Gramercy Bistro

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gramercy Bistro – 162 Commercial Rd, Prahran, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Gramercy Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
13 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$20.50
Summary

It’s fair to say that when a place takes on a name like “Gramercy Bistro” you’re more than likely to think of all that is cool about Manhattan. Go on and add one of Melbourne’s trendiest hotels in the Cullen (a part of the Art Series Hotels) and big expectations loom. Paying homage to some of NYC’s greatest hotels, owner Adam Faigan and Head Chef Rodd Blutman and his team have put together a menu that injects a little bit of Melbourne into many go-to New York dishes like Reuben sandwiches, Steak frites, Buttermilk Pancakes of course, the humble hamburger. Catering for every kind of diner also extends to the layout: a casual deli/cafe approach towards the front, cocktails and cigars in the inside-outside area, or the relaxed, but a touch more formal, dining space near the back of the restaurant. On a sun filled Sunday we sat smack-bang in the middle and ordered their signature Gramercy Burger that comes with a Brioche bun, Wagyu beef pattie, bacon, onions, pickles, melted cheddar, tomato, relish, mustard and a side of shoestring fries.

Comments
“Some really nice presentation here with crispy salty fries served in an unpretentious cardboard box and the burger topped with a pickle. The highlight for me was the perfectly melted, super smooth, creamy and gooey cheddar cheese that ultimately enveloped the beef and married the bacon. The bun was super soft and sweet, which worked really well with the creaminess of the cheese and the contrasting tang of the mustard. The beef pattie was the right size and cooked just right, however it lacked a whole lot of flavour. I would of loved the bacon to be a bit crispier to add a bit of crunch to a burger that overall lacked a variety of texture.”
“We’re not off to a good start when I say the standouts in this burger were the bun, bacon and cheese. The pattie was a bit bland but, supported by all these awesome tasting side ingredients, as well as the tangyness of the mustard, really made up for it. Due to the pattie tasting a bit processed and run of the mill, more sauce had to be added. The fries weren’t great and to add insult to injury my Coke was a bit flat. However bonus points for the lime wedge.”
“Mouth agape I thought, “Wow, what a work of art – a sexy, classy work of art.” But then I caught eye of the weird multicoloured beef. I thought the worst, expecting a multitude of unnecessary herbs and spices to choke the beef’s potential. To my surprise, when I bit in a wave of enjoyment ran up and down my tastebud valleys. The highlight ingredients for me were the cheese, the bacon and maybe even the pattie. The not too overpowering mustard was masterfully added but the relish was a smidge too jammy and sugary. It was actually good! But then like most relationships, it kind of got boring. Not to say that this is a bad burger at all. But it didnt leave me wanting more, not out of hunger, but pure allure.”
Gramercy Bistro on Urbanspoon


Chapel Bar & Bistro

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chapel Bar & Bistro – 147 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand
Burger:
Chapel Beef Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
9 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$19.50 NZD / $15.45 AUD
Summary

Known as “the Local” along Auckland’s trendy Ponsonby Rd, the Chapel is everything you want it to be, when you want it to be. With dim-mood lighting and a roaring fireplace, its the perfect destination to take that special lady friend or, grab some mates and order some of their famous pizzas, have a drink or two and flirt with the waitresses. Their staff in fact are one of the key factors in Chapel’s success. They say that they’re “carefully selected for their knowledge, personality and willingness to go the extra mile.” We in-fact experienced this first hand when we ran into some of the staff that night on a drunken Auckland dance floor. On a rainy NZ day we took our seat outside under the cover of their terrace and ordered the Chapel Burger which came on a soft NZ style bun (becoming a trend now) with caramelised onion, grilled bacon, cheddar cheese, house smoked tomato relish, pickles on the side & hand cut chips.

