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
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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
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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
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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 Spotted Mallard

Friday, June 28, 2013
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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


Tyranny of Distance

Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_TyrannyOfDistance

Tyranny of Distance – 147 Union St, Windsor, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Tyranny Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$15.50
Summary

Opposite the iconic Melbourne Bowls Club, Tyranny of Distance has slotted in perfectly and looks as if it’s slowly evolved over time from a humble shed with louvre windows. The eclectic interior was created and directed by local jewellery designer and goldsmith Marcos Davidson, with a giant gas bottle lamp being commissioned and featuring prominantly in the centre of the indoor/outdoor dining area (where you can smoke to your heart’s content). Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day with a generous happy hour each afternoon, Tyranny really caters to everyone from post exercise breakfasts to pre drinks at night with an emphasis on tapas style dishes. The Tyranny Burger is made with a house made beef pattie, bacon, smoked cheese, lettuce, mayo and served with crispy potatoes and smoked paprika aoili.

Comments
“This place has really grown on me. After frequenting several times and falling in love with the paella, I had some trepidation on how much attention they would give to a burger. However, I’ve come to realise they’ve given serious thought to each dish which combined with fresh ingredients, makes for really good food. The first thing I noticed was the super crispy rashes of bacon hanging out that added a great salty crunch when paired with the large, juicy beef pattie. The smoked cheese along with the paprika aoili added depth and enhanced the beef and bacon flavours while the crusty roll did its job and held everything together.”
“The Tyranny burger had a lovely tasting pattie with a pretty good bun. My contribution to take this burger up a notch was adding the provided side of chutney and mayo – the combo really worked out for my taste buds. The bacon was beautifully cooked to a crisp and tasted mighty fine. What really enticed me to smash into the burger though was the melted cheese that sat on top of the pattie. Overall a great and easy dining experience that I would definitely want to re-live some time soon.”
“It was a relief not to be served a brioche bun for a change. Week in week out it’s been the same of late. A trend that McDonalds will surely be next to jump onto. So I was chilling out max, relaxing all cool… when all of a sudden I saw the burger come out of the kitchen. It was oh so seductive. In other words, it was yelling “Eat Me!” as loud as it could. Whenever there’s a pool of cheese I’m ready for a dip. Biting in and my first thought was that the bacon reminded me of breakfast, which is not necessarily a bad thing as it’s one of my favourite meals of the day. I liked the pattie too – it was simple, beefy and to me, high quality. All in all, these guys make a decent burger that’s easily shared with your French friends who like to have a cigarette with their meal.”
Tyranny of Distance on Urbanspoon


Father’s Office

Thursday, May 23, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_FathersOffice

Father’s Office – 249 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Man Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
21 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$22
Summary

If you’re reading this thinking California’s famous Father’s Office has opened up a faction in Australia, think again. Call it clever marketing or flattering imitation, it got us curious enough to check it out. Up some dark stairs along Little Lonsdale St and you’ll find yourself in a large bar draped head-to-toe in wood and 1920′s inspired paraphernalia. Serial entrepreneurs Stewart Koziora and Anna Carosa took over for Match Bar in 2012 and went on to create a space that caters to all walks of life. Whether it’s after work drinks, weekend comfort food or functions they’ve got it covered. On a weekend a decent drinks menu will keep you liquored up until 3am or if you’re more the civilised type and food is your vice then there’s plenty to choose from. An extensive Americana inspired menu will have you “Ooing and Ahhing” over Kansas City Baby Back Ribs, Philly Steak Sandwiches and Warm Apple, Pear & Blueberry Pie. We couldn’t look past the Man Burger though. It came with a brioche bun smothered in Dijon mustard, topped with a 200gm grass fed Queensland yearling MSA certified black angus pattie, 2 pieces of Swiss cheese, a layer of beer battered fries, 2 more pieces of Swiss cheese, a fried egg, a full rasher of bacon and chipotle mayo.

Comments
“It would’nt suprise me if whoever thought up of this burger was drunk, or if a large percentage of customers who consume this burger are also drunk. I’m sure it felt like a good idea at the time but its complete overkill and unnecessary. It’s a shame as each individual flavour was nice, but you don’t need 4 slices of cheese, aswell as a creamy gooey egg, aswell as mayo and mustard, aswell as a layer of chips to overpower and kill any flavour from the beef or bacon. So unless you have masculinity issues, are extremeley drunk or like feeling sick after a meal, I’d go ahead and order something else from the menu.”
“I’d read about this burger and had been a little bit impressed. I mean 4 slices of Swiss Cheese! That’s a party. I was pretty blown away when it came out. It was oozing with cheese as expected and I started to dread the extra KMs I’d have to run to burn this sucker off. Biting in was a bit of a challenge, purely because it was so dense. But immediatley all that mustard hit me. It was good! But that was only my first bite. After a while the burger became a bit of a chore and a boring one at that. I’ll give it points for consistency but all the flavours stayed on the same side of the spectrum. What this burger was missing was sweetness to cut through the heaviness. I’d replace the chips with either onion rings or caramelised onions. Screw it, just ketchup would have done fine. The menu says the beef is decent quality, but it didn’t hit me with too much flavour. On that day I didn’t have the stomach to finish this thing. But I still stick by Yokohama accomplishment if you want to challenge my eating prowess.”
Father's Office Speakeasy Bar and Restaurant on Urbanspoon