Joe’s Bar & Dining Hall

Friday, October 12, 2012

Joe’s Bar & Dining Hall – 64-66 Acland St, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Spicy Beef Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$18
Summary

For more than nearly 30 years Greasy Joe’s has been one of Melbourne’s most iconic establishments, serving up it’s signature burgers and amazingly huge breakfasts. So when this Acland St icon came up for sale, Rob Gringlas jumped at the opportunity to reinvent it into something that still holds some original charm. After returning home following a stint in the UK, Gringlas wanted to bring the best of what he saw around the world to St Kilda. Losing the “Greasy” and reopening as Joe’s Bar & Dining Hall, they have undergone a huge transformation with a hip new fit-out, a casual yet refined menu and a drinks list of great cocktails, local beers and Australian wines. Paying homage to its past life, the menu still includes burgers and sliders as well as other dishes like roast pumpkin and marscapone risotto plus a decent selection of steaks. We however, went straight to the burger section of the menu and ordered their Spicy beef burger that comes with a 100% Galloway beef pattie, jalapenos, onions, double cheese, lettuce, tomato sauce, cayenne and chipotle mayo.

Comments
“I really liked the new fitout and the new menu; its a lot more grown up and appropriate for the area. The burger was really well presented, however it came open and I like my burger already stacked because I’m not very confident with putting it together without making a giant mess. Also, because I’m pretty tough and love my spicy food, I added more of the spicy sauce they offered us. There was just the right amount of jalapenos in the burger adding enough kick with each bite but not too many that you start sweating profusely. I’m not sure the double cheese was necessary but I guess it added a creaminess to match the spice. The beef was nice but the flavour didn’t really come through when competing with the other ingredients.”
“Nothing but standouts the entire way for me with this burger. The soft traditional bun was exceptional and the pattie was tasty, big and obviously prepared by someone who loves their meat. What also worked for me was the chargrilled taste that lurked on the back of the palate along with the double grilled cheese which, is always going to win points in my book. The jalapenos with red onion added that fresh crunch to each bite and was a great way to break-up the dominating flavour of the beef. Overall, both the burger and the chips were great.”
“By now you should all know I have a little bit of an obsession with chipotle. So when I find a burger with chipotle mayonnaise you know I’m going to get a little excited. Because of our last rather bland experience under the venue’s previous guise I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high. But this burger was great. The pattie was soft and ground coarsely to give it a nice crumble with every bite. The red onion really shone and played nice next to the jalapenos. As far as the chipotle mayo goes it was ok, but I was hoping it could’ve been even smokier and spicier. Overall a really decent burger. I’d almost say best I’ve had in St Kilda for a while.”
Joe's Bar and Dining Hall on Urbanspoon


The White Lady

Friday, October 5, 2012

The White Lady – Corner Commerce Street & Fort Street,
Auckland, New Zealand
Burger:
Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
7 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$9.50 NZD / $7.60 AUD
Summary

In this day and age it’s not often you come across an establishment that’s been dishing out burgers for over 60 years. What’s even more surprising is that the joint is located in little downtown Auckland. This long white bus/trailer, converted diner on-wheels, is in many ways the original food truck (check it out). With the same family at the helm since 1948, the White Lady has become famous for their late night/very early morning hangover preventions/cures. Currently open Monday to Thursday from 730pm to 3am and 24 hours from Friday to Sunday, there’s no wonder so many locals vouch for its greasy healing properties. Weathered and in need of a fresh lick of paint doesn’t deter a soul though. The charm and elegance that the White Lady delivers has taken it to the #1 spot of “What to do in New Zealand” by Lonely Planet. Not being avid readers of the publication, we actually stumbled upon the neon clad bus early one morning and cursed our NZ buddies who forgot to mention this institution to us. We ordered and vowed to come back the next day to experience the burger with clear heads. We took our turn in a busy lunch time line and ordered the Cheeseburger that came on a traditional burger bun with a 100% New Zealand beef pattie, grilled onions, tomato, lettuce, cheese and tomato sauce.

