Kua’aina Burger

Thursday, October 20, 2011
Kua’Aina Burger – Maison du Yuu Bldg. 1F, 1-10-4 Shibuya,
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (東京都渋谷区渋谷1丁目10−4)
Burger:
Avocado Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
¥1080/$13.60 AUD/$14.06 USD
Summary

Say it like this: “Koo-a eye-na”. It basically means redneck/hick/bogan, depending on where you come from, but for native Hawaiians it refers more to those who actively live Hawaiian culture and keep the spirit of the land alive. So by now you would’ve guess that this burger joint is in fact originally Hawaiian. With 2 locations in Obama’s home-town, 1 in London and a whopping 15 across Japan, it’s safe to say the Hawaiian-Japanese relationship has moved on since Pearl Harbour. As you walk in you can’t help but notice the “Hawaii-ness” (it’s a word, look it up) of the place. Lining the walls are surfboards, photos and memorabilia from it’s 35 year history including shots of the original owners and even some of the main man himself, President Barack Obama- we hear he’s a big fan! So if it’s good enough for him you’re darn right it’s good enough for us. Along with their burger selections you’ll find a tonne of different sandwiches ranging from East Coast favourites like Pastrami and Roast Beef, to the more tropical Mahi Mahi and Teri Chicken. We asked our friendly Hawaiian shirt wearing cook what burger Obama enjoys most and so we went for their famous Avocado Burger. It came on a Kaiser Roll with a char-grilled 1/3 pound U.S beef pattie, butter lettuce, avocado, mayo, herb butter and a grilled onion.

Comments
“When you first think of having a burger in Japan the last thing you think of is a Hawaiian burger chain. But I thought, “Hey… nothing in Japan had managed to disappoint me yet”. What they offer is a really simple burger, add avocado and turn it into a suprisingly awesome creation. My charcoaled beef pattie was well cooked, but I thought a tiny bit dry. With only mayo in the burger the grilled onion added the sweetness you need and the avocado gives the burger a creaminess like you can’t even begin to imagine.”
“I absolutely loved this burger! So much so i had it twice. Was I even hungry the second time around?- No. Was it my 16th burger for the trip?- Yes. Do i want one now?- Yes! I’m honestly disappointed in myself that I have never had avocado in a burger before this, but it’s subtle flavour and texture just compliment the beef so well. They also used one of the best burger buns I’ve had: it was soft and fluffy but still strong enough to keep everything in tact.”
“When I heard we were going to a Hawaiian burger joint, my first reaction was pineapples on burgers and Ukulele themed music in store. I know I was pigeon holing the whole experience, but I’m a “glass half-empty” type of guy. Oh boy was I wrong about this place. The Hawaiian theming that went on in there wasn’t too intense; they just kept true to its Hawaiian roots in a tasteful manner, even playing Hawaiian online radio. More importantly, the burger was great. My pattie was on the dry side but made up for it with seasoning that was spot on and a nice char-grill flavour. The generous amount of avocado mixed nicely with the mayo to add a nice creaminess to each bite. The char-grilled onion slice did add a nice sweetness and crunch to each bite. I do recommend having it with the Ginger Ale and ordering the chips which, are semi-skinned, double-fried and F’n amazing.”
“Holy Ben Affleck I loved this. The meat was flame-grilled, filling it with that supreme charcoal goodness. It was pinky in the centre and cooked the best way possible. The tomato was brilliant as was the Kaiser bun. The perfectly ripe, seasoned avocado ended up acting like a creamy butter throughout the whole experience, making me think you probably wouldn’t even need to add cheese to this bad boy. Never having added avocado in a burger before made this the ultimate in cherry popping – I even cried like a true first timer. Seriously good burger.”


