Belle’s Diner

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Belle’s Diner – 150 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Dinerr Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$17.50
Summary

Bright like Broadway, the warm glow of the words “DINER” are a homing beacon for all those looking to get their fix of laid back, NYC inspired dining; the classic sort of course. With Head Chef Catriona Freeman fresh from a stint at Heath Ledger’s Five Leaves, it makes plenty of sense to bring back some of the tastes of Brooklyn to Fitzroy. Situate yourself at either the sleek stainless-steel counter or at one of the vintage timber booths, you’ll always have something to entertain you. From peering into the kitchen for some behind the scenes drama, trying to decipher the cool-cats tatoos sitting opposite you, or just watching as the day rolls past through their huge glass windows, you’ll hardly notice time tick past on their übercool clock/wall/wall-clock. Without much hesitation we ordered their Dinerr Burger (not a typo) that came with a Wagyu beef pattie, brioche bun, caramelised onion, Tasty Cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickles, mayo and a side of seasoned fries.

Comments
“First off, this is a seriously cool venue with really friendly staff and, if I lived locally, would love to call it my local. Everything in this burger was in perfect proportion with a really thick and juicy beef pattie. The condiments can often get lost in a burger, however the large cut tomato and pickles added a really good crunch. The cheese and sauce together created a creamy flavour that worked well with the sweet and sugary bun. Not the biggest burger, but with an ample amount of fries it wont leave you hungry.”
“A slick diner feel with just the right amount of mood lighting 4 guys can handle on a burger escapade. The burger was on the small side, but still filling nevertheless. The brioche bun was typically sweet, so memorably soft and delicate, worked really well with the delicious, juicy pattie. The humble pickle is always a welcome addition on my plate so, along with a small amount of lettuce and tomato they worked a treat. The mayo in the burger was good and the seasoning on the chips was great!”
“As usual, when taking photos I’ll steal a chip to shut my hunger up for even a few seconds. But I couldn’t stop at just one. It was like someone took a steak and somehow grated it over the chips. So eventually I bit in and the cheese was first of many burger tastes to flirt with my taste buds. It wore a tuxedo and introduced itself with a suaveness normally reserved for secret agents. The pattie crumbled with each bite, had onions throughout and was peppery and beefy. It maybe could’ve been a little more pink, but that’s me being a schtickler. Their pickles were also a highlight. They played their supportive role well, distinct but not too “acidy”. Balance played a big role in this entire meal for me: from all of the burgers ingredients, to the accompanying fries, to the retro decor and charming staff. Everything was superb.”
Belle's Diner on Urbanspoon


Strange Wolf

Friday, July 6, 2012

Strange Wolf – Strachan Lane, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wolf Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
9 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$12 inc. fries
Summary

Apart from a few unmentionables, there aren’t many combos better than “Burgers & Beer”. If you’re walking down Exhibition St your gaze might just be distracted with this very scribble. You see, like everything Melbourne these days, the cool cats behind this magnificent offering ask you to go down a laneway and then head down some stairs. You’ll pass the neon Strange Wolf sign and walk into a world of pot plants, concrete pillars, a weird sort-of alcove where dining occurs and of course, the bar. The guys at Strange Wolf have kept their menus pretty simple – in a great way. Offering a bunch of burgers and a decent drinks list that’s not “scary complicated” keeps things moving and really embodies “quality over quantity”. We sidled up to the bar and ordered ourselves their signature Wolf Burger that comes with grilled beef, caramelized onion, pickles, melted mozzarella, roma tomato and iceberg lettuce. On the side they dish up a fun-sized cone of fries and a shot-glass full of ketchup.

