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


Burger Fuel

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Burger Fuel – 101 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington, New Zealand
Burger:
Third Pounder with Cheese
Serviettes:
0 (thanks to the Doofer)
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$9.60 NZD / $7.55 AUD
Summary

Burger Fuel first opened on Ponsonby Rd in Auckland in 1995. After initially expanding nation-wide they were eventually floated on the NZ stock exchange in 2007 and partnered with a Dubai based investment group. Since opening their first Middle-Eastern store with a 200 seat restaurant in Saudi Arabia, they now boast 37 stores across New Zealand, Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt and Libya. The store is decked out with plenty of stainless steel, fluro lights and an obvious love of hot rods with a really tried and tested kitchen finely tuned to produce a consistent burger using the finest of local ingredients. After much deliberation we opted for the Third Pounder with Cheese that comprises of 1/3 pound of 100% pure NZ grass fed beef, melted cheddar, bread and butter pickles, dijon mustard, relish and the famous fresh natural Burger Fuel aoli.

Comments
“First off, the “Doofer” is the smartest invention ever. As someone with OCD who hates shit on his hands, this is heaven sent. And, this burger definitely needed it because it was extremely saucy. Almost too saucy as the strong flavour of the dijon mustard and sharp pickles pretty much completely overpowered the cheese and only left a little bit of beef flavour. The beef was really evenly cooked; the reason I know this is because I really like checking out kitchens (even though I’ve never actually used mine at home) and found the patties being char grilled on a conveyor belt. On a side note. I’m very impressed, and at the same time perplexed, as to them having a store in Iraq.”
“A couple of days into our camper van trip of NZ and on a route mission to consume as many burger options as possible meant we sometimes would eat burgers a bit earlier than normal. In this case eating a burger at 11am was an eventuality that we often faced. For a morning burger the Third Pounder and Cheese was a winner, but not a filler. I loved the Dijon mayo and the pickles were awesome. The pattie was on the greasy side and did taste OK for franchise beef, but if it was a lunch/dinner meal I could have used some more meat in the mix.”
“One of them “Jermaine from Flight of the Conchords” look-a-likes regularly told me that Burger Fuel is the best burger in NZ and I had to give it a go. Truth be told I didn’t care for these comments. Could a chain hold such an honour? Of course my immediate feelings towards Burger Fuel were tarnished, imagining a Grill’d-like establishment that’d rather ask me about my feelings than how I’d like my burger cooked. Sadly, neither of these things happened. Chowing down into my burger with its soft NZ-style bun gave me an automatic kick of dijon – exactly what I needed at 11am. The bread and butter cucumber were also a treat but where I felt it lacked was in the meat department. Whether it needed to maybe be a 1/2 pounder, or just use fattier beef I’m not sure, but it didn’t really stand out for me. I don’t know if I’d need another one on my next trip to NZ, next time I’m in Iraq though, that I’d give a crack.”


Hoboken*

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hoboken – 3 Hosier Lane, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Hoboken Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$13.50
Summary

Tucked away in arguably Melbourne’s most famous lane way, Hoboken keeps some good company. Not only with all the tourists, artists and vagrants that frequent Hosier Lane, it gets to rub shoulders with (“Oh My GoD! Lets Blog about”) MoVida. Owner Hugh Thorn, of Von Haus fame, has now teamed up with baker Dan Younger, relentlessly working together to create a burger that is produced with products sourced as locally and organically as possible. Grinding the locally sourced meat in house, the team dishes out a limited amount of burgers each day – so be sure to get in and get your share. We managed to slip in one Sunday arvo and order the last burgers of the day. Before us arrived a glazed brioche bun with a thick freshly ground organic Cherry Tree Farm beef pattie, organic cheddar, Momo Fuku pickles, organic condiments, finely diced red onion and lettuce.

