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


Charlie & Co.

Thursday, March 8, 2012
Charlie & Co. – Lvl 5, Westfield Sydney, Cnr Market & Castlereagh St, Sydney, Australia
Burger:
The Wagyu & Co. Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$18 Eat in
Summary

Two things we’ve learnt about chefs over the last couple of years: 1, they’re insane and 2, it seems like every one of them wants their own tiny takeaway joint. Totally understandable of course. Chances are most of us will remember being a kid and delving into a box of fastfood quicker than you can say “Copernicus”. Everyone one from Bobby Flay to Neil Perry, even Marky Mark, is putting their passion for burgers into practice. Justin North is no exception. Coming up through the Sydney scene in the early Naughties with restaurants like Bécasse, then later on with Etch, La Grand Cafe and Quarter 21, Justin’s infamy didn’t catch our attention until we dropped past Plan B back in early 2010. His wagyu burger there was a lunchtime hit, but since shutting up shop after big brother restaurant Bécasse moved to the new 1.2 Billion dollar Westfield Shopping Centre, he needed a new outlet for his burger love. To North, it was evident that good burgers were in demand and so in late 2010, paying homage to supposedly the first bloke in America to start making hamburgers, Charlie & Co was born. Looking around at the sleek, elegant and chic eatery, everything that you wouldn’t expect from a burger joint in a shopping centre food court, we were delivered two of their well-known Wagyu & Co. Burgers. In between a Bécasse Bakery sesame seed bun lay a Wagyu pattie with beetroot relish, pickled gherkin, lettuce, aged cheddar and aioli.

Comments
“I have long been an advocate of getting rid of food court shops because it’s always shit and come 2am the next day when you are hugging the toilet bowl, you really hate yourself. Like the other shopping centre eateries we’ve chosen to review, Charlie and Co. is anything but average. Its Wagyu Burger is a very neat little burger with each bite being well-balanced and delivering a different punch of flavour each time. It did need some sauce though, just for that additional saltiness that I like in my burgers. The pattie wasn’t overly thick but was still juicy – not so juicy as to stain your G-STAR jeans you would have bought from a department store 5 minutes before, but still decent drip. The bun was a nice little gem too, not too doughy, but nice and soft. Chips were good – slightly on the cold side though.”
“I went into this adventure with some big expectations. We’d had a whole lot of emails about this burger and so when it was time to take the jet up to Sydney, I knew we had to check it out. Accompanied with a big smile and some great service, this thing came out looking like a superstar. What impressed me most was the pure and simple thought process behind it. As opposed to what a proctologist might tell you, pickles, beetroot, mayo, beef and buns are a great idea! The burger’s biggest downfall though was the lack of salt. Because you’re dealing with Wagyu its beefiness doesn’t come through like with Angus, so to compensate I had to add a squirt of ketchup for the extra flavour kick. Overall for me, it was OK; but maybe a little too much hype and coin surrounding this one. If I was in the area on our next Sydney trip, I guess I’d go back to see how their Angus burgers measure up. Plus also, it’s not everyday I get to ride an escalator.”
Charlie & Co Burgers on Urbanspoon


Shake Shack

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shack Shack – Madison Square Park, 11 Madison Ave, Gramercy/Flatiron, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
Shake Shack Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Weather dependent – anything from board shorts to ski masks
Sleepiness:
4 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$4.50 USD
Summary

Shake Shack opened its windows in Madison Square Park in 2004 and immediately became a neighborhood fixture, with locals, tourists and everyone inbetween gathering to enjoy some classic American dishes like burgers, hot dogs and milk shakes. The brain child of restauranteur Danny Meyer of the Union Square Hospitality Group, has now grown to seven locations in New York City with further Shacks in upstate New York, Washington DC, Connecticut, Miami and now in Kuwait and Dubai in the Middle East. The Shake Shack burger uses 100% all natural Angus beef, grounded fresh daily and cooked medium. It’s served up nice and simple with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, a pickle and “Shack Sauce”.

Comments
“After hearing all of the hype over the last few years, I was wondering if the 45 minute wait to order, and further 15 minute wait for the burger to arrive was worth it. But then, I took my first bite. This burger is as good as its reputation – I could not fault this burger one bit and I can’t even begin to explain why it is just SO good. It’s quite a small burger with what tastes like the freshest of ingredients, on a bun that is very, very soft. The beef is perfectly cooked and seasoned, and combined with the American cheese and Shake Shack sauce makes for one of the creamiest burgers I’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring. However, before too long after I’d finished consuming my delicious burger, I instantly started regretting not ordering the Double. So the very next day I took my place in line for another 45 minutes and made my “Double Dream” come true.”
Shake Shack (Madison Square Park) 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


Back to the Burger

Monday, January 30, 2012

Before we can uncover the all important Top 10 for 2011, we needed to get back to our original Top 10 from 2010, and see if the burgers measure up and are still worthy of being labeled “The Best of the Best”. There were a lot of twists and turns throughout the journey, with some burgers stepping up to a whole new plain whilst others slipped into a ridiculous hole that some say is haunted. What does this all mean? Well, rumours have it that the coveted Top 10 2011 is mere days away from being unveiled. So, gents, hide your boners. Ladies, wipe away that wet patch from underneath your chin, because the Top 10 2011 is coming (soon).

10. ANDREWS HAMBURGERS – 144 BRIDPORT ST, ALBERT PARK

“Still juicy, still messy, and still a Melbourne institute. Eating at Andrew’s is like
having your Mum cook your favourite meal; you know exactly what your going to get, you know it’ll be made with love and you know it’s going to be great.”

