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


Brasserie Les Halles

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Brasserie Les Halles – 411 Park Ave South, Murray Hill,
New York, NY, USA
Burger:
Hamburger Rossini
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
15 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t bother
Price:
$20 USD
Summary

When mentioning Les Halles to most New York foodie folk, the first remark is usually “Isn’t that Bourdain’s restaurant?” Well, sort of. Previously the executive chef, Les Halles now call him their “Chef at Large” as he travels the world writing and filming his hit show “No Reservations”. Its story runs a little deeper than celebrity chefs though; the Brasserie pays homage to its roots in French cuisine, named after “Les Halles” the historic central wholesale marketplace in Paris. As well as providing Manhattanites with “American Beef, French Style” they serve simple and classic French dishes such as escargot, foie gras, steak tartare (prepared to order at table side) and their renowned pommes frites. The Park Avenue location even features a butcher shop that specialises in French cuts of meat. Hoping that with all this hype and “French Style” beef talk they’d have an awesome burger I ordered the Hamburger Rossini that came with char-grilled ground beef (made to order), a slice of house made fois gras terrine melted on top, dip of black truffle and red wine sauce, plus a side of pomme frites.

Comments
“I felt this thing was beef overkill. There were so many strong, gamey flavours going on that they all clashed making each bite so so heavy and filling. The large chunk of beef was cooked well, however I felt it was a little bit too big for the burger. The fois gras and truffle oil were just so unnecessary; it was like they wanted to sound French and extra fancy in an attempt to try and impress the local Americans who were looking for a bit of culture. Having said all this, the chips (pommes frites) were absolutely amazing! Had this burger been in any other city, I’m sure it would of rated higher. But when you’re in a place like New York City and you’re exposed to a myriad of awesome burger options, some even at a quarter of the price, I’d say you’re better off skipping it.” ”
Les Halles Park Avenue on Urbanspoon


Lotus*

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lotus – 22 Challis Ave, Potts Point, New South Wales, Australia
Burger:
The Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$16
Summary

Just past all of the aristocratic elegance of Kings Cross, Sydney, you’ll find the Merivale Group owned Lotus. With a Midas-like touch, they’re responsible for some of Sydney’s most renowned nightclubs, restaurants and hotels. So why should Lotus be any different? Like most of their premium venues, there’s the beautiful decor, low lighting and quite the mean cocktail bar. However, there’s one big difference: the exceptional talents of a chef by the name of Dan Hong. After a few years working the scene in Australia he tore away to the USA, only to return to Lotus in 2008 with some “most-triumphant” tricks up his sleeve. Their Cheeeseburger, as Chef Dan Hong describes, is “bun, meat, onions, sauce, cheese, mayo and pickles – it is a proper burger – no fancy shit”. Dinner/Burger Time starts at 6pm at Lotus; so we arrived at 5:45pm, cooled off with some alcoholic beverages and waited for Awesome to happen.

Comments
“This is like Walter White’s Blue Meth in a bun… sent from the gods! This burger prevails where so many others fail. Although we know how much research went into the meat alone (a mix of chuck, brisket and dry-aged beef fat), simplicity was the key ingredient here. There really is not one thing I’d take out, add or change about this burger. One of the many sexual thoughts I had going through my head after devouring this delight was, “Could I? Could I actually move to Sydney to be closer to my new found love?”
“What I’m about to say really won’t do this burger any justice. So for your sake stop reading this and GO NOW! If you have decided to read on I’ll try and make this quick (because some things in life really don’t need too much explanation). The burger was soft and delicate. The bacon was cooked to perfection, not crisp, but tastefully tender. The pattie was juicy and was filled with sumptuous salty flavours that will blow your mind. The steamed bun was by far the one of the softest buns I have ever had on God’s green earth – I loved it! Our side order of chips + mayo were also great. It’s just such an amazing burger, there’s no chance you’ll be able to stop at one.”
I quit.

Lotus on Urbanspoon

*Like a bazooka in the face, it pains us to say this Lotus is closed for good. FML.


Station Hotel

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Station Hotel – 59 Napier St, Footscray, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Station Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
20 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$18
Summary

Dating back to 1864, this typical Aussie pub is breathing new life thanks to experienced head chef and owner Sean Donovan. With an impressive CV that includes the likes of three Michelin star restaurants like La Tante Claire (London) and Georges Blanc (France), and more recently South Yarra’s famous Botanical, it was safe to say we went into this Adventure with some high expectations. You step into what appears to be a pretty normal looking pub, until you walk into the dining area where you’ll find the heartbeat of the venue. Its the the open kitchen where a team of chefs serve up everything from Onion Soup Gratinee to grass and grain fed Aussie beef, seafood and of course, there are the more traditional pub dishes. We ordered the Station Burger that came out partially deconstructed – a beef pattie, bacon and gruyere cheese all on a brioche bun, then the lettuce, pickles, sun-dried tomatoes and tomato chutney were all “add as you please”, placed neatly on the side.