Comments
“This was an extremely fresh and flavourful burger. The first thing I noticed was the shiny gloss of the bun and the really chunky piece of beef. Although the beef was quite grey in colour with barely any char on the outside, it was still really tasty and had plenty of juice. Underneath the beef it initially looked like coleslaw however it turned out to be shredded lettuce covered in mayo which, ultimately contributed to the bottom bun almost completely dissolving. The venue is quintessential Melbourne: down a laneway, dudes with beards, water served in jars, eclectic music and to my surprise, really friendly service.”
“These guys – quite unapologetically – have produced a really simple burger. Perfect for a daytime meal with no huge sleepy side effects. For me the whole story is in the beef. Sure there might be other ingredients in it, but every bite into this juicy, delicious beef makes you forget about everything else in your world, like those University loans that never seem to be paid off and for some reason just grow. The bun was as delicate as you would imagine Charlize Theron’s skin would be if she was smothered in butter in the warm Mediterranean Sun. I just wish I had had some fries to boot.”
“The first thing I remember about Hoboken was the glorious smell. Man did the room reek of grilled awesomeness! After my super sexy photo shoot I bit in – the pattie dripped with excellence and the organic cheddar added a lovely creaminess. The bun was cute and sweet like my high school prom date, and did a good job of holding the meat. My only qualm would be the pickles that interrupted the meal every now and then with their acidity. As good as the burger was, it was a shame that the Hoboken cats ran out of fries by the time we got there (2pmish); they would’ve been the perfect sidekick to this smallish dish. But, if you do miss out on fries, don’t stress. A full stomach is only another burger away.”
Hoboken Cafe on Urbanspoon

*Unfortunately all reports are true and Hoboken has closed down. Shame to see a decent burger go to the grave.


Souper Burger

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Souper Burger – 198 Barkly St, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Perry
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$9.50
Summary

If you’ve never seen it before you’d be forgiven. When its not being hidden by the buses that stop right out the front, you might not think much of it if you walked past. From both the exterior and interior it looks as if it has been apart of the scenery for yonks. Truth be told, they’ve only been open for around 5 months and their game, as the name suggests, is soup and burgers. Some years ago, owner and chef Scott had a ripper of a soup recipe going. Thinking, “Why the hell not share it with the world”, he decided to open his first establishment. But, Melbourne being Melbourne, where your day can turn from Merino wool to Budgy Smugglers, he knew a soup kitchen alone wasn’t going to be enough. Harking back to his childhood from a family vacation to Queensland, Scott told us all about one particular burger experience that left him gobsmacked and in love. This passion for burgers sees him at Prahran Market every morning scouting for the freshest, juiciest produce. After many trials it was Gary’s Quality Meats that made the cut. With a bunch of different burgers on the menu (all named after people that helped Scott get Souper Burger up and running) he also offers up a selection of winter warming soups and chilli dogs. Using a mix of Chuck, Short Rib and Brisket, some simple seasoning and a homemade burger press Scott dished us out the Perry (named after the Welder that put the joint together). Along with the beef pattie the burger comes on a toasted buttered bun, with lettuce, caramelised onion, tomato, free range bacon, egg, cheddar cheese plus a choice of sauce (we opted for ketchup and mayo).