The Bottom End

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Bottom End – 579 Lt Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Bottom End Cheesey Bacon Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
33 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$16
Summary

The Bottom End is a new kind of hybrid venue: a pub-disco-diner. The love-child of a fair-dinkum pub and a hedonistic party palace with an all-night pseudo-US diner thrown in for good measure. All this over indulgent extrava-Dance is brought to you by none other than Mr.Michael Delany-Korabelnikova; the man behind iconic Melbourne nightclubs Honkytonks, Third Class and Sorry Grandma! Food is the key ingredient in the success of any traditional pub and The Bottom End is no different. The food menu takes cues from all night US diners and the recent “dude food” phenomenon where Philly Cheese Steak, Mac ‘n’ Cheese Balls, NYC Buffalo Wings, Prawn and Chorizo Po Boys sit on a menu few could call healthy, but just as few could resist. After recovering from the launch party we went back to try the Cheesey Bacon Burger. Inside was the beef pattie, bacon, gruyere cheese, smoked dutch, lettuce, onion, tomato, onion, pickle, their special sauce between a brioche bun and a side of crinkle cut chips.

Comments
“If you didn’t know the history you never would’ve guessed that this unique and quirky hybrid venue used to be the old crazy rave destination known as Bubble. Created by one of Australia’s most iconic bar consultant/owners they serve up a heluva good old American diner-style burger that cuts no corners. It doesn’t even pretend to be anything healthy and this is the way it should be!! The creamy gruyere made for a great addition to the thick juicy pattie and other fresh ingredients. With their special sauce also between the brioche bun I have to say this is one I’d definitely make a trip back for, whether it was late afternoon or the early hours of the morning.”
“This was a seriously creamy and filling burger. So much so that I have to admit I left a few chips on the plate; a rare occurrence. The creaminess came down to the amazing melted gruyere and the secret sauce that closely resembled a 1,000 Island dressing. It worked well with the crispy, thick cut bacon and the tightly packed beef pattie. If this venue was in a different location I would frequent it more often. However, I consider this part of the city the arsehole of Melbourne and I’m embarassed that it even exists. I hope that along with the new Vue De Monde it can start the much needed rejuvenation.”
“Imagine Buckingham Palace, then fill it with pictures and statues that you would find in some eccentric dandy’s art collection. But they’re all stored in his basement because even he said, “No, even these are too tacky for me”. Then throw in a bar and a kitchen. That is The Bottom End and I LOVED IT. It just takes the piss out of everything and it’s the kind of place you would never expect to find any conservative accountant/lawyer/dental hygienist on a Friday night drinking beer and smashing a burger. So it already qualifies as my favourite place on earth at this point. The burger: the pattie was of average thickness but was juicy. The pickle did taste a bit old and smelt weird. The brioche bun was huge – lots and lots of brioche to fill up on. Greens were nicely prepared and the chips were good. But what really stole the show was the complimentary Mac n’ Cheese balls that came with the burger. That alone is worth a revisit.”
“We rocked up on a Sunday to find out that Mac n’ Cheese balls came complimentary with your meal. Bit of a bonus? No burger-fans, its a frkn HUGE Bonus! Cheese, Bacon and Macaroni have never reminded me more of crack cocaine. Soon after snorting the entrée our burgers were set before us. They were stacked high and were dripping wet with sauce and juices. At my first bite my brain and tastebuds were quick to acknowledge the bacon; there was lots of it and it was outstanding. The beef was pink, soft and held together well. It didn’t need to have too much seasoning on it as all of the other party guests between the buns had enough presence to make up for it. I hardly noticed the cheese, tomato or lettuce. But I couldn’t help but notice the pickles that once tasted on their own, tasted as if they’d been pickled inside a sardine can. There was something fishy going on there (drum roll + cymbal). Crazy food coma after this one so prepare yourselves. Overall, this place is mental and serves awesomeness on “blue or white plates with napkins”.”
The Bottom End on Urbanspoon


The Espy

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Espy – 11 The Esplanade, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Espy Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
16 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$16.50
Summary

From Reggae to Dance, Hip-Hop to Rock & Roll, The Esplanade Hotel (or more affectionately known as “The Espy”) has been catering to Melbourne’s eclectic musical tastes for over 100 years. Whether it be a local band or an epic international, it is the place n St Kilda to check out some new tunes, have a drink and enjoy a feast. So when you’ve got all these big musical acts coming to and fro, you’d better be able to offer them some decent grub, right? This is where The Espy Kitchen comes in; preparing everything from classic Pub favourites to delicious pastas, desserts and killer breakfasts (perfect rejuvenation for even the biggest hangovers). We visited one rainy Melbourne Sunday evening and went for the only burger on the menu. Their signature “Espy Burger” comes with a beef pattie, bacon, tasty cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato, red onion and The Espy’s secret sauce all on a sesame seed bun. There’s also a decent portion of fries with house-made ranch dipping sauce.

