Blink and you might miss it. But, what you won’t miss in this small shop is their big range of burgers on offer. With enough bench space for 7-8 people and its very friendly service, they’ll make you want to eat in rather that take away. There’s a big emphasis on sourcing local produce and freshness, every burger is made to order with a real “Ma and Pa” feel; the hardest thing is picking what burger to go for. We went for the “Star Spangled Banner” burger with a 150g char grilled organic beef pattie, double tasty cheese, pickle, lettuce, tomato sauce, American mustard and 1000 island mayo.
When you happen to visit one the most arid, terribly hot places in the world, the best place to hang is a mall where you can enjoy luxury shopping, skiing and one of the world’s most famous burgers. Opening in 2011, Shake Shack Dubai was the first of many of its international locations (now in Turkey, UK and Russia) and ever since day one they’ve always had queues. If you aren’t aware of Shake Shack’s infamy, you can read more from D’s NYC review here, but they’ve come a long way since starting out as a humble hot dog stand in NYC. I took my place in line, watched the workhorse that is the Shake Shack kitchen do their thing and eventually got to order the Shack Burger that came with a 100% Angus beef pattie (cooked medium), cheese, lettuce tomato and Shack Sauce all on a soft burger bun.
You can hardly say you’ve done it all in Melbourne until you’ve eaten from one our many food trucks. As much as some councils have tried to put the kibosh on where and when they can operate, the community has welcomed them with open arms. Relative newcomer to the scene is the Dude Food Man, who not only serves burgers but delves into other comfort foods between buns like a pulled pork slider and a Korean BBQ Beef sub. To say owner Johnny has his work cut out for him when it comes to competing for attention next to the acclaimed Mr Burger and Beatbox Kitchen is an understatement. But, with over 10 years training at places like Café Di Stasio and The Point Albert Park, sourcing only the best local ingredients, it’s no surprise The Dude Food Man has so many sell outs. On a sunny Sunday afternoon we found a spare patch of dirt at Ruckers Hill (check here for up to date locations) and ordered their signature Dude Burger that came on a brioche bun with a Wagyu pattie, lettuce, cheese, tomato, caramelised onions, pickles and aioli.
Down away from Port Melbourne’s main drag lies a café that you’re either going to say is breaking down barriers or just a little bit indecisive. Like many of the other internet dudes that take photos of their meals with oversized cameras, we were sent a few emails inviting us to come down and check out the menu. After gracefully declining (as we always do) we popped in on our own accord, primarily out of curiosity as to how a Russian/American menu, cooked by a Japanese Chef would work out. Even though you’ll find Blinztes to BBQ ribs on the menu, the desire to serve nothing but premium quality food is at the forefront of owner Greg and Inga’s minds. After being greeted by some super friendly staff we ordered the Gourmet Burger that came with porterhouse mince, spice, fetta and sun-dried tomato pattie on a bed of basil mayo in a brioche bun plus lettuce and tomato.
You can’t accuse the gents behind MEATLiquor of being ambiguous. When you hear about it or see its neon signs there isn’t much left to the imagination right? You might expect MEATliquor to be a little like what everyone else is doing: embracing the classic diner style with a little bit of alcohol to sip on the side. Well, it’s a little bit of the opposite. When you do manage to be let in by the bouncer (after waiting for an hour), that first step inside the dark, loud, graffiti soaked venue resembles more of a nightclub than a restaurant. Don’t be fooled by all of this because MEATliquor is still all about meat and liquor. The people behind it all started it in what’s looking like a trend for most success stories: humble beginnings serving out of a van (MEATwagon), then moving to pop ups (#MEATeasy) and finally to a couple of fixed spots (recently opened in Brighton). The guys are Chef Yiannis Papoutsis and Scott Collins, who met at MEATwagon one night. Collins was so impressed with the product that he arranged for Chef Yiannis to open up at Collin’s pub for a night – then the word spread. With an all-out attitude that dares you to eat and drink ’til you drop, their menu consists of plenty of juicy burgers and drinks to make you stumble home. After a recommendation from one of the waitresses/burgerettes I went for the Chili Cheeseburger that came with a beef pattie, chili butter, cheese, red onions, pickles, lettuce, mustard and ketchup (and a Jameson to boot).