The Woods Bar & Kitchen*

Friday, November 8, 2013
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The Woods – 108 Chapel Street, Windsor, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Gippsland Beef Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
14 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$19
Summary

Since 2011 this place has been known as The Woods of Windsor and has had a reputation on Chapel St for its whisky menu and knowledgeable bartending staff. In recent months they’ve tweaked their agenda slightly, untucked their shirts and gone a little more casual. They’re still producing great food to compliment the smoky/woody characteristics of whisky (you can’t argue that meatballs and burgers don’t go with whisky), but they now call themselves The Woods Bar & Kitchen. Co-owned by the same people that brought you Yellowbird just down the road, these whisky and music connoisseurs know when a good thing is working. As if we needed an excuse to go to a bar we sat down and ordered some drinks and the Gippsland Beef Burger that came with a BLT garnish, tomato relish, tasty cheese and hand cut fries.

Comments
“This thing came out all piping hot, fat and juicy and I may have forgotten to breath while inhaling it in record time. The beef was cooked right; enabling just enough time to form a nice char on each side while remaining a perfect colour of pink on the inside and whilst trapping in all the great juice. Atop the crumbly beef was a nicely contrasting salty rasher of bacon hidden under a pile of tasty cheese. The lettuce and tomato gave it a great crunch and the big fluffy bun did its best to keep everything under control. Lovely venue, great atmosphere, ideal for first/tinder dates as there is plenty of drinks to choose from and it’s very dark and everyone looks good under candlelight.”
“With no trace of superficialness that I’m normally accustomed to seeing in most Chapel Street bars/restaurants, I instantly fell in love with this place. It possessed a real sense of casualness with great table service and friendly staff. The burger had one of the most beautifully cooked, smokey patties I’ve had this year, combined with great melted cheese coverage and some tasty creamy mayo. What brought the whole burger together for me though was how simple it tasted, with no particular dominant flavours and how easy it was to bite into. The hand cut fries were good too. Would I go back? Been there twice already.”
“Boy did this have a decent kick of pepper to it. A burger this smokey and peppery would be a beautiful accompaniment to almost any alcoholic drink I could think off. It was a well crafted, beautifully balanced burger. The ingredients all complemented one another perfectly – so I thought I’d dissect them to see if there were any leaks on what appeared to be a pretty tight ship. After biting into a little bit of cheese here, a little bit beef there and picking at some pickle I realised they were all just as great individually as they were when working together. If I had to pick a favourite child here it’d be the cheese, with a beef a close second. The cheddar was salty, full bodied and tasted like gold for some apparent reason – all around awesome.”
The Woods Bar & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

*Why oh why? These guys have changed their name to The Woods, and with it they’ve changed the menu. NO MORE BURGER!!! The horror!


Brooklyn Burgers & Wings

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_BrooklynBurger_Warsaw

Brooklyn Burgers & Wings – ul. Nowy Świat 36, Warsaw, Poland
Burger:
Brooklyn BBQ
Serviettes:
8
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
17 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
26PLN/$9 AUD
Summary

New York has Times Square, Gold Coast has Cavill Avenue and Warsaw has Nowy Swiat. It’s the place you’ll most likely end up as a tourist roaming the streets of Poland’s capital. No one would dare call it trashy because of it’s rich history that dates back to the late 1600′s, but it is the place to find tourists ready to spend. This means you’re rather spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to grab a bite, a beer or a babe. Lucky for the burger inclined folk Brooklyn Burgers and Wings provides them all (except babes, you’ll have to try and sweet talk the waitresses for that). Run by ex-pat American Alan Bohinski, BB&W serves up their signature recipes until the wee hours on a weekend and proudly notes that their patties are all minced on site and that their sauces are all Alan’s secret concoctions. After ordering at the bar I took a seat out front, watched the tourists and Polaks walk by and waited for my Brooklyn BBQ burger to arrive. It was served on a sesame seed bun with a 200g beef pattie, BBQ sauce, sweet-n-spicy grilled onions, crispy bacon, Mimolette cheese, lettuce, mayo and a side of coleslaw.

Comments
“First off, I didn’t really pay attention to the burger arriving because I was too busy thinking about proposing to my Polish waitress. After that foolishness left me I was again taken aback when I saw these two hand-shaped plastic bags sitting on my wooden plate. I figured this was one saucy experience, but what was wrong with a good old fashioned hose down afterwards? My first bite left me looking like Heath Ledger from Batman: I had Brooklyn/Texas BBQ sauce everywhere. Most of the time places flood a burger with condiments like they’re trying to hide something. But after a few bites and wiping my chin I realize realised these guys weren’t. The pattie was chunky, chopped coarse and cooked with a little bit of pink in the middle for that extra bit of softness. The bacon, onions and sauce were all a real pleasure too, giving me sweet, salty and spicy flavours with every bite. Even though I was covered head to toe in sauce and I didn’t really understand how this had anything to do with Brooklyn, this whole experience was brilliant.”


Exchange Hotel

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
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Exchange Hotel – 39 Bay St, Port Melbourne, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Exchange Beef Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
5 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$22.90
Summary

With lots of room for activities and beautiful taps pouring lushes golden ale, the locals of Port Melbourne have been visiting The Exchange Hotel since 1916. With a classic formal dining area and a barn-like wooden ceiling that contains that sweet roast smell from the kitchen, this place will surely entice you for a Sunday sesh. As we always do, we went for the burger: the Exchange Beef Burger came with bacon, cheddar, caramelised onions, tomato, iceberg lettuce, pickled beetroot, garlic mayo and triple cooked house cut wedges.

Comments
“When paying more than $20 for a burger, one would expect the little things to be done right. Which is why I was a little shocked when after waiting over 40 minutes (in a half empty dining room) to find that the bacon had barely been cooked, and the cheese was cold, therefore unmelted. This ultimately resulted in the burger tasting more like a parma, minus the chicken of course. It was presented all pretend-fancy with the chopping board, the useless knife in the burger, and 6 measly, cold wedges… even after apparently being ‘triple cooked’.”
“Looking at the calibre of the food that our neighbouring tables were receiving and, smelling the great aroma of a Sunday roast filling the dining room, I was left surprisingly disappointed with the end product. I felt the presentation and texture of the burger let it down. Things like: the meat pattie being really compressed and feeling like I was eating a sausage, the cheese looking a bit stale or the cloud of doubt surrounding what was meant to be triple cooked wedges. The bacon and mayo were OK, but not great. All these negatives really tampered with what could have been a great burger to match the great service.”
“It’s freezing cold on a Sunday night and all you’re hoping for is a warm hearty meal (OK, maybe more). Whilst taking a seat in the church/barn-like dining room, I really believed I’d be getting one. It took a while to come out but I don’t know why because they weren’t busy. The pattie did very little for me and tasted a lot like supermarket sausage. The onions were my highlight; popping up with some sweetness every now and then. The burger was very balanced but it feels like it’s not the pride and joy of their menu.”
Exchange Hotel on Urbanspoon


Empress Hotel

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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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
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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