Comments
“I am an absolute sucker for nostalgia and when I found out this place was founded in 1948 and had barely changed since, the thought of having the same burger experience as someone over half a century ago made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. As expected there was nothing fancy or pretentious about this burger. However what did surprise me (as I don’t think I’d ever had it before), was that the cheese was melted to the top of the lightly toasted bun instead of over the beef. The beef was perfectly seasoned but it was the grilled onions that added the greatest flavour and texture. Having first tried this burger drunk at 3am it was reassurring that it tasted just as good second time around, sober and during the day.”
“This burger was made for eating whilst standing – nicely wrapped and compact. The cheese was melted onto the bun like butter on hot toast. There’s not not much else that needs to be said about this burger. The pattie was thin and very tasty. The sweet caramelised onions perfectly capped off the burger and made it a complete meal. In my opinion no chips were needed. Next time in NZ I will definitely be going back!”
“When you’re on an epic Burger Adventure like we are and you come across a piece of history like this, it almost brings a tear to your eye. Whether it was 3am or 3pm the service was impeccable and burgers were delivered with a smile. The small-ish burger is easy to manage and does a great job of holding all of the fresh ingredients together. The dominant flavour for me was the sweetness from the onions and, when paired with a creamy cheese and salty meat pattie almost made for a perfect diner style burger. This is the place to come to in New Zealand, whether you’re after a burger or just want to soak up a piece of history.”


Velvet Burger

Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Velvet Burger – 18 Fort Street, Auckland, New Zealand
Burger:
Hottie
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$9.90 NZD / $7.70 AUD
Summary

Velvet Burger first opened its doors in Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island back in 2006. Since then they’ve gone onto open another location in Auckland followed by yet another second offering in Dunedin. Being very proud of their New Zealand heritage, they have signed their own treaty that promises to provide the best gourmet burger experience, which involves beer, being open really late and then providing comfort from your hangover (pretty much suits us perfectly). They also offer a menu that includes nearly every animal option to sit on a burger like beef, lamb, venison, fish or chicken. With D & Z super keen to begin their NZ Burger Adventure, they got on some extra early flights and headed straight for Velvet Burger. Looking at the menu for approximately 23 seconds it was pretty obvious that they’d opt for the Hottie. It came out on a soft burger bun with beef, grilled mango, chilli mayonnaise, Velvet relish, lettuce, cucumber, tomato and red onion.

Comments
“I have to admit that when it first came out it didn’t look that appealing; a fairly non-descript bun blocking much of the view of the ingredients. It was only when I picked it up did I realise how soft and perfect this bun was for the sweet, spicy and creamy goodness that lay inside. The beef was cooked delightfully but the real star of the show was the combination of the sweetness of the juicy mango matched in contrast to the spicyness of the chilli mayo. Of course I had trepidation about a burger that had fruit in it as it could’ve gone horribly wrong… however these guys got it very right. This, plus surroundings of exposed brick, a large timber bar, South American uni students and plasmas with the sport channel playing made for quite the enjoyable experience.”
“My first burger in New Zealand and I was eager to see what our southern neighbours could come up with. Alas, it came out pretty flat and I already started to feel a smidge disappointed. But then as D removed the top bun to inspect his burger, a rush of wonder began to take over my tastebuds. Because that’s when I saw all that juicy, colourful mango begging to be consumed. “What the hell is this going to taste like!”, I thought. Then as I took my first bite it struck me; I knew exactly why they call this place Velvet Burger. It was so soft you could skydive into the burger and probably survive*. With every bite I’d taste the lingering sweetness of the mango, the soft bun and the decent chilli kick. Then the beef came in every now and then to remind you why you’re not a vegetarian. The other thing I loved about the mango was that it acted as three ingredients in one. The creaminess that it created meant you didn’t need to add cheese, egg or mayo! This was also one of the first times I’d eaten cucumbers in a store-bought-burger; and I welcome them. They’re a fresh take on a pickle that work especially well with the summer theme of the Hottie. A really interesting take on a burger that I by all means would order again.”


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.


Strange Wolf

Friday, July 6, 2012

Strange Wolf – Strachan Lane, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wolf Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
9 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$12 inc. fries
Summary

Apart from a few unmentionables, there aren’t many combos better than “Burgers & Beer”. If you’re walking down Exhibition St your gaze might just be distracted with this very scribble. You see, like everything Melbourne these days, the cool cats behind this magnificent offering ask you to go down a laneway and then head down some stairs. You’ll pass the neon Strange Wolf sign and walk into a world of pot plants, concrete pillars, a weird sort-of alcove where dining occurs and of course, the bar. The guys at Strange Wolf have kept their menus pretty simple – in a great way. Offering a bunch of burgers and a decent drinks list that’s not “scary complicated” keeps things moving and really embodies “quality over quantity”. We sidled up to the bar and ordered ourselves their signature Wolf Burger that comes with grilled beef, caramelized onion, pickles, melted mozzarella, roma tomato and iceberg lettuce. On the side they dish up a fun-sized cone of fries and a shot-glass full of ketchup.