Comments
“I really like it when the “local pub” puts such an emphasis on the quality of dining and it’s menu. This well thought out burger came out of the kitchen looking great. A well presented burger that had a thick, juicy and near perfectly cooked pattie, just a little pink on the inside. However, I think the bun could do with improvement, as I’m not sure whether it was just too dense and heavy or it was just not as fresh as it could have been. The sun-dried tomatoes were a point of difference; still not sure if a good one though. The side of chutney had a nice sweet tang, but not really sure if it was necessary. The other sides of pickles and lettuce were also quite fresh. All in all, this was a good burger, but it just needed a better bun (and maybe kept a little more simple) to take it up a notch.”
“Compliments to the waitress who let us know that the beef was going to be a little pink on the inside (which was ideal for us). To me this burger came out exactly as it should of: a large slab of expertly cooked, pink and juicy beef, a couple of thick pieces of bacon and a small amount of gruyere cheese, all on a dense bun worthy of containing the juicyness. Really, this in itself was enough. I’m not sure why they bothered putting a really strong tomato chutney, sun-dried tomatoes, lettuce and pickles on the side as they could only take away from and spoil the most important flavours. Overall I thought it was a fantastic burger but don’t bother with the other condiments, just give me fries instead. Ps. I did add the pickle.”
“I love a good modern day take on the traditional Pub Burger. The pattie was tasty; big and juicy. The bun was filling and the herb butter on the bottom bun and on the pattie were a nice touch. The pickles and lettuce on the side were fresh and well prepared. I ended up adding the sun-dried tomatoes to the burger – sure, it was a different take, but I’m not convinced that it worked.”
“This one had such potential. It really looked the business. You could even see the juices slowly oozing out of it! I was a little unsure how to approach it though. I totally understand the theory behind building your own burger and making it the way you want to make it but, I feel like Chef Donovan is in a position to flex his muscles a little and really show his guests the best way to enjoy his creation. I mean, if it tasted better with sundried tomatoes, I wouldn’t even have known it, because for me they’re just added wank. In saying that, the meat really did shine. It was simple, flavourful and awesome. But everything else was just OK. The bun for me was way too sweet. It didn’t taste all that fresh and was alot more doughy than what is necessary when it comes to brioche. If I was ever on that side of town again though, I’d be back for sure, purely for the amazing pattie.”
Station Hotel on Urbanspoon


Little Press & Cellar at The Press Club

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Little Press & Cellar at The Press Club – 72 Flinders Street, Melbourne, Australia
Burger:
Mikro Bifteki
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
5 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$7 EA.
Summary

Little Press & Cellar is the baby brother of celebrity chef George Calombaris’ well-known and established, The Press Club. It maybe smaller and more casual, but it is just as enticing and hospitable, offering Mezethakia (tapas to some, or finger food to others) making it great for the walk-in clientele who might be up for a bite or even a cheeky drink – the perfect spot to escape the rain on a miserable Melbourne day. We tried the Mikro Bifteki – a mini Wagyu burger, patzari (beetroot) and Haloumi (Cypriot cheese). As a little something extra that only the sheikest of the sheik are accustomed to doing, we added a side of chips with Taramosalata (traditional greek caviar and egg paste) for $13.50.