Comments
“There was a reason no one else was sitting outside; it was about 6 degrees out there and inside it was warm and cosy with music playing. But majority rules and I lost so we sat outside. Research has proven one of the cures to freezing your tits off is a nice burger so luckily this burger eased some of the pain. The beef was packed full of herbs and was highly processed. It reminded me of the kind of beef pattie you get from the supermarket in a BBQ pack actually. Although not the best quality, for some reason if you burn the crap out of it and leave some char, it really tastes ok. The char mixed with the caremalised onions gave a really great combo of sweetness and pepper notes, whilst the thick bacon against the soft bun softened the overall texture. Finally common sense prevailed and we moved inside to start drinking.”
“The burger was cooked evenly and the right amount of seasoning and herbs. The chutney was awesome, but did make the burger very peppery and as a result made every bite taste pretty similar. The onions were sweet and caramelized to perfection. I enjoyed the bacon in the burger but the rocket leaves weren’t doing it any real favours. The hand cut chips really pissed me off and made me hate myself for ordering them because they were too thick and too painful to eat. After the meal I realised that thin fries were an option and I would definitely recommend adding that in your meal combo.”
“This being my 2nd NZ burger, it was interesting to see that they both used pretty much the same sort of buns (claiming these as NZ Burger Buns from now on). As the last place, it was soft as burger buns get. Once you bite into the pattie you definietly notice a bit of spice. Then looking at your burger you saw the multicoloured levels of herbs that are used throughout the mince. My burger wasn’t evenly cooked which was dissapointing: the edges were much more pink than the centre. But I did really enjoy the bacon mixed with smokey chutney. Yes I’ll complain about the chips as well, purely for the fact that “if something ain’t broke don’t fix it” – french fries would’ve done nicely. Overall the burger was good, but I felt like the pattie got a bit lazy and left all of the other ingredients do most of the leg work.”


Brother Burger and The Marvellous Brew

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Brother Burger and The Marvellous Brew – Side of 413 Brunswick St,
Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Lot
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
9 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$17
Summary

A diner like feel blended with the low lit cool-school-NYC restaurant/bar makes the Brother Burger and The Marvellous Brew one of the smartest new joints going around. Not even a month old and already getting a reputation around Melbourne, we had to hit it and see what it was all about. Greeting you upon entry is what feels like a never ending bar/communal table that invites you to sit and partake in a meal with the locals. Mostly, it’s a cool place to sit back, have a bite and a drink, and who knows you might even catch the gaze of the the chef and sweet-talk the man helping you create your own monster burger (we do not actually recommended this as most chefs will stab you for bastardising their pride and joys). So, with a good combination of burgers and other delectable bar foods you will definitely find something to satisfy that salt-tooth of yours. After some deliberation we went for The Lot that came on a sesame seed bun with a beef pattie, bacon, cheese, pineapple, lettuce, pickles, onion, mayo and “sauce”.

Comments
“The first emotion I felt was confusion, as when we arrived the front of the place was actually closed. Then I felt joy and recalled fond memories as I saw a neon sign that looked very similar to a very famous burger sign in New York City. Finally I felt visually impaired, as it was so dark in there I couldnt see shit. I’ve tried very hard to try and like pineapple in a burger as it pops up on a lot of menus around Australia. But still no luck, as I just dont like it. Its just too sweet and too overpowering flavour wise. After a few bites i tossed it and focused on the proper ingredients. The bun was super soft and tasted great however, did nothing to keep everything together and made a huge mess. The beef was a good thickness and was cooked well. There was perfectly melted cheese and the crispy bacon tasted great but only after the pineapple was removed.”
“For me the place didn’t really scream “we do burgers” (apart from the neon sign). It was more like a “bring your girlfriend and spend some cash” kind of place. Sure, there was still the diner feel to it, but it really did look quite sophisticated. I was never convinced we were going to get burgers from this kitchen and expected to be served a duck l’orange worth $45. Though when you open the menu you instantly notice that its all about burgers and a good blend of Australian bar food. The Lot does come with pineapple, which I’m not a huge fan of, but it is needed as I found the burger did lack some flavour, which pineapple help compensate for. I found the pattie a bit bland and the bun and fries were OK. The small plates the burgers are served on really annoyed me. Personal peev I know, but the plates are too small and you need a little bit more dish diameter to cover off spillage from the burger. On a side note I did find the Ginger Ale a bit weak and watered down, but hey it happens.”
“It’s not often you eat a burger and the pineapple is the highlight. But that’s only because the rest of this burger was kind of boring; disappointing when you’re forking out $17. I’ll give the meat credit for being supremely beefy but it needed to be salted and spiced a bit more. I enjoyed the pickle which was was nicely spiced and I wanted a whole lote more from the egg – more creaminess and more ooze. This thing didn’t commit a lot of serious crimes against the burger community, but most of the ingredients just didn’t turn up to the party like the pineapple did. Saying all that I’d still probably give that spicy burger on their menu a go.”
Brother Burger and The Marvellous Brew on Urbanspoon


