The Beaufort

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Beaufort – 421 Rathdowne Street, Carlton, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Out-N-Out Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
16 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$10.50
Summary

The brainchild of one of Melbourne’s bartending veterans, Dave Kerr opened the doors of the now much loved Beaufort with a handfull of other Melbourne misfits almost 6 months ago. Turning a bit of an obsession into reality, Kerr’s nautical themed dive bar come American diner delivers well-mixed classic drinks as well as a few quirky house specials. Their menu is blatant Americana, providing Carlton locals with mouthwatering treats like buffalo wings, deep fried pickles and pulled pork sandwiches. Amid a sea of cool cats (and one dude that looks like he’d been drinking there since the 70’s) we ordered their Out-N-Out Burger that came with a beef pattie, cheese, tomato, onion, ketchup and mustard all on a soft sesame seed bun.

Comments
“From the moment this burger arrives on your table in a classic American diner style basket with a pickle served on the side, you know these guys have put some thought into it. Although, once we ordered and received our burger we were informed that the bun they had used wasn’t the usual due to a sellout night the day before. Not that this proved any problem for me, as I loved that they lightly toasted the bottom sections to help hold the juices in and what seemed liked the top was steamed keeping it piping hot and soft. A nice thick and juicy pattie stood out as the star with little else to fight with in this burger. I have to say I really liked this burger, but still feel it needed something else to make it amazing.”
“I’m not exactly sure how they achieved it, but this burger remained piping hot from first to last bite. The classic sesame seed bun was ideal, with just enough burnt toast marks to add some texture and structure while the rest was soft and fluffy. The thick juicy pattie was perfectly matched with the sharp tang of the ketchup and mustard sitting underneath it, creating a classic, no thrills and good value burger. I was really pleased to see that the old drunk guy talking to himself at the end of the bar was still made to feel welcome and didn’t mind that an American dive bar had been built around him.”
“A great tasting pattie that was generously on the thick side, so it didn’t leave me hungry. Having diced onions in the burger was a welcome change and really worked to dull down the acidic onion flavour that can sometimes dominate the palette. The bun was soft and I loved the toasty flavour it got off the grill. But what really impressed me was that it was served with both tomato sauce and mustard in it – winning!”
“I wasn’t completely sold on this burger. And this wasn’t for a lack of trying on my behalf. I really did want to like it because upon first inspection it looked the goods. The hero pattie was great. It was nice and coarse and really let you know you were getting a decent amount of beef. I actually hardly noticed the other ingredients because of it. But, the burger lacked something. I was enjoying the onion rings. So, I even tried putting put them in my burger to give it a hand. But the burger felt dry and without any stickiness of oil or fat it made me reach over to the complimentary spicy sauces and add a bunch in. After some contemplation I figured a whole egg mayo would’ve added a nice fatty creaminess and taken it up a notch. Then maybe if the pickles were inside the burger instead of on the side we’d have a real contender.”
The Beaufort on Urbanspoon


Bar Ampere

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bar Ampere – 16 Russell Place, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Bifteck a L’Hambourgeoise
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$20
Summary

If you’re looking for this joint, some people might say, “Google it”. But if you’re a Melbournian who loves a decent drink, then it’d be easy enough to just mention that it’s next door to Gin Palace. You’ll be even more tempted once we mention that Bar Ampere is brought to you by the same cat that owns Gin Palace, Madame Brussels and Collins Quarter. That cat is Vernon Chalker and with Bar Ampere he pays tribute to the futurism movement which swept through Paris and Italy at the turn of the 20th century. With Béton brut (raw concrete) wall to wall, light globes hanging from an army of mannequins hands and a back bar built from wine bottles, can all make dining at Bar Ampere feel like entering an art exhibit. But when the extremely friendly staff welcome you, you can untuck your shirt, relax a bit and think with your stomach. The menu again takes a little bit of French and adds a lot of modern Melbourne. With only splades to assist you, you might find yourself ordering anything from a ham and cheese toasty to a syringe filled with mash potatoes (yes we’re serious). On a cool Sunday evening we ordered a round of home made Ginger Beer and Bar Ampere’s Beef Burger (Bifteck a L’Hambourgeoise) that boasted two beef patties, a buttermilk bun, Swiss Gruyère, carrot & grain mustard wombok slaw and is finished with a side of cornichons & tomato chutney.