Comments
“This entire day was really unplanned. I had some errands to run in the city and Z decided to tag along. Upon driving in to town we were already trying to decide where we could grab some food. When the meet and greets were over we found ourselves on Flinders St saying “Where to for lunch.” Z had heard that The Press Club has a little cellar kitchen that did a wicked little burger. As I walked into The Little Press & Cellar I was instantly greeted and escorted to the table. We ordered the burgers with the side of chips and Taramosalata. We started with dipping the chips in the Taramosalata and I was pleasantly surprised with its creamy texture, subtle saltiness and hints of garlic that mixed so well with the crispiness of the chips. The burger was literally bite sized and I was left salivating for more. The Wagyu pattie was really fluffy, crumbled nicely and seasoned perfectly. With the slither of melted Haloumi on top, it made for really a nice combination. The beetroot added a nice sweet feature to a salty burger, and worked well. The Bun was perfection. After finishing the first burger we had to get another one and when it arrived I had to try it with some Taramosalata. Due to its subtle flavours, compared to the burgers more dominant flavour, I really couldn’t taste it in the burger. I would recommend people try Taramosalata with what its meant for: chips and bread.”
“First off I should mention that this is the kind of burger you’d eat accompanied by a whole lot of other dishes, otherwise you’d probably end up ordering at least 4. But thats saying something, because you actually would.. they are pretty awesome. Everything in this burger was quality and each ingredient played a significant role. The mini brioche bun was sweet, soft and excellent. The Wagyu beef pattie was luxuriously buttery and packed with parsley – which is rare as they hardly put extras in with it – but it was a nice touch. The most prominent flavour was the Haloumi though. It had a rounded sharpness to it, kind of like a butter knife. Although there were some typically contrasting flavours in there it was still a really simple burger. The caviar dip was interesting but surprisingly tasty, and I’m not even really big on seafood. In fact, I usually say, “If it lives in the sea, let it be.” But it was excellently paired with the chips. This is a cool little place thats offers quality service and ingredients but is still nice and casual. If you’re appetite is leading you on your journey though, be prepared to spend a little more than usual. But thats what you get when you order some of the classiest chips in Melbourne.”
Little Press and Cellar on Urbanspoon


The Palace

Saturday, August 7, 2010
The Palace – 505 City Road (corner Pickles Street), South Melbourne,
Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
17 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$19
Summary

The Palace is celebrity chef and hometown-favourite Luke Mangan’s new gastropub. There are two menus (restaurant and bar). Both are well thought through and will entice you to return and try what you missed out on. Obviously we had to go for the Wagyu burger (on the Bar menu) with beetroot, cheese, tomato chutney and a pot of friess.

Comments
“This was definitely one of those pleasing meals that when you leave there is nothing that you can complain about. A juicy herb and garlic wagyu beef pattie with a perfectly sweet tomato chutney that really paired-up well with the beetroot. A fresh and fluffy bun that really stood up to my high standards.”
“The bun was fantastic. It kept everything together and withstood all the juicyness from the beef and relish. Very warm and comfortable surroundings that seem to be catering to the local empty nesters and RM Williams crowd.”
“A burger that allowed me to forget my worries and just enjoy some of the simple things in life. The beef pattie was great. The ratio of garlic, herbs and moisture in the pattie made it perfection in a bun. The bun was well sized and the ingredients in the burger were well portioned and nothing was really taking over in terms of flavour. A great combination of good fresh ingredients and taste. Chips were Good too.”


Rockpool Bar & Grill

Monday, June 28, 2010
Rockpool Bar & Grill – Crown Complex, Southbank, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
David Blackmore’s Full Blood Wagyu Hamburger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Formal
Sleepiness:
9 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$22 (extra $6 surcharge on Sundays)
Summary

Rockpool Bar & Grill has been serving up great food since it first opened in Melbourne in 2006. Lunchtime at the Rockpool is synonymous with business power lunches whilst, amidst candlelight, dinners are known to be frequented by the “first-date” variety. Based on Chef Neil Perry’s food I’m sure the deal always gets sealed. The emphasis (or mantra) at the Rockpool has always been high quality produce and we experienced this first hand with our David Blackmore’s Full Blood Wagyu Hamburger, comprised of a brioche bun, bacon, onions, gruyere cheese and zuni pickles.

Comments
“A burger that is all about the Wagyu beef pattie. With peppery sauteed onions, lean bacon, cheese and some of the best pickes I’ve had. You also get the option of two well presented pieces of lettuce and tomato on the side. Like all good burger places should, this is the first venue to ask us how we wanted the pattie cooked. Oh and the bun deserves a special mention too!”
“Respect for them asking how we wanted our beef cooked. Medium-rare is their standard and my dining companions got exactly that, however mine was cooked a little longer (I had asked for medium rare) and I had no pool of juice left on the plate. That aside the burger was great. The flavours all worked in perfect harmony. Loved the decor, atmosphere and lighting, which all combined really helped cure my hangover.”
“A really classy burger. It’s probably the only place where people can eat their burgers with a knife and fork and get away with it. Anywhere else and they would look like a wanker. My favourite aspect of the burger was the beef pattie (so far ranking highest for me). The pickle and bun came in second, followed by the bacon and cheese. Hand cut fat chips ($12 extra) were OK.”
“This was a refined and well thought out burger. The beef pattie was outstanding but overall the finely sliced, zesty zuni pickles stole the show for me. An experience not to be forgotten. Go the distance and order a beer and a side of onion rings ($9 per serve).”


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