Burger Joint @ Drugstore Espresso

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Burger Joint @ Drugstore Espresso – 194 Toorak Road,
South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Classic Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
13 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$14
Summary

Drugstore Espresso originally started out catering to Melbourne’s first love/obsession/addiction, coffee. Full of confidence, Shaun Nielsen (formerly of Steer Bar & Grill) closed its doors and began a full renovation. Chipping away at the mould of a traditional cafe, he gave birth to a monster establishment; proud coffee kings with Drugstore Espresso by day, but then it’s burgers and beers with Burger Joint by night. Obviously not one to play by the rules, he offers various burgers with options including Rangers Valley Angus beef, Jerk chicken, John Dory fish and 12 hour cooked lamb shoulder. One look at the drinks menu and you would be convinced you’re in an American Diner with a range of classic American beers like Budweiser, Brooklyn Lager and Samuel Adams aswell as 6 alcoholic milkshake flavours. We grabbed a seat upstairs at the large communal table and ordered the Classic that comes with a Moondarra Tajima Wagyu Beef pattie that’s minced in-house and served pink. Then there’s the thick bacon, lettuce, tomato, a fried egg, ranch dressing and a side of hand-cut chips and pickles.

Comments
“So once again I didn’t read the warning signs and completely destroyed this burger before even taking a bite. If there’s a skewer in the burger, do not take it out. Hopefully one day I will learn my lesson, but I highly doubt it. After several attempts reconstructing my mess I sort of managed to eat it like a civilised human being. The beef was extremely crumbly and completely broke apart into several pieces, which was a shame, because it had a great taste to it. In stark contrast – texture wise – it was the thickest, smokiest, chewiest piece of bacon I’ve ever eaten. I would have loved it if it was a bit thinner and possible to actually bite through. The egg and ranch sauce added enough creaminess to justify not having any cheese. The chips were crispy, salty and amazing.”
“Drugstore Espresso seem to have established a really relaxed and friendly feel. The beers, shakes and food options dabble to a degree of a US diner experience. This place did set a new record for me though: the pattie falling apart even before I took a bite. Burgers are not meant to be a tidy and a clean affair and this week’s burger adventure certainly wasn’t classified as a formal occasion. But, having your pattie split into 3 pieces whilst going for a bite can certainly skew your opinion on the food. But for me I can’t say I minded it that much as the end product was still good. The ranch dressing with the burger was a good mix and did add some high notes to each bite. The chips were ok, but what made it for me was the milkshakes – go on, give them a go!”
“Ok, You can tell there was good intention here. It’s pretty obvious when you start to catch the enthusiasm from the staff. But, unless blowjobs and Rolexs are involved the staff can hardly save a burger if it’s below par. What I had delivered to me was an almost Frankenstein of burgers. It was as if someone said, “Hey, burgers are popular. Brioche is trending. Oh, so is Wagyu Beef. Fat Cut chips? I hear they’re the shiznit”… and then just went for it. Ok, maybe not, but that’s how it came across as I ate. Watching in horror as the other dudes burgers disintegrated in their hands like sandcastles in a tsunami left me was hoping the same fate wasn’t waiting for me. My burger wasnt as bad but still fell apart pretty quick. Saying all this, all of the elements on their own were quite fresh and tasty, but together it made for an all-around awkward experience. Although I was quite relaxed after a few alcohilc milkshakes.”
Drugstore Espresso 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


Red Mullet Fishcaf

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Red Mullet Fishcaf – 210 Glenferrie Rd, Malvern, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Lot
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
20 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$17.50 inc. chips
Summary

Formerly owned by Essendon FC captain and current coach James Hird, Red Mullet is a great alternative if your wanting to sit down and enjoy your classic fish’n'chip meal with a glass of red. As expected Red Mullet offers a large range of seafood, but they even go as far as tackling the less traditional fish’n'chip shop meals like paella and a variety of curries. You’ll also be able to purchase pre-marinated fish that those wanabe Masterchef’s can take home and cook for themselves. When it comes to hamburgers there are a bunch to choose from, with two fish, a veggie and of course the classic Lot Burger. We went in with an appetite and chose the Lot Burger consisting of a beef pattie, egg, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion.

