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


Parlour Diner

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Parlour Diner – 64 Chapel Street, Windsor, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Parlour Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$12
Summary

That’s right, Melbourne has another American-style Diner. What separates this place from the other dozen Americana eateries around town is the subtleness of the dining area. Even though it gives nod to some old school American diner properties like the long bar, the stools, the table layout and the open style kitchen. It still has that certain unique Melbourne cafe quality to it, whether it be the Asian style pork sliders that appear in the menu or the fine china used in service, it all represents Melbourne’s multicultural casual quirkiness. This of course is all backed by some great, friendly service and coffee aroma that greets you at the door. We chose to smash the Parlour Burger that came with a 8oz Beef pattie, tomato, lettuce, cheese, pickles on a brioche bun.

Comments
“This burger wasn’t exactly what I expected from these guys given the decor, menu and atmosphere of the diner. And, after a little tweaking I was a very happy camper. At most I enjoy a little bit of lettuce to add a bit of crunch and texture in a burger. I don’t actually want to taste all that greenery, so when presented with this much sharp and bitter flavour I promptly removed it. What lied beneath was a thick, juicy, well seasoned beef pattie covered in perfectly melted cheese on a super soft and glistening sesame bun. Just a word of warning, there is a small and sharp skewer hiding, like a tree trunk holding up all those leaves.”
“What I loved and hated about this burger was the imperfection of it. Like the pattie tasting great, but being over cooked. Great choice of bun, but cut unevenly leaving the base really thin. There was too much green stuff, but I loved the pickles. There is a trend here of good things working for this burger, but maybe lacking that extra bit of care that could really make it pop. Loved the curly fries though, no if’s or but’s about that!”
“This is a fresh, tasty summertime burger. Especially when you couple it with some curly fries, onion rings and maybe even a milkshake. Although the pattie was thick and juicy, all that greenery almost made me think I was eating healthy for once. But it only took more two bites for that bull to poke its horns out of the forest and remind me I was eating a meaty and a lovingly fatty hamburger. Between it and the lettuce, I actually missed all the rest of the other ingredients. Whether this was because the burger was super balanced or they were drowned out by the Amazon amount of lettuce I’m note sure. I’d definitely head back with a crew next time I’m around.”
Parlour Diner  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


Bess

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bess – 105 Swan Street, Richmond, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Bess Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$22
Summary

Stepping through Bess’ front doors is like being teleported straight into the heart of Paris. With a classic black and white chequerboard floor, cane seats and, mood lighting that’d make Julia Gillard look like Miranda Kerr, it’ll take a friendly “Hello” to bring you back to Melbourne. Owners Katie Krauss-Mitchell and Brendon Mitchell (formerly of Prahran Gastropub Hotel Max), have breathed new life into this Victorian without killing any of its century old romance. Their French/Belgian/European inspired menu draws from the pages of their own experience living and traveling abroad, offering dishes such as duck breast, spaghetti marinara, suckling pig and jamon croquettes. We of course ordered the Bess burger that came included a brioche bun, a 100% Cape Grim beef pattie, cheese, gherkin, iceberg lettuce, bacon & a side of fries.

Comments
“I like this place, I like this burger – I honestly can’t fault it one bit. The burger came out perfectly presented with the fries served in an unpretentious brown paper bag. There was a nice chunky piece of beef, cooked perfectly containing a tonne of juice and flavour. It had a really sharp slice of cheese over the top (which overpowered the ham but who cares), and a nice slice of pickle underneath it resulting in plenty of taste until the last bite. Bess is a really nice restaurant with really nice, well informed wait staff and, has a delightful ambience. This is why I was surprised at how quiet it was – but it is footy season and I guess there was a game on down the road at the MCG. If I ever asked out a girl from north of the river (and she agreed to be seen in public with me), I would definitely take her here.”
“The Cape Grim beef pattie stole the show in my book. It was beautifully cooked, with a very delicate texture and a nice hint of smokiness. The menu states the burger comes with bacon, but for some reason we received our burgers with thin ham slices. The ham was OK, but I really would like to have experienced the saltiness of the bacon in the burger. I think it would have worked, but to be honest I really didn’t miss it. The gherkins delivered that fresh crunchiness to the burger that I so love. And, I don’t often say this, but I really liked the prep the kitchen did with the Iceberg Lettuce – taking something that is bland and cutting it delicately and mixing it in with the mayo, proving that Iceberg lettuce can be good in a burger (especially when fresh). Fries were good, loved the extra touch they add in serving it in a branded paper bag.”
“This burger came out looking sexy. So sexy in fact that I had it unhooked, unzipped and with its skirt on the floor. By “skirt” I mean the cute paper bag that the chips came housed in. Nice effect, but those babies needed to be free to absorb all of my (burger’s) juices. Now when I say that this thick Tasmanian pattie was cooked to perfection, I really want to stress that word: perfection. Two of my favourite things in the world are pink: one is the centre of a gloriously cooked pattie, the other is my favourite kind of midnight snack. The bun was sweet, tended to tear apart a bit, but still did a good job of keeping everything together. Something else that made me smile was the integration of the shredded lettuce and shredded gherkin. You didn’t know where one began and the other ended, forming like Voltron to become one ingredient. My only “wtf” was the use of a basic ham instead of the anticipated bacon. Did they run out of bacon? Do they not serve bacon on Sundays? Who knows? All I know is that if the Bess Burger was this enjoyable without it, then with it… Wow!”
Bess Richmond on Urbanspoon


