Empress Hotel

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_EmpressHotel

Empress Hotel – 714 Nicholson St, Carlton North, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Beef Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expext much
Price:
$13.50
Summary

The Empress Hotel first opened its doors in 1873 and thanks to a love and focus on live music, has not changed drastically over the years and, has earned its iconic status with an eclectic mix of regulars. The formal dining room is exactly that: a formal dining room with original wallpaper and light fixtures, Victorian era furniture, a large open fire place and is notably void of any plasma screens. As with all traditional pubs, The Empress Hotel offers a traditional pub menu with steak, fish & chips, chicken parma, shephards pie and a burger on offer. On a cold, wet, winter’s night, we took a step back in time, grabbed a couch near the fireplace and ordered the beef burger with Gourmet Angus beef, caramelised onion, mixed leaves, beetroot, cheese, tomato, cucumber and tomato relish.

Comments
“There was nothing really binding this burger together – even with the skewer in – many of the ingredients fell out before even taking the first bite. The large chunks of cold, crunchy beetroot, cucumber and tomato (although tasty), really overtook and cooled down the beef pattie and ended up tasting like a salad roll bought from a local bakery.”
“The burger really didn’t look like much and it kind of tasted as if it was its first day on the menu. The Angus pattie tasted pretty average but what really let it down was the the slice of beetroot that felt like it came out of a can and the bun that would have been more suitable as a breakfast roll. Adding more complication to the burger was the cucumber: it really didn’t feel like it belonged in there and the crunch and taste made me feel like I was eating a salad. The chips came out smelling of oregano and tasted good. For $13.50 I do think its passable, but I wouldn’t recommend it.”
“If you want be the most comfortable you’ve been in a while then get yourself to the Empress. It won’t solve any of our Burger Adventure problems but you’re in the right environment to ail a cold Melbourne night. Think about this: you go in, sit on a couch with your buds, sit in front of a fire and pay 13 dollars for a pub burger and fries that are there to keep your insides warm. Apart from that the burger just tasted like they went to the supermarket that morning, bought the ingredients and slapped them together. All eatable, but it’s the kind of burger that speaks more to your hunger than your taste buds.”
The Empress Hotel on Urbanspoon


The Bush Inn

Friday, July 26, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_Bush-Inn-Toorak

The Bush Inn – 505 Malvern Rd, Toorak, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Beef Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
16 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$25
Summary

Standing tall on the corner of William and Malvern roads since 1849, the Bush Inn was once the place to meet your friends and family as you returned from the city on your horse and cart. With a refurbished dining room and a new menu devoted to the art of steak, this old world, family friendly restaurant is busy looking to reaffirm itself as the place to eat in Toorak. Dark wood, leather and maroon carpet give the place a cosy but sophisticated air. Although steaks are their bread and butter, they do offer a variety of other pub favourites like a parma, a chicken pot pie and fish and chips. Delivered to us by some very friendly staff we ordered the Beef Burger that came on a brioche bun with a beef pattie, bacon, egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and a side of chips and onion rings.

Comments
“This burger had everything you would expect from a big gourmet burger with the lot. However, I don’t think much thought and effort went into it. They didn’t even bother listing the ingredients on the menu. The beef was tasty but with everything else so rich, flavoursome and in the wrong proportions, they overpowered the pattie. This accompanied with the sweet brioche bun made it very difficult to even finish. I’m also ashamed to admit that I had to leave some onion rings on the plate.”
“The menu lists the burger as having The Lot included. Sure, its a nice idea but it just didn’t work here. There was so much going on that I really had a tough time enjoying it. It fell apart pretty damn quick, it lacked salt and, any real character for that matter. If you were hooked up with this burger on a blind date you’d be out the bathroom window quicker than you can say “vegetarian option”. It cost a lot of money so you expect quality. It looks like this meal is built to satisfy your hunger more than your taste buds. Sad, but true.”
The Bush Inn Steakhouse on Urbanspoon


The Wilde

Thursday, July 18, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_TheWilde

The Wilde – 153 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Wilde Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$15
Summary

The Wilde is the perfect habitat for both the native hipster and your everyday punter that enjoys Traditional Golden Ale, some good Rock n’ Roll and British gastro pub food. This cosy eatery is brought to you by the former owners of Rue de Fleurus, that decided over a year ago to shut shop and reposition this little Fitzroy nook to a British gastro pub/bar. After experiencing some decent buzz since the re-launch, we thought we’d join the party to see what the chatter was all about. We ordered The Wilde Burger that came with a beef pattie, smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, cornichons, burger sauce and chips.