Comments
“These guys are definitely doing something right. You really get bang for your buck with this burger. A great sized pattie that’s perfectly char grilled on the outside and pink, juicy and full of flavour on the inside. I do have to say there is something that does remind me of a sort of gourmet Whopper, but don’t mistake this for a bad thing or something they were aiming for. A classic bun holds in the sweet crunchy pickles, gooey melted cheese and sliced tomato. All accompanied with a creamy dressing that gives the perfect finish. A small but delicious amount of french fries was the perfect side. I did kind of wish they had something to offer for dessert though.”
“The best way to describe this burger is to compare it to a Whopper made with love, care and attention. The beef was cooked with just enough char on the outside but still retained a lot of its juiciness and flavour. It had a really rustic, smashed up texture to it allowing the cheese to melt into every little crevice perfectly. Luckily the gigantic slices of pickle were quite mild as anything stronger would of been way too over powering. Now I’ve been known to be quite fond of a nightclub or two an,d am obviously very fond of burgers. However, I dont like the idea of the two of them combined. With this place being underground, very dark, with techno music playing at 7pm – it just reminded me of 3am. I know I’m weird but if I’m drinking I dont want to eat and if I’m eating I dont want to drink.”
“A simple burger, full of attitude for a great price of $12 and “yes”, it also comes with a teasing amount of chips that will leave you wanting more of everything. The pattie was cooked to perfection and full of flavour. The crispy sharpness of the the pickle made it the perfect wingman to this pattie. There was a light dressing flavour in the background but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. But whatever it was it stayed at back of the palette and made me love each bite. Served in a paper funnel, the crispy chips were great.”
“Usually when a burger is hyped up, I’m suspiscious straight away. I know people might recommend it and might say it’s awesome, but at 3am a double Quarter Pounders from Maccas are pretty damn awesome. But then I heard an American accent wafting over the sound of the grill and I felt a little more assured we might be getting something decent. Then unfortunately, it came out looking a bit average. I almost begrudgingly took the shots whilst the guys ate in silence. But then once I bit in I rejoiced and realised why the others weren’t talking. This meat was devine – grilled beautifully with hints of smokiness, a touch of char and a nice amount of fattiness. The rest of the burger did its job and let the meat remain the hero. The chips weren’t in abundance but for 12 bucks I can forgive them. I really enjoyed this one.”
Strange Wolf on Urbanspoon


The B.east

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The B.east – 80 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Sexy B.east
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
23 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$15
Summary

Make your way down Lygon St, way past anyone trying to throw spaghetti down your throat (no guarantees though, there are plenty of kooks around this neck of the woods), and you’ll find yourself in an eclectic pocket of Brunswick East. Now, you’d never really consider that end of town to be a culinary paradise, but with all the new-age retro-chic kids running free around these parts, there are more and more worthwhile eateries popping up. B.east is the latest venue to open its doors to “said kids” with open arms, offering a multitude of burgers, beers and bands to leave the locals more than satisfied. Run by the same guys who brought you the Section 8 Container Bar, B.east is aiming to stand out by excelling in the art of burgers. What they want to do says venue manager Guy Daley, is “to make simple, awesome burgers in-house…” and “to do one thing but do it really well”. Thats why you’ll notice that the most part of the menu is taken up by their in-house made burgers (even though the pork shoulder sandwich sounds unbelievable). Whether you order a burger or an icecream sundae, you’ll most likely be hiding from Melbourne’s bitch-ass weather and sitting in a low-lit open space, with street art adorning the walls and plenty of chilli sauces only an arms length away to fry your face off. In keeping with the Burger Adventure spirit we strolled up to the bar and ordered a Sexy B.east Burger that came on brioche bun with 2 beef patties (brisket, rump & chuck mix made on site), oozing double cheese, onion, lettuce, tomato and a jalapeno spiced mayonnaise. We coupled this with a serve of B.east Triple Cooked Chips with chilli sauce and cheese for and added $9.