Huxtaburger

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Huxtaburger – 106 Smith St, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Huxtaburger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$8
Summary

Buzz word of the month, hipster hangout, bloggers delight… whatever you want to make of it, Huxtaburger is Melbourne’s newest burger joint. The guys behind this welcome addition to the Melbourne Burger Family are responsible for another well-known, and Smith St fav, Huxtable. Where the latter mainly serves a variety of shared dishes, Huxtaburger is all about you. Well, you and and your burger. Chef and owner Daniel Wilson has based the most-part of the menu on the classic TV series “The Cosby Show”, where the different burgers represent the different characters i.e “The Bill” gets a little kooky and adventurous by adding pineapple and beetroot, whereas “The Rudy” is smaller and aimed at kids. If you were born in the 90’s, chances are these names will mean nothing to you so just smile politely and start Google-ing. The setup also has quite the classic inspiration behind it; with black, white and stainless steel as the primary colours, Huxtaburger tries to create a classic USA diner experience right in the heart of Collingwood. Wading through a sea of people, we were lucky enough to score some seats by the counter, and so we each ordered their signature Huxtaburger that comes on a glazed brioche bun with a Moondarra Wagyu beef pattie, mustard, mayo, ketchup, tomato, cheese, lettuce and pickles. Oh, and we couldn’t go past a serve of crinkle cut chips for an extra $2.50.

Comments
“Huxtaburger puts together a simple yet flavourful burger that seems to be attracting quite the crowd. Their signature Huxtaburger has one of the best buns going around, with some of the fluffiest and sweetest textures I’ve tasted. The beef pattie was perfectly cooked, but lacked a bit of seasoning and the good amount of fat that you hope will ooze out. I always love a burger that has pickles and mustard, but sometimes when their both in a burger together, there can be a thing as too much tangy sweetness. All-in-all though, it’s a pretty decent, well-balanced burger.”
“Luckily just after ordering we managed to get a seat at the bench which made the wait a little more bearable. Love the setup and the size of the menu; a very limited selection that means they have all of their time and energy to focus on just burgers. The actual Huxtaburger is one of the most visibly appealing burgers out there at the moment and that bun must the be lightest, fluffiest and sweetest bun I’ve ever had. I was even surprised as to how well it held all the ingredients together and didn’t dissolve. The beef was cooked well but there didn’t seem to be much fat and wasnt juicy at all. The cheese was melted perfectly over the top of the pattie, and parts of the slice oozed down and touched the hot plate which, is one of the best tastes on earth. The mustard was a little too strong for me – I think I’d rather have had more of the flavour of the pickle come through instead. Next time I’d love to try the double burger with the bacon to experience a bolder, beefier flavour to balance out the strength of the mustard and pickle.”
“We’re always getting recommendations for burger joints people would like us to visit. Most of them have eaten the burger and can give us the intricate details. But when you have a long-time vegetarian recommending a place that only makes beef burgers (not having tried the burger, but nevertheless tempted), you know this place is doing something right. Readers be warned this place is busy and you might have to wait a while, but credit to the staff for working their butts off. When it comes out the burger looks delicious. The croissant-like bun is by far the star of the show, slightly greasy on the outside and soft to hold, this bun is sweet as hell and could just be served on it’s own for breakfast. The pattie is ok; not a lot of seasoning and thin in size, but it does the job. The tang from the mustard and pickles can take over the burger, but I really don’t mind it – any burger with mustard earns my respect. Overall it’s not a fatty burger and is definitely a burger I can eat twice a week for lunch. One burger is sufficient, but I would recommend going for a double pattie. Chips were ok.”
“I could go on about the amazing bun, the delicious cheese, the not so juicy beef pattie or even the hipsteriffic clientelle. But I won’t. All I’ll say is, eating this burger is a bit like finally going out with the hottest girl in school, only to find out she’s a devout Christian and all you’ll get at the end of the date is a handshake and God’s blessing. When I go back, I’ll be sealing the deal by ordering an extra pattie, some bacon and extra cheese. Nice burger: if you’re into that sort of thing.”
Huxtaburger on Urbanspoon