Comments
“I’ve got to say this is a really appealing burger to look at – all stacked neatly with just enough of a view of each ingredient poking out. For me, the standout for this burger though was the bun. It was really dense, tasty and kept everything together. The beef was a good size and had been cooked well. And, with the egg, bacon and cheese on top, it could do no wrong.”
“I’ve got this belief in life that when you go to a specialty seafood restaurant/Fish’ n’ Chippery, and request a burger, your chances of a good burger are automatically reduced to 50/50. So how was this experience (or adventure)? Well, I would say pleasant. The pattie was nothing special, but was cooked well and did taste OK. The bun reminded me of memory foam. I say that because you would find your finger indentation staying there once pressed into the bun, no bounce back at all! I found that the burger did need some sauce, but overall it was a good filling meal and the chips were ok too. Next time I would try the calamari.”
“This burger was neither here nor there. I really didn’t think much of it. The bun was nice and so were most of the condiments. But really it was a forgettable meal. For a burger packed with a whole lot of ingredients it really was “meh”. But at the same time, it didn’t exactly kick me in the nuts. ”
Red Mullet Fishcaf on Urbanspoon


Tramway Hotel

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tramway Hotel – 165 Rae Street, North Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Tramway Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
9 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$16
Summary

The Tramway Hotel has been on our radar for some time now – even before The Age named it as one of their favourite burgers Victoria has to offer for 2012. But as some of you may know, we don’t always see eye to eye on what The Age considers almighty hamburger greatness. So off to a cosy corner of North Fitzroy we went. The Tramway offers pretty much everything you’d want from your local pub: friendly staff, comfy interior, good choice of beers and an eclectic (but not over the top) dining menu. Perusing the menu you’ll notice a decent portion is taken up by their “Fresh Burger Bar” consisting of 6 different “burger” options catering to both vegetarians and humans. We decided upon their signature Tramway Burger that sits on a Le Madre Bakery Ciabatta burger bun with a Char-grilled ground beef pattie topped with bacon, Swiss cheese, BBQ sauce, tomato relish, aioli, Spanish onion, tomato, and cos lettuce. Our burger also came with chunky hand cut chips with rosemary and bay salt, cooked in cholesterol free cottonseed oil.

Comments
“I’m not really sure how to describe the difference between a juicy burger and a wet burger. But, all I know is this burger was wet. The beef pattie confused the hell out of me – it was seasoned well with herbs, was well cooked through but had no char on it at all and for some reason the cheese didn’t stick to the pattie, instead latching on to the piece of bacon. The bun was great and did its job of containing all the moisture of the burger right through to the end. The home style chips were really good and the venue has a pretty chilled atmosphere.”
“This has been a long time coming for me. There has been a lot of buzz about this burger amongst friends, family and of course, our audience. Now it was my turn to finally decide. It had a generous, thick, great single herb tasting beef pattie, and the Swiss cheese melted nicely combining well with the aioli. Even though I’m not an avid fan of aioli in burgers, I do have to say this aioli was light, non-greasy and had a delicateness about it. Although the bun was tasty, I didn’t think it suited a burger… more of a breakfast roll. The chips were beautifully fluffy on the inside and had a rustic crunch on the out.”
“At first I thought, “Oh here we go, its the fancy bun hour”. Usually when I get into that frame of mind it’s when people try a little too hard with their hamburger and stray from the fact that the meat should be the hero. Saying that though, even with so many ingredients in there, this burger still remained ridiculously balanced. With every mouthful it was hard to determine where the bun started and pattie ended. But maybe a little too balanced – like I said, the meat should still be the standout hero. For 16 bucks with gourmet chips, it wasn’t bad. I think this rather herbie burger is way over hyped though, but I can see how it floats some people’s boats. What I mean is, imagine if Grill’d opened a pub: this would be their signature burger.”
Tramway Hotel on Urbanspoon