Comments
“It was a nice, small and compact burger that was more filling than it looked. The beef pattie was cooked through with a nice crust of char – working really well with the thin and salty piece of bacon. The bun was really crunchy and robust, ideally matched with the spicy mayo and the tang from the pickle. I just wish I could of enjoyed this burger in a place that wasn’t so dark and loud and, full of such cool people. However I am aware that this has more to do with me getting old.”
“The dense pattie was cooked well, had a good punch of flavour and had cheese seductively melted all over it. The little slices of pickles together with the crispy, salty bacon had me constantly going to my pint of Golden Ale to wash down the saltiness – great! There wasn’t much green stuff in it besides a piece of lettuce that you can choose to put into your burger if you are that way inclined. I thought overall it was an enjoyable salty experience, but don’t go there hungry – the burger was a tad small. The thick chips were really good and only got better with the thick pasty burger sauce to dip in.”
“Although a little on the small side (give me less chips and more burger next time), it was really enjoyable. I am told there was bacon in the burger, but boy did that go way over my head. I honestly didn’t taste it. The whole thing screamed of salt, a pinch more and it would’ve been overkill. Their choice of bun made it taste like it was a DIY-home-burger that one of your mates is trying to impress you with. I’m thinking that a larger version of this burger would’ve taken it up a notch for me. I was just left a little unsatisfied after the whole meal. It’s a ballsy move putting a burger on the menu, especially with Belle’s Diner over the road… And it’s hard to compete with that.”
The Wilde on Urbanspoon


Bridge Hotel

Friday, July 12, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_BridgeHotel

Bridge Hotel – 642 Bridge Rd, Richmond, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Black Angus Beef Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
22 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$19
Summary

From the outside it’s basically your standard Melbourne pub. Step past the bouncers inside and we urge you to attempt to know where to go. You’re first greeted with a Parisian alley way – balconies above you as you walk past. There are dining areas all around with stairs leading to god knows where and a traditional pub bar on your left. Call it an adventure, call it confusing. Or, just call over a staff member and get yourself a seat. Refurbished by Justin Northrop of Techne Architects in 2011, the Bridge Hotel is a 100-year-old building that has been known to get quite crowded – so get in early on a Saturday. They boast a pretty extensive pub menu with some modern twists on some classics as well as a cosy roast served every Sunday for $19. Having witnessed a few come out of the kitchen already, we braced ourselves and ordered their Black Angus Beef Burger that comes with bacon, egg, caramelised onion, lettuce, tomato, beetroot, cheese, relish & ailoi with beer battered chips.

Comments
“I had to seriously squish this burger down to have an even remote chance of taking an even bite out of it. Had I of taken the skewer out the whole thing would of completely fallen apart. The fact that it was so big meant some bites you got nothing but cold and crunchy lettuce, tomato and beetroot. Other times it was a bunch of flour from the bun and some egg and bacon that reminded me of a breakfast roll (not having a go at breakfast rolls, it just wasn’t breakfast time). The highlight of the burger was the beefy angus pattie and the crispy caramelised onions however, they didn’t outweigh the difficultness of consuming this burger.”
“I’ll give them points for effort and drama because it did make me think, “How the hell am I meant to eat this?” If there wasn’t a skewer involved you’d just have a pile of ingredients. It was almost like a shishkebab version of a burger. You would’nt exactly say that it was bad or anything. It was OK at best. Saying that I was glad not to eat brioche again (the epidemic that seems to be striking Melbourne). The pattie was rather light and fluffy, but didnt have any beefy kick to it. It was more rissoley than anything. The highlight I must say were the blackened pickled/ caramelised onions. Their sweetness stood out in this, neither here nor there burger.”
Bridge Hotel on Urbanspoon


The Duke

Friday, July 5, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_Duke_Melbourne