Comments
“As the time passed and we waited for a our meals, I had a feeling this one man show would produce the goods and it’d be worth the wait! With the looks of a good old fish’n’chip shop burger, the beef pattie was subtly seasoned and had been cooked nicely. The combo of the egg and the creamy cheese makes for a burger that was really one of the creamiest I can remember having. The caramelised onions were also perfectly cooked and added a nice sweetness. I really have to say this place is going to give a few other joints of similar style a run for their money.”
“Seeing as it was a slow monday night with only other 2 people in the shop who bought soup, I was wondering why it was taking so long. However, then I took my first bite and understood the time and care this guy puts into making his burgers. The beef was slightly thicker than your average fish’n’chip shop pattie, but it was the extras that really stole the show. The creamy melted cheese, the yolky egg, caramelised onions and a bun soaked in butter is what, for me, set this burger above other similar take away burgers. I have a lot of respect for one man shows who are passionate about their food, I just feel sorry for him when he gets busy.”
“For a place that’s only 5 months old this place looks like it has always been part of the neighbourhood. With a St. Kilda like casualness to it and friendly hospitality this place impressed the hell out of me. The nicely seasoned beef pattie was cooked perfectly. The cheddar cheese slice combined with the mayo made each bite a delight. What topped it for me was the caramelised onion – just oozing with sweetness taking the burger up a level. The bun was nicely toasted with no surprises there. The lettuce and tomato were there and did their job, not taking over the burger. Sorry folks, no chips here, but you don’t really need any. If you feel like you need a side I recommend the Chilli Dog for $5.”
“I walked into this not expecting a whole lot. I know, I’m an asshole. But the concept of soup and burgers together took me to a weird place. But once I bit in to the burger, that weird place turned into paradise. It was so creamy! A whole bunch of sweetness ooozed from the caramelised onions, the bacon was delicious, the cheese and egg fantastic, and the small amount of lettuce and tomato stepped back but did their job. Being lightly seasoned, the meat really didn’t have to stand out a whole lot in regards to creating any overpowering flavours. Instead it worked in harmony with its other counterparts to make me smile with every bite. Being one of the most well-balanced, and enjoyable adventures I’ve had in a while, it really shows that the most important ingredient in a burger is love. ***wipes tear***”
Souper Burger on Urbanspoon


Wayside Inn

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wayside Inn – 446 City Rd, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Cheese Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
14 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$18
Summary

If you ever find yourself meandering around the industrial back streets of Port/South Melbourne thinking to yourself “I would love a casual, yet refined dining experience with the option of a bar menu, restaurant and sunny courtyard”… then the Wayside Inn is for you. From the creators of The Station Hotel in Footscray, owner Sean Donovan and Head Chef Matt Merrick offer a new pub dining experience based on the simple concept of well-prepared food using quality ingredients, one of the highlights being the different daily offering of rotisserie available like Venison with figs, Boer Goat and Duck. To wash down your meal there are over 20 beers to choose from and a carefully selected wine list to best match your chosen dish. However, we decided to go for the Cheese burger (available on the all day bar menu). It comes with a thick beef pattie, cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, beetroot relish, all on a brioche bun. On the side you get big hand cut chips that are triple cooked: first boiled, slowly fried and then finally deep fried.

Comments
“I have to say I was really left in two minds about this burger! With the old saying in mind that you “eat with your eyes”, this burger would be at the top of that list. An amazingly thick and juice pattie that was cooked to perfection. Some really great smokey bacon added to this meaty affair. I have to say I do enjoy a good beetroot relish, especially on such a meaty burger – it added the perfect amount of sweetness. Now the few things that kind of let me down! The great bun was definitely cut unevenly; with the base being too thin and I found the cheese a bit too sharp and overpowering. Now for the chips. THEY ARE NOT CHIPS!! It was seriously like eating half a potato with every bite!”
“A very visablly appealing burger; stacked high with a big chunk of beef in full view with cheese running down the sides. The large piece of beef had been minced perfectly leaving plenty of fat and juice in the pattie. The cheese was very strong on its own however, with so much beef it added just the right amount of kick – any other cheese would have been lost. Although not usually a fan of beetroot, the relish under the beef added just enough sweetness necessary. The bacon was cut very thick and tasted great. All-in-all a really good and well thought out burger. In terms of thick cut chips, they’re probably the best I’ve had, but they still don’t compare to a good French Fry.”
“A great juicy, thick (and I mean thick) pattie. The bun was good, but if cut a little bit more evenly in the middle it would have had a better bread distribution and wouldn’t leave the bottom bun a thin, soggy mess. The bacon was nicely smoked and full of that sweet hickory taste, combined with a really sharp cheese to round out each bite full of goodness. I thought I could taste mustard so that warmed my heart and then the relish added another sweet angle to the burger. Chips were a bit too thick for my liking, but cooked well none the less. This burger will definitely be seeing me again.”
“The waterfall of cheese gushing down the side of my pattie struck my taste buds like cupids arrow – it was instant love. The sharp aged cheddar did however, turn out to be a team player. Alone it was strong and let you know who’s boss, but when mixed together with the awesome beef pattie and delicious smokey bacon, it was supportive and nurturing like a MILF. Next time, honestly this is the way I would tackle it though: just beef, bacon and cheese. For such an enjoyable burger its a shame the chips weren’t the moreish salty side snack that I’d hoped for. But thats not enough to stop me from heading back for a lunchtime burger and brew. Big up Sean D and the team for polishing the hell out of this hidden gem.”
Wayside Inn on Urbanspoon