Comments
“With the rep that this place generally has (not that its a a bad one but more that its quite laidback) I really wasn’t expecting much. However, when it came to the kitchen it couldn’t be further from the case! Everything that I saw come out of there looked as if it had been prepared by someone with love and passion for food. The burger offered a hearty traditional beef pattie topped with tasty cheese and a good amount of salty bacon. Pickles are always a wlecome addition and all the other ingredients were pretty fresh (although there was a little too much lettuce). The traditional seeded bun did a good job of holding it all together. Nothing too fancy just a job well done. Good work guys.”
“I have to admit this is the first time I’ve been to The Espy. It always looks gross and full of people who catch public transport. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a clean, warm and friendly restaurant tucked away at the side of the live music venue with families casually sitting down to dinner. Inside the stock-standard-sesame-seed-bun was a hearty piece of beef with a great juicyness to it; as well as being accompanied by a few rashes of crispy bacon. As I expected they didn’t try anything fancy and just did the basics quite well.”
“Practically living at the Espy in the old University days it really felt like traveling back home and having your mum cook you her ol’ fashioned “Mama’s Style” hamburgers. All the love and home rusticness is there. The medium-sized pattie was very juicy and tasty. The melted cheese was great and the pickles added that tang that I so love in a burger. The secret sauce added a subtle creaminess to each bite. The down sides were that it did need a little bit of ketchup and there was too much green in there. Chips were good.”
“Sooo surprising. G accidentally gave away the venue beforehand and I hate to say it but I thought, “Damn it’ll be all turkish buns and no love” – how wrong I was. The bun was a seeded traditional roll that did a half-decent job of soaking in the juices. The pattie was really enjoyable; it was lightly seasoned and allowed the beef to do a lot of the talking. The cheese they used was also remarkable. The bacon might’ve been just a little too crispy for me but that’s nothing to cry about. The pickles were OK but I reckon it couldve done with a few less of them… same goes for lettuce. My recommendation is, save the dill mayo-style dipping sauce for the burger. It doesn’t work well as a side with chips and would add a creaminess to the burger that’d cut through the acidity of the pickles. I know I’ll be back soon. Seriously impressive.”
The Esplanade Hotel (Espy Kitchen) 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


Salute Bistro at Bentleigh R.S.L

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Salute Bistro at Bentleigh R.S.L – 540 Centre Rd, Bentleigh,
Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Salute Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
11 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$20
Summary

The Returned and Services League of Australia (R.S.L) was established in 1916 to support the men and women who have served, or are currently serving, in the Australian Defence Force. Out of respect for our current and fallen soldiers we thought it would be fitting to visit an R.S.L and eat a burger for Anzac Day. With roughly 1,500 R.S.L’s throughout Australia we didn’t have to look too far, and after a couple of whispers about an amazing burger at the Bentleigh R.S.L we marched on in and ordered their “Salute Burger.” It features a Wagyu beef pattie with cheddar cheese, caramelised onions, cos lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise, all served with a mountain of fries.

Comments
“I was very glad to see that an establishment dedicated to the men and women that protected and served our country can deliver a good meal. The local R.S.L, which was always the place to get a quick and fast pub-style meal, has come along way. This burger really surprised me with how fresh and juicy it was. The beef pattie was well cooked and seasoned with a good portion of salty bacon atop. I actually really enjoyed the bun; it was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with butter both top and bottom. The only thing that I would’ve liked to have seen changed is the bottom bun to be a little thicker. Lest We Forget.