Caboose Canteen

Friday, December 16, 2011

Caboose Canteen – 4 City Square, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Caboose Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$26
Summary

Smack bang in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD with the erratic foot traffic of Swanston St at its door, you’ll find Caboose Canteen. Living next door (for added protection one thinks) to its sister eateries Three Below and La Vita Buono, it differentiates and prides itself on being a place for local CBD workers to enjoy a hearty meal during/after their daily grind. After a few tweets and photos sent our way we thought we ought to get the inside scoop on the Caboose Burger before their no.1 fans, the Occupy Melbourne protesters, took it mainstream. Before us sat a familiar looking Caboose Burger that came on a toasted sesame brioche bun with chopped wagyu steak, tomato relish, barbecue sauce, lettuce and a side of fries.

Comments
“I’ll get it out of the way, but damn it was cold inside this place. It wasn’t even that cold an evening. Anyhow, the meat pattie seemed to be cooked really well and tended to remind me more of a classic meatball than anything else. There was a nice bit of spice throughout the meat that I’d have to put down to paprika or diced chilli. Seeing more and more of this style of brioche bun popping up in restaurants lately means that it must be a hit. For me it worked a treat – it was tasty and most important of all held everything together for some nice consistent bites. ”
“An immediate but really nice kick of spice to this burger, with a chilli paste on the top bun and then with some mixed through the beef. But to me this is where the creativity and uniqueness ends: it had the same brioche bun that many kitchens are using at the moment, it had good size beef pattie but it was cooked a little too long and the lettuce and tomato eventually turned to mush resulting in a loss of flavour drowning out the spiciness. Being served in a saucepan (not a warm one or anything) instead of a plate is a bit of a wank to me, and I dont think it justifies the price tag as it doest compete with similar priced burgers in the immediate vicinity.”
“A simple burger that in my opinion works well as an inner-city lunch time burger. It had a well flavoured wagyu pattie made up of a good blend of high-quality meat and spices. The brioche bun delivered that beloved sweetness that I love. The relish was well balanced with sweet and spice combined with the barbeque sauce to add some smokiness to each bite. Not too much green worked for me; just a simple leaf and a thin slice of tomato that didn’t effect my meal at all. Chips were good, but did need some salt.”
“At first I thought it was a crazy case of deja vu. “Didn’t we already eat this at Newmarket Hotel?”, I kept thinking as I was shooting the familiar looking burger. Putting that aside I delved in and discovered that this leans to the class of a “Burger Remix” – a modern take on a classic burger. And it wasn’t an abrupt remix that created substantial waves in its burger soul. The chopped wagyu pattie was peppery, hinted at chorizo and was pretty darn good. My bun did a “C+” job of keeping things together though, because by the end of the meal I was left with a bunch of it sitting on my plate. Overall it was good, but I’ve got this incredible gripe with the guys for not going out on a limb and creating a burger thats more unique to Caboose Canteen. Newmarket virtually already do the same burger and honestly, on the occasions we’ve visited, its been a juicier, more tender and more fitting burger. They are, for one, a So-Cal Mexican restaurant, so it makes perfect sense for them to serve such a burger. Don’t get me wrong, the burger was good, but for Caboose to use it perplexed me a bit. I’d say go back to the drawing board, look at what your brand represents and create something for yourselves. Chances are it could be awesome.”
Caboose 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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