The Duke – 146 Flinders St, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Duke Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
15 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$19.50
Summary

You wouldn’t pick it by looking at the modern interior however, The Duke is Melbourne’s oldest licensed pub, having first opened its doors in 1853. Having recently re-opened for its latest reincarnation we are guessing it’s seen some big changes occur over the years, especially since its neighbours are The Forum Theatre and Federation Square (well, almost neighbour). The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner offering contemporary Australian and International dishes, and with the bar boasting 20 beers on tap, The Duke really caters to everyone. We sat down late one evening for the Duke Burger made with a house ground beef pattie, cheddar cheese, lettuce, bacon, tomato, mayo, dill pickles and a side of house cut chips.

Comments
“This burger had all the right ingredients and characteristics of a great burger however, several aspects really let it down. For starters the piece of lettuce had a giant, cold, spine in it. The slice of tomato was too thick and it really took away the attention from the thick, juicy beef pattie covered in large amount of melted cheddar cheese. Unfortunately the bacon was cooked a little too long and turned rubbery and chewy.To top it off the very sweet and flaky brioche bun was quite dry and left a strange texture once chewed through.”
“There were some really good takeaways from this burger. The pattie for instance was average, but when topped off with a bit of melted cheese, it told me someone in the kitchen cares. The dill pickle had some good crunch to it and really gave the burger some attitude. I did find that the brioche bun let it down; it was sweet as you would expect however, very crumbly and by the end of the meal my plate and lap were full of crumbs. The chips were very good and evenly cooked – especially being thick cut where I find a lot of people get it wrong. For the price I think it could of been better.”
“Plenty of ups an downs with this one. But nothing that would make you slap the chef. Maybe a quiet
word would suffice. The pattie was plenty meaty, soft and salty. The strips of bacon that fell out from my meal also salty and made no enemies (how could you hate bacon right?). Where the burger fell apart for me, both literally and metaphorically, was at the bun. For the last two years the use of brioche has been epic. Every corner of the city boasts a burger with brioche. Now we all know brioche is sweet, but this was more like a croissant. Have it with some jam and coffee in the morning and you’ve got a delightful breakfast. A half-decent burger but I wouldn’t run into the city for it.”
The Duke of Wellington on Urbanspoon


The Spotted Mallard

Friday, June 28, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_SpottedMallard

The Spotted Mallard – 314 Sydney Rd, Brunswick, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Spotted Mallard Wagyu Beef & Bacon Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$19
Summary

With no street frontage but a large old glass door opening to a retro lobby and staircase, it’s fair to say we had no idea what to expect at The Spotted Mallard. Upon entering we were greeted by a large and lively room. There was a folk band entertaining a crowd that looked to be having a rip roaring time on the dance floor as well as what appeared to be 3 generations of the one family catching up over some dinner and wine. The owners; Sam, Samanda, Pete and Max undertook the conversion of a reception centre in 2012 that involved installing a stage and an overhaul of the kitchen that is now largely occupied by staff formerly of Mamasita. The menu features plently of comfort food like a Beef Cheek Rueben, a Wild Mushroom Pot Pie, Slow Braised Lamb and of course the Wagyu Beef and Bacon Burger that comes with a 200gm pattie (cooked pink), streaky bacon, molten gruyere cheese, caramelized onion and pickles on a chipotle mayo doused brioche.

Comments
“My theory that burgers served in waxed paper taste better has been proven right once again. Partly I believe it’s because it traps in all of the ingredients and flavour and partly because I’m slightly OCD and I like my hands being clean. Personal weirdness aside, this is an amazing burger; the beef was cooked medium and was really soft, juicy and maintained its flavour while up against some strong competition that would usually overpower the patty. The cheese was perfectly melted and tasted great against the salty, crispy bacon. The spiciness from the chipotle mayo made me instantly regret leaving my chapstick in the car. These ingredients alone would of made a great burger however, the sweetness from the caramelised onions and sour from the pickle took it to the next level, without overpowering the burger and all working in harmony.”
“I love the idea of grabbing a show, maybe even having a dance and enjoying a bite under one roof. The pub menu on offer was basic, but looked to be executed quite well. The steak and the burger would have been my top two picks if I was going in off the clock. Now to the fantastic burger: the pattie was simply amazing. It was perfectly charred coupled with a great punch of herbs and spices, topped off with the perfect melted hit of cheese and crunch of pickle. The bun was delicate and soft, slightly spongy towards the end, but did it’s job. Chips were thick and fluffy.”
“The venue made feel like I’d been transported to Hungary c.1970. I loved it. The burger’s individual elements were all great but when together they were a work of art. The burger was peppery, hearty, creamy and all together special. It’s not like they did anything that was crazy-out-of-this-world but, it just stood out from the pack. This burger made me feel good. It was the warm hug that you look for after a full day of skiing. It’s the glass of whisky after a long day at work. Truly magnificent.”
The Spotted Mallard on Urbanspoon