Comments
“It gets me a little bit excited knowing that you can come to a place like this to feast on a great burger up until 3am. Arriving on your table classically wrapped in wax paper lets you know these guys have put in the effort to create something special. The first thing you do when ordering is ask yourself two patties or the one? Of course we opted for two! The patties are beautifully cooked; nice and grilled on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. A heavy seasoning gives the patties a peppery finish that you won’t forget. It also somehow reminded me of meatloaf… and thankfully not the singer. The finely shredded coleslaw adds a cooling tang to the burger. The fluffy buttermilk bun was amazing, although the bottom started to get a bit soggy by the end. I really have to say I missed a good side of chips with this burger and, from how great this burger is, I’m thinking they could have been great too.”
“I’m not sure if it’s been scientifically proven, but there seems to be a direct correlation between a burger wrapped in wax paper and deliciousness. Inside I discovered a perfectly structured double-beef pattie and bun. A new ingredient I don’t think I had experienced in a burger before was the very thinly cut coleslaw that added a real tangy bite to it – similar to what you get from a pickle. It was perfectly balanced out by the spicyness of the mustard and worked really well together. The beef could of been a little bit more pink but still had great flavour and the soft bun soaked up all the juices perfectly without completely dissolving.”
“I loved the pepperiness of the pattie. It was also juicy, meaty and cooked just right. You are given an option of going for a single or a double pattie; Friends go for the double, it is that good, without it being overly filling. The coleslaw was used sparingly in the burger which I think was a good thing as it cools your palette down and neutralises that pepperiness from the pattie, but not too much to bore your tastebuds with a mouthful of coleslaw. The bun was beautiful; so soft and delicate. This burger does not come with chips which, was a bit of a shame, as I reckon they would have been the icing on the cake.”
“The zillion dollar fast-food food industry has been doing it forever, so it’s about time those cool-cat-burger-bars caught on. The difference is, when ordering a McWhopper you know exactly what you’re getting. But in this instance, the burger’s gift wrapping amplified the Adventure ten-fold, unaware of what your mouth is about to experience. Punch me for saying this, but I honestly wasn’t sure the double was the right choice. But once I bit in I cursed myself for ever doubting the decision. The best part was that the burger put the beef on a pedestal and let the other ingredients adore it without causing a frenzy. This is probably due to the fact that the chutney is left on the side so you can add it as you go without totally devastating the bun. Although it did get a little soggy at the bottom, it still held the ingredients together like a vice forged by a medieval blacksmith named Benedict. The only things I would do differently with this burger would be the addition of some mayo to enhance the creaminess and add some fries or onion rings as a side.”
Jus Burgers (South Yarra) on Urbanspoon


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


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


Stokehouse (Downstairs)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Stokehouse (Downstairs) – 30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda,
Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Chargrilled Beef Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$21
Summary

Situated on Melbourne’s famous St Kilda Beach, Stokehouse has been an iconic dining institution in Melbourne for over 20 years. Upstairs you have the ever-booked-out formal dining restaurant with panaromic sea views. Then downstairs is the more relaxed Bar & Grill that’s open every day from midday to midnight. Ideal all year round; an open fire to keep you warm in winter and outdoor seating to watch the colourful world pass you by in the summer. The menu offers plenty of items to share as well as serving pizzas, pastas, steak and of course our order, the Chargrilled Beef Burger. In between a sweet American style bun we discovered a 300 day grain fed beef pattie (minced on site), caramelised onion, melted Hiedi raclette cheese, lettuce, tomato, Paprika aioli & tomato relish. This is all accompanied by a serving of crinkle cut fries.

Comments
“I really have to say this is the closest thing to a “Mexican Burger”. It was just full of flavours that could have just as easily been wrapped in a taco. Not to say this is a bad thing, as the beef pattie was juicy and full of great flavour. The paprika aioli and sweet tomato relish perfectly balanced out the burger and gave it a nice spicy/sweet finish. But if you threw some guacamole in there and grabbed a cerveza, you could be a little bit closer to a Mexican holiday.”
“The first thing that I noticed about this burger was how much it smelt like taco mince. Then to confirm my curiosity it ended up, with certain bites, tasting like taco mince. The sweetness of the relish really balanced out the peppery seasoning of the beautifully cooked beef. The bun started off perfectly and added a whole other level of sweetness to the burger. But after a bit it just disintegrated and the remaining ingredients fell out the bottom. Oh, and I really liked the taps in the bathrooms.”
“What I loved most about this burger was the bun. Yeah sure, I suppose the beef pattie was good too, packed with all sorts of different flavours and spices like cumin and peppery paprika. But what sticks out in my memory is that bun, the sweetness and its almost, “gentleness” was… perfection. I feel like the aioli wasn’t really needed – not that it was too saucy – but I would’ve preferred simple ketchup. The chips were ok.”
“This burger was a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. What I mean is, if you’re going to go all bold, meaty and traditional with your burger – sure lets get messy. But when you’re presenting something a little fancy, with more exotic flavours, then lets keep it together. Not saying I want to eat it with a knife and fork or anything, but let me eat every single part of this new experience without losing most of it to “slide”. Flavourwise, the almost Mexicana take on it just threw me off. Not that it wasn’t a tasty burger, but you’d just have to be in a particular mood for it.”


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