot of beefy flavours”. By mixing his Wagyu with Angus Beef he is able to achieve the best of both worlds – the fatty softness of the Wagyu whilst delivering the beefy kick of the Angus. He goes on to tell us about how in order to achieve his desired result, the tomato MUST be roasted, the onion jam needs about 8 hours of love and the plump pattie will not only meet the pan at searing heats, but will end up visiting the oven before being placed on its sweet brioche resting place. It’s ridiculous, the man has turned the humble act of placing meat between a bun into an art-form, and for that we commend him. So, to Michael, his sister Jen who runs the floor, and to the rest of the staff at NSHRY, a huge congratulations is in order! When everyone in Melbourne has been zigging, you’ve zagged… and it’s payed off.
For our full review click here.



Huxtaburger

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Huxtaburger – 106 Smith St, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Huxtaburger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$8
Summary

Buzz word of the month, hipster hangout, bloggers delight… whatever you want to make of it, Huxtaburger is Melbourne’s newest burger joint. The guys behind this welcome addition to the Melbourne Burger Family are responsible for another well-known, and Smith St fav, Huxtable. Where the latter mainly serves a variety of shared dishes, Huxtaburger is all about you. Well, you and and your burger. Chef and owner Daniel Wilson has based the most-part of the menu on the classic TV series “The Cosby Show”, where the different burgers represent the different characters i.e “The Bill” gets a little kooky and adventurous by adding pineapple and beetroot, whereas “The Rudy” is smaller and aimed at kids. If you were born in the 90’s, chances are these names will mean nothing to you so just smile politely and start Google-ing. The setup also has quite the classic inspiration behind it; with black, white and stainless steel as the primary colours, Huxtaburger tries to create a classic USA diner experience right in the heart of Collingwood. Wading through a sea of people, we were lucky enough to score some seats by the counter, and so we each ordered their signature Huxtaburger that comes on a glazed brioche bun with a Moondarra Wagyu beef pattie, mustard, mayo, ketchup, tomato, cheese, lettuce and pickles. Oh, and we couldn’t go past a serve of crinkle cut chips for an extra $2.50.

Comments
“Huxtaburger puts together a simple yet flavourful burger that seems to be attracting quite the crowd. Their signature Huxtaburger has one of the best buns going around, with some of the fluffiest and sweetest textures I’ve tasted. The beef pattie was perfectly cooked, but lacked a bit of seasoning and the good amount of fat that you hope will ooze out. I always love a burger that has pickles and mustard, but sometimes when their both in a burger together, there can be a thing as too much tangy sweetness. All-in-all though, it’s a pretty decent, well-balanced burger.”
“Luckily just after ordering we managed to get a seat at the bench which made the wait a little more bearable. Love the setup and the size of the menu; a very limited selection that means they have all of their time and energy to focus on just burgers. The actual Huxtaburger is one of the most visibly appealing burgers out there at the moment and that bun must the be lightest, fluffiest and sweetest bun I’ve ever had. I was even surprised as to how well it held all the ingredients together and didn’t dissolve. The beef was cooked well but there didn’t seem to be much fat and wasnt juicy at all. The cheese was melted perfectly over the top of the pattie, and parts of the slice oozed down and touched the hot plate which, is one of the best tastes on earth. The mustard was a little too strong for me – I think I’d rather have had more of the flavour of the pickle come through instead. Next time I’d love to try the double burger with the bacon to experience a bolder, beefier flavour to balance out the strength of the mustard and pickle.”
“We’re always getting recommendations for burger joints people would like us to visit. Most of them have eaten the burger and can give us the intricate details. But when you have a long-time vegetarian recommending a place that only makes beef burgers (not having tried the burger, but nevertheless tempted), you know this place is doing something right. Readers be warned this place is busy and you might have to wait a while, but credit to the staff for working their butts off. When it comes out the burger looks delicious. The croissant-like bun is by far the star of the show, slightly greasy on the outside and soft to hold, this bun is sweet as hell and could just be served on it’s own for breakfast. The pattie is ok; not a lot of seasoning and thin in size, but it does the job. The tang from the mustard and pickles can take over the burger, but I really don’t mind it – any burger with mustard earns my respect. Overall it’s not a fatty burger and is definitely a burger I can eat twice a week for lunch. One burger is sufficient, but I would recommend going for a double pattie. Chips were ok.”
“I could go on about the amazing bun, the delicious cheese, the not so juicy beef pattie or even the hipsteriffic clientelle. But I won’t. All I’ll say is, eating this burger is a bit like finally going out with the hottest girl in school, only to find out she’s a devout Christian and all you’ll get at the end of the date is a handshake and God’s blessing. When I go back, I’ll be sealing the deal by ordering an extra pattie, some bacon and extra cheese. Nice burger: if you’re into that sort of thing.”
Huxtaburger on Urbanspoon


Revealed…

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

“It all starts here.”



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