Coin Laundry

Friday, February 24, 2012

Coin Laundry – 61 Armadale St, Armadale, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu Beef Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$18.50
Summary

Located in Armadale: an affluent, normally sleepy pocket of Melbourne, Coin Laundry has become quite the drawcard. If you’ve visited the area before you’d know its mostly residential with the odd antique or craft paper store thrown into the mix. Now (well, since late 2010), thanks to Matt Vero and Steve Rowley, when cool cats think Armadale they think Coin Laundry. They’ve given both locals and the more serious coffee addicts across Melbourne an awesome place to kick back, enjoy a delicious breakfast and the chance to listen to some toffy convo’s about “little Madison’s dance recital”. The menu has its hoity toity moments but with breakfast until 3pm, you know the guys running it are pretty chilled and if you want just a plate of bacon, I’m sure they’d understand. At some point last year, on a gloomy hungover morning, we were pleasantly informed by one of their award winning barista’s that we should definitely give their Wagyu Beef Burger a crack. It took us a couple months, but finally we got down there to order it. On a rustic wooden board out came a toasted brioche bun with a Wagyu beef pattie, beetroot relish, aioli, tomato, lettuce, cheddar cheese and some handcut chips*.
*Since our review the guys have swapped out the handcut chips to french fries with secret seasoning.

Comments
“Never has loitering outside a laundromat and train station ever been so worth the wait. Arriving on a fresh, soft and slightly sweet bun the Coin Laundry burger lives up to the good word that seems to be going around. The Beef pattie was well seasoned and quite juicy. The beetroot relish is great and goes really well with those pickles, adding a nice tangy zing. The hand cut fat chips were good, but still prefer shoestring fries.”
“One of my only pet peeves in life is restaurants and cafes that don’t serve Coke; its the only thing I want to drink with my food. Whether it’s a late breakfast, a burger or high end dining, it is best accompanied by a glass of Coke. OK rant over. This burger was a lot less delicate than I expected: the beetroot worked quite well with the slightly overcooked beef but when it came to the cheese, it overpowered it. The bun was wonderfully fresh, soft and sweet. I’m not a fan of thick cut potatoes pretending to be fancy chips but with the added chutney dip, they weren’t too bad. The wait staff were friendly, considering it was a Sunday and knowing the area well, the demographic of customers can definitely be of the difficult and snobbish variety.”
“If this place still had washing machines and dryers hidden at the back of the cafe, I’d get a lot more serious about my laundry routine. No more recycling smelly shirts and airing them outside my window for a second chance at life before I wash. One drunken outing and straight to the laundry! Having this dream crushed by reality is sad, but something I have to come to terms with in due course. But in the meantime I can only dream. OK, to business – I loved the beetroot relish combined with the shredded pickle, both worked well. The pattie was tasty and juicy. The cheese was good and added that sharpness to the meal. Overall the right amount of greens involved and the bun was soft and sweet. The burger was served with tomato relish, but I don’t think it was needed. Potato wedge-things were good.”
“These guys are setting the standard as far as “Cafe Burgers” go. Fingers crossed, but if most places could look to Coin Laundry as a starting point, no longer would we be dealing with the “Turkishbread4abun” epidemic. Its quite rare for me to enjoy a burger when there’s beetroot involved, so for my plate to be left with nothing but burger sauce and the waitresses phone number, it must mean something good is taking place. The beef pattie was nice and juicy, but maybe a little too light for my liking – the minor downside to Wagyu. Overall a really good burger and now, hearing about french fries being added to it, I’ll be coming back in no time.”
Coin Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon


Gasometer*

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gasometer – 484 Smith St, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Smoked Cheese & Bacon Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
13 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$18
Summary

Located at the edge of Hipsterville you’ll find a barn-like eatery that’s become a favourite for a number of Melbourne social clubs including The Beard & Flannel Co., Fixie’s Unlimited and the infamous Super Nintendo Atari Alliance. All that jazz aside, in late 2010 the once Irish themed pub changed hands and became known as Gasometer – an ode to the former gas works operation that once resided across the road. More recently though they’ve started to establish themselves as a popular live music venue; this coupled with affordable brews and American Diner inspired dishes has this Northside pub packed to the brim on most nights. Their menu caters to both the carnivores and Planeteer’s (vegos) with dishes like Smoked Buffalo Tofu Strips to BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos. It was impossible for us not to order the Smoked Cheese & Bacon Burger that came on a traditional sesame seed bun with a 200g wagyu beef pattie, house smoked cheddar accompanied with lettuce, tomato, topped with crispy bacon and 1000 Island sauce. Oh and in true American fashion, served with a pickle spear and a choice of potato salad or crunchy fries on the side.

Comments
“I really like this burger! It had a nice fatty pattie, but I think if it were cooked for a little less time it could’ve been a lot juicier, most probably taking its greatness up a step. The basic burger bun did the trick but could’ve been a little bit smaller to match the pattie. The burger doesn’t come with any tomato sauce or mustard, as I thought it might because of all the classic Americana inspiration, but the 1000 island turned out to be a decent replacement. Be sure to ask for a bottle of their Mexican chilli sauce when your order arrives – wicked with the mayo and chips.”
“This burger from the outside looked like any other regular burger, and when I ate each ingredient individually nothing stood out. The bacon alone was actually quite horrible – very rubbery and over cooked – however once you take a big bite out of this burger it is absolutely amazing! Everything just worked perfectly together and I can’t explain why, it just does. The chefs who obviously know what they are doing have made it look simple and easy. This was definitely unexpected from a venue filled to the brim with people with tattoos, beards, black rimmed glasses and most conversations starting with “what colour is your fixie?”. Saying all that, I would love to visit again the next time I venture to the other side of the river.”
“There’s something about re-inventing a classic that has a certain romance about it for me. Like taking a Victorian pub with its barn/church like interior and making it hospitable and comfortable to the hipsters (general public), of the Northern Suburbs and letting the beer run, run and run. Add on top an adopted American style cuisine with buffalo wings, chilli dogs and most importantly the Smoked Cheese & Bacon Burger and you have a hit. The burger itself was great: the pattie had a certain rustic element to it, the traditional bun was just that, traditional. The bacon was a bit tough to eat, but still good. The 1000 Island sauce was ok, but I still felt it needed that saltiness that a ketchup or mustard could only provide. The burger was hard to manage with all that sauce on it, but enjoyable nevertheless. Chips were a big standout, fluffy on the inside and super crunchy on the outside with great seasoning.”
“When I saw this my taste buds lept. When a burger comes out in basket you know someone that knows a thing or two about diner culture has had some input with this. I went to pick up the burger and it was piping hot. Whether because it had just been steamed or from resting on its hot bed of wicked chips, I dont know. Either way, when I got stuck into it I was instantly greeted by some delicious beefy flavours that left a nice coating of fat dancing around my mouth. The bacon was ok, but a little too tough and at one point even interrupted my meal. The smokey cheese was splendid and together with the 1000 Island sauce excelled at filling me with delight. I finished it all off by sitting back, munched on my pickle and casually punched a hipster in his bearded face.”
Gasometer on Urbanspoon

*Unfortunately Gasometer has changed their menu from American to Eastern European. Forgive them Burger Gods because they do not know what they do.