Comments
“These guys are definitely doing something right. You really get bang for your buck with this burger. A great sized pattie that’s perfectly char grilled on the outside and pink, juicy and full of flavour on the inside. I do have to say there is something that does remind me of a sort of gourmet Whopper, but don’t mistake this for a bad thing or something they were aiming for. A classic bun holds in the sweet crunchy pickles, gooey melted cheese and sliced tomato. All accompanied with a creamy dressing that gives the perfect finish. A small but delicious amount of french fries was the perfect side. I did kind of wish they had something to offer for dessert though.”
“The best way to describe this burger is to compare it to a Whopper made with love, care and attention. The beef was cooked with just enough char on the outside but still retained a lot of its juiciness and flavour. It had a really rustic, smashed up texture to it allowing the cheese to melt into every little crevice perfectly. Luckily the gigantic slices of pickle were quite mild as anything stronger would of been way too over powering. Now I’ve been known to be quite fond of a nightclub or two an,d am obviously very fond of burgers. However, I dont like the idea of the two of them combined. With this place being underground, very dark, with techno music playing at 7pm – it just reminded me of 3am. I know I’m weird but if I’m drinking I dont want to eat and if I’m eating I dont want to drink.”
“A simple burger, full of attitude for a great price of $12 and “yes”, it also comes with a teasing amount of chips that will leave you wanting more of everything. The pattie was cooked to perfection and full of flavour. The crispy sharpness of the the pickle made it the perfect wingman to this pattie. There was a light dressing flavour in the background but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. But whatever it was it stayed at back of the palette and made me love each bite. Served in a paper funnel, the crispy chips were great.”
“Usually when a burger is hyped up, I’m suspiscious straight away. I know people might recommend it and might say it’s awesome, but at 3am a double Quarter Pounders from Maccas are pretty damn awesome. But then I heard an American accent wafting over the sound of the grill and I felt a little more assured we might be getting something decent. Then unfortunately, it came out looking a bit average. I almost begrudgingly took the shots whilst the guys ate in silence. But then once I bit in I rejoiced and realised why the others weren’t talking. This meat was devine – grilled beautifully with hints of smokiness, a touch of char and a nice amount of fattiness. The rest of the burger did its job and let the meat remain the hero. The chips weren’t in abundance but for 12 bucks I can forgive them. I really enjoyed this one.”
Strange Wolf on Urbanspoon


The Merrywell

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Merrywell – Cr Clarendon Street & Crown Riverside, Southbank, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Merrywell Burger
Serviettes:
6
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
16minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$20 inc. fries
Summary

There might just be a new shiny jewel in Melbourne’s “Crown”. American born Chefs Sam DeMarco (D Man) and Grant MacPherson (G Mac) recently opened the doors of their newest casual dining gastro-pub, “The Merrywell”. Cross diner, cross pub they’re offering some good ol’ fashioned pub favourites plus some re-invented classics. Upstairs you’ll find their swanky restaurant, but downstairs at the burger bar is where the real magic happens. Four meaty burgers occupy the menu along with some wicked sounding sandwiches and sides that you’d probably consider just devouring as one mean main. We approached the counter and ordered their signature Merrywell Burger that came with a soft bun, beef pattie, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, tomato, special sauce, bacon and a side of fries.

Comments
“Probably one of the meatiest burgers going about town at the moment. Such an amazing thick and juicy meat pattie, which I have to say is cooked as close to perfection as you’ll find – char grilled on the outside and beautifully pink on the inside. I thinking I could happily place a cup under the burger to catch the incredible amount of juice and use it on an array of things… on cereal, in coffee, cologne… Ok, maybe just the chips! The melted cheese, smoky bacon, fresh tomatoes and sweet pickles were fantastic too. Although everything in the burger is amazing, I think I would even be happy with just the fluffy bun with that PHAT (that’s right.. P. H. fat) juicy pattie in the middle. Oh, great job on the chips too.”
“This to me, is the absolute definition of a burger: a huge chunk of beef perfectly charred on the outside and perfectly pink on the inside just oozing fat, juice and most importantly flavour. Add to that a generous amount of melted cheese and you have everything you ever need in a burger. It has all the trimmings like bacon, pickle, lettuce, tomato however they all take a back seat in the overall flavour of the burger and just add a bit of texture. This is without a doubt not the most photogenic burger on the scene, and it will leave you looking like an absolute mess, but who cares. If I were to entertain some of our American burger blogger friends in Melbourne, I would take them here and they would feel at home (burger wise). I’d just ask them to turn a blind eye to the bogan tourists at the other tables and the price tag.”
“This is a modern day burger with a good old fashioned greasy factor. The pattie was just what they claim all their burgers to be on their menu: “All burgers served pink and juicy”. The juices will pretty much use up 10 serviettes just when sinking your teeth in the first bite. Be sure to position your chips under the burger to soak up all those beautiful tasty juices. The pickle and special sauce were spot on. The burger did have cheese in it, but I don’t think it needed it; sometimes less is more and I felt that the cheese was just getting lost in the myriad of flavour. Chips were damn fine..”
“It’s been a while since I’ve eaten a burger and thanked a higher power for the greatness before me. The beef was soft but not too delicate and left a coating of glorious fat swimming around my mouth. With every passing meal I constantly ask myself whether I should head down to Merrywell for another amazing burgasm. The juicy, fatty, tasty pattie is so rockstar I don’t even think it needs any of its entourage to back it up. But they were there, and they played a wicked supporting role, allowing the beef to sing to my tastebuds whilst they threw bras and g-strings in its general direction.”
The Merrywell 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