9. THE MILLSWYN – 131-133 DOMAIN RD, SOUTH YARRA

“The bun and pattie, its two hero items have changed for the worse. Yes the burger still tastes great, but the ratios here are out of whack. Bring back the love.”

8. CAFE VUE – 401 ST KILDA RD, MELBOURNE

“Although the pattie could’ve been a little juicier, it’s still a great lunchtime burger that continues to be just as delicious. Shame on them for changing the chips though.”

7. ROCKPOOL BAR & GRILL – CROWN COMPLEX, SOUTHBANK

“It’s hard to believe but seriously, this burger has gotten even better.
I mean look at that sexy piece of meat!”

6. THE LOCAL TAPHOUSE – 184 CARLISLE STREET, ST KILDA EAST

“Not any drastic changes to this baby; it still has a subtle creaminess to it that really compliments the beer marinated beef pattie. Still good but not as juicy as last time.”

5. BARNEY ALLEN’S – 14 FITZROY ST, ST KILDA

“It really is remarkable at how they can get that super thick pattie cooked to perfection. Together with the surprisingly awesome combo of beetroot and onion jam, this is the best thing to happen to St.Kilda since Tony Lockett.”

4. DANNY’S BURGERS – 360 ST GEORGES RD, FITZROY NORTH

“If its 2am (or any hour of the day for that matter) and you NEED a burger,
this is where you should be going. They haven’t changed in decades,
and that’s just how we like it – awesome.”

3. THE AMBEROOM AT ROYCE HOTEL – 379 ST KILDA RD, MELBOURNE

“These guys have changed their menu for an “in-and-out” sort of lunchtime crowd and the burger has copped the brunt of it all. The bun was over toasted, the pattie was OK at best and the rest of the ingredients have declined in quality: the biggest disappointment of 2011.”

2. COLLINS KITCHEN AT GRAND HYATT – 123 COLLINS ST, MELBOURNE

“A little surprised that they decided to add cheese because it really doesn’t need it. Just like 2010, we’d be happy to eat this burger with just bun and pattie: still great.”

1. BEATBOX KITCHEN – INNER/NORTHERN MELBOURNE

“Hail to King Raph, because this is just as incredible as ever.
We’ll be honest and say we’ve been back here on more than
one occasion over 2011. Its hard not to when you’re in love.”



Five Guys Burgers & Fries

Friday, January 27, 2012
Five Guys Burgers & Fries – 1715 Post Oak Boulevard,
Houston, Texas, USA
Burger:
Cheeseburger with Bacon
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
7 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$6.79 USD
Summary

Established by a couple of guys (I can only assume it may have been….five?) in the Washington DC area in the 80s, Five Guys quickly grew in popularity, resulting in their eventual franchising in the early ‘thousands. In a mere 10 years, they’ve managed to franchise more than 900 locations. So you know homeboys have to be doing something right. As if they weren’t already popular enough, President Obama famously stopped in and bought his staff a round of burgers while the TV cameras were rolling, no doubt the presidential seal of approval has helped. Regular burgers at Five Guys are always doubles, so you need to make sure you order the “little” versions if you’re not feeling famished. I had the Bacon Cheeseburger with lettuce, pickles and mustard. Five Guys also don’t charge for additional toppings, so next time I may add the grilled onions

Comments
“This right here is In-N-Out’s strongest contender for “Multi-location Takeaway Burger Joint” glory. Yes, it’s ‘plasticised’ processed cheese, but it just melts so gloriously over the juicy beef patties. The bacon is always crisped perfectly, and the bun is perfectly sweet and soft, not interrupting the chi of the burger at all. Fries are served in cups – super crispy, but don’t make the mistake of choosing the Cajun seasoning – it’s too intense and it competes with the umami flavours of the burger. I would also like to award bonus points for their mobile app, I fully intend to order and run in to pick up my burger in my pyjamas one of these days…”

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Prime Burger

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Prime Burger – 5 East 51st St, Midtown East, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
5 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$6.25 USD
Summary

Prime Burger was established in 1938, and judging by the decor they might’ve renovated it once, maybe sometime in the 50’s or 60’s and haven’t touched it since. The average age of the waiters would easily be about 50, all looking dapper in their white jackets and bow ties, which, considering nothing on the menu is over $10 shows the respect they have for their jobs. You have the option to either sit at the large laminated bar or the unique and original swinging desk seats – I opted for the seat and ordered the Cheeseburger. These guys serve a traditional sesame seed bun with only two extra ingredients: a chopped in-house beef pattie and oozing American cheese.

Comments
“This is without a doubt one of the best burger, no scrap that, dining experiences I’ve had in a long time. It was an instant transportation to a different era; a much simpler time of the traditional American diner, smack bang in the middle of Midtown Manhattan of all places. The decor hasnt changed in decades and i think that applies to the waiters aswell. I love a place that has career waiters who have spent decades in the restaurant, taking real pride in what they serve and the service they provide. Now the burger was not much to look at it; it was just cheese, beef and a bun! So to say, “I was amazingly surprised at how much flavour it packed”, is an understatement. The beef, chopped in-house, was cooked a consistant medium-rare, and was fantastic. The classic American cheese left me wanting to order another 5, and the lightly steamed bun made it one of the softest and tastiest burgers I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.”
Prime Burger on Urbanspoon


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