The Railway Club Hotel

Thursday, June 20, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_RailwayClubHotel

The Railway Club Hotel – 107 Raglan Street,
Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Railway Club Beef Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
14 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$22
Summary

Tucked away in Port Melbourne, away from any sort of hustle and bustle, you’ll find The Railway Club Hotel. You’d be forgiven for not ever visiting because quite frankly, this place isn’t built on hype. Premium meats, quality produce and a relaxed atmosphere are what they’re all about. With big archways, a fireplace, exposed brick and sports memorabilia floor to ceiling, the décor might remind you of you’re uncles pool room circa 1991. What you probably wouldn’t have seen at your uncle’s though is the large glass case where you can pick out your perfect steak and see it cooked in their open kitchen. Obviously Beef is their pride and joy, with most of it coming from Cape Grim, Tasmania. But if you’re feeling a little beefed out then best try their famous Flounder or dive straight into a Sticky Date Pudding. We ordered the Railway Club Beef Burger that came on a seeded brioche bun with a grilled 200grm Angus ground beef pattie, Swiss cheese, beetroot, pickles, tomato, mustard and mayo with sumac fat chips and aioli.

Comments
“It was like taking a step back in time into a good old traditional Aussie pub. With a mouthwatering display of beautifully cut meats it something a little hard to overlook. The pattie was one of the best I’ve had; perfectly cooked with a nice char on the outside and juicy and pink on the inside. It was a great brioche bun that held everything together. I really enjoyed the melted Swiss cheese, fresh tomato, beetroot and lettuce. In fact, everything just worked. Lastly I have to say I’m not the biggest fan of fat chips, but these were pretty amazing.”
“The burger was presented all high and mighty with plenty of colour bursting out however, it all took a back step to the incredible beef. It must of only hit the hot plate for a moment to leave a perfect crisp char on the outside while sealing in the juice, flavour and remaining pink on the inside. I’m slowly starting to appreciate beetroot in a burger, as the thin layer added just the right amount of sweetness. It also added a crunch to balance out the rich, creamy cheese and mayo. With all these ingredients combined though, it meant the bun had completely dissolved by the end. The venue feels like visiting a distant relative in a country town and being treated to a home cooked meal. Pretty much an ideal setting for a winter meal.”
“This was a classic, timeless burger with some of the best quality meat I’ve had in a while. The beetroot and the mayo blended in exceptionally well and really gave the burger some sweet and creamy characteristics contrasting where the pattie added those salty and char grill tones. Even though it was served in a pub, it really didn’t feel like a pub burger, it was special. The big thick chips were OK.”
“Walking into a venue and seeing a window of raw cuts of meat is a sight for sore eyes. You know they’ve got some serious pride in their product with stuff like that. My burger arrived and was stacked high. It actually looked nothing like I expected. The second thing I noticed was the large bit lettuce that made my burger a foot taller than anyone elses. I squashed the lot down, bit in and floated into beef heaven. With one of the tastiest beef patties I’ve had in a while it was ground coarse and packed with bold, unashamed beefiness. As tasty as the pattie was I felt like there was too much going on here. This could’ve been because the burger fell apart on me and made me do more work than anyone should on a Sunday. But beetroot did feel at home in this burger. As did the pickles with their sweet crunch. There’s a lot to love about the Railway Club Hotel. The only thing I’m annoyed about is how lucky the locals are for having it.”
The Railway Club Hotel Port Melbourne on Urbanspoon