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


Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien – 119 West 56th St,
Midtown West, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
The Works Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$7.50 USD
Summary

After wandering past the the swanky Le Parker Meridien Hotel’s check-in counter, the best place to head is towards a dark curtained wall. There you will find a dim, narrow hallway with a neon-lit burger at the end of it. Usually – as was the case when I arrived – there will be a line of people, all with the same goal in mind, waiting patiently in the shadows. The anticipation to see whats inside the doorway grows with every minute, until finally you can peek in and are transported to an entirely different world. In stark contrast to its most of basics of exteriors, you end up in a joint filled with menus written on cardboard, a collection of retro movie posters and a barrage of pen and texta scribble all over the walls. Getting some Seinfeld Soup Nazi flashbacks are understandable as their (at first) intimidating instructions on how to order threaten having you look like a chump, or worse yet, endure the pain of being sent to the back of the line if you’re too slow. But don’t fret. There are only 2 options of burgers, so if you get it wrong – yeah, you’re a chump. I went with the Works Cheeseburger that came on a humble hamburger bun with a classic beef pattie (cooked medium-rare), cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, sliced pickles, mustard, ketchup and mayo.

Comments
“When I’d heard that this burger was Heston Blumenthal’s favourite burger in the world, well, I had to try it! Admittedly, I got a little lost and ended up walking into the hotel’s restaurant. But they were kind enough to point me in the right direction to where I would find a dark hallway filled with a queue of people. The place inside is amazing. One minute you’re standing outside in a fancy hotel foyer and then you’re in a dingy, graffiti covered diner. This really is my favourite kind of eatery: where they have a very very limited menu but they do it exactly right over and over again. These guys are confident, know what they are doing and if you dont like it then leave. Once my name was yelled out I eagerly ripped open the brown paper bag and saw a big awesome mess of a burger. The charred beef was cooked evenly and complimented the crisp bite of the spanish onions and the sweet pickles. In defiance of all odds, the soft bun did its job and some how managed to keep it all together. Overall, quite a juicy and most delicious mess.”
Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien on Urbanspoon


Pop Burger

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pop Burger – 14 E 58th St, Midtown East, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
Pop Burgers
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$12 USD
Summary

Located in one of the most iconic locations in New York City, opposite the Apple flagship store, FAO Shwartz toy store and adjacent the Plaza hotel and Central Park, Pop Burger offers up 6,000 square feet of designer eating and drinking space split over 3 levels. On the ground level you’ll find the takeout counter and casual seating. Go one level up and there’s the lounge with table service. Then on the 3rd floor is another bar with a pool table. So all-in-all they are catering to practically everyone from holidaying families to the hungry/thirsty after work crowd. They’ve even got the capability to throw up-market large scale events with their very own full-time Event Director. Owner and famed New York restauranteur Roy Liebenthal talks about where the POP burger concept came from saying, “Warhol is my favorite artist. What I liked about him was, he was all about commercial consumption and the ordinary object. It wasn’t only for the intellectual financial elites. That’s what I find exciting about Pop Burger, is creating a product that everybody across cultures—depending on where their finances are – everybody likes Pop Burger.” So I ventured upstairs to the Lounge to see if I would love it as much as he does. I ordered the Pop Burgers that came with lettuce, tomato and American cheese, all on mini brioche buns with a side of onion rings.

Comments
“On a very rainy, wet and miserable day, Pop Burger came to the rescue. To escape the rain and to chill out for a while we decided to head past the Andy Warhol lined downstairs restaurant and venture upstairs to lounge about on one of their large couches. The only thing better than one burger is three burgers. Even though they were mini, they still packed a huge amount of flavour. The beef, being so small, was cooked a little more than I like and was a little charred, but the brioche style bun held it all together perfectly. I’d love to see these guys add a regular sized burger to their menu, as I think, with a bit of tender love throughout the cooking process, it could be simply amazing. The wait staff were also extremely friendly, constantly refilling my coke. And as many of you know, I’m a simple man and free refills are one of my favourite things in the world.”
Pop Burger on Urbanspoon


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