Comments
“This burger came out looking all neat and pretty, however, the fun really started when I attempted my first bite and it all turned into a giant, juicy and delicious mess. The beef wasn’t seasoned too much but it still had a lot of those beefy flavours working for it. Due to the coarseness of the mince, it all sort of crumbled into bite size chunks adding to the mess. I couldn’t really taste any overpowering spice in the jalapeno mayo, possibly because there was so much cheese to drown it out. There must of been some secret laneway/warehouse/fixie/instagram/sitting in a park/drinking cider party happening that the locals were at that night, because this place was pretty much empty.”
“A great double pattie burger experience! The name “Sexy B.east” really suits this burger down to a T. The burger contained high-quality meat – cooked perfectly and full of awesome beefy juices. I was happy to see that they didn’t hold back on the cheese, because to say there was a generous amount is an understatement. With all the hot sauces around I figured this burger might give a bit of a kick, but the jalapeno mayo is pretty mild, fit enough for the biggest of spice wimps. We combined the burger with chilli chips swimming in cheese – ohhh yeah that was a good choice.”
“There’s been a bit of chit-chat around town lately about a sudden epidemic of burger joints opening up left right and centre. Its pretty easy to say its all a trend and its just the cool thing to do… But if it IS just the cool thing to do, then B.east might as well have the Fonz as their Head Chef. These guys delivered such an unexpectedly awesome burger, it left me a little embarrassed for doubting these rookies in the first place. It’s not often that you can get a regular burger right, let alone a double pattie burger. Usually most of them are overkill on flavour or size, but this was on the money. The patties were left simple and beefy and let the rest of the ingredients bring the salt, creaminess and spice to the table. Ready for some controversy? If you asked me now where I’d go for a burger and beer on that side of town, you’d see me driving right past Hux and straight into the jaws of the B.east. ”
The B.East on Urbanspoon


Jazz City Diner

Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Jazz City Diner – 238 Crown St, Surry Hills,
New South Wales, Australia
Burger:
Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
13 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$15
Summary

Jazz City Diner is conveniently located on a hill (so you can walk off everything you consume) and is the perfect getaway from the nearby madness that is Oxford St. The small 24 seat diner draws inspiration from the typical 1930’s American diner, with everything from neon signage, art deco influences and some all-star, friendly service. Chef/Owner Dan McGuirt has put together a menu that is destined for success; inciting your tastebuds to riot with the very mention of dishes like Chicken & Waffles, Kansas City Style BBQ Pork Ribs, Banana Cream Pie with Caramel Drizzle and of course, there are the 9 burger options to choose from. We felt it was most appropriate to keep it nice and simple, ordering the Cheeseburger that comes with a traditional sesame seed burger bun, a square beef pattie, onion, tomato, mayo, pickle relish and lettuce. This accompanied by a stack of sweet potato Fries (inc. in the cost) and a peanut butter milkshake, and you’re in business.

Comments
“A very humble cheeseburger with old fashioned roots. We got a chance to ask Dan why the burgers had square patties and he told us he grew up eating Wendy’s and White Castle burgers and he wanted to bring that nostalgia from back home to Sydney for all of his customers to experience. Mission achieved Dan – and, with a far better quality than you would ever get from Wendy’s or White Castle. Sitting under Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and other Jazz posters that hang on the walls, you can’t help but feel at one with that certain romance the diner delivers through its service and meals. The pattie was a nice, flat, square ol’ style pattie with all the flavour you would expect from a diner burger (in other words no fancy-shmancy exotic spices or herbs). The mayo, red onion, pickle and cheese were all good. The sweet potato fries – although not my thing – were good and I do recommend them.”
“I’m sceptical of almost everything “Aussie-Americana” these days, so Jazz City Diner was no different. This was probably due to all the average meals we’ve had at a few other so-called American Diners claiming to be the bees knees. But, I’d heard decent stuff so I really had to make up my own mind. Hearing a friendly American accent from the kitchen was a pretty good sign of authenticity. But then, I bit in to my Cheeseburger and duuuuude this was the real deal. The flavours were so humble and subtle. Dan’s square signature pattie had just the right amount of fat in it leaving an awesome amount of greasiness to echo around my mouth with every bite. This was a real heartwarming experience with nice personal touches here and there, like the simple addition of pepper on the tomatoes – gorgeous. Well done Dan and crew, Jazz City Diner has it going on.”
Jazz City Diner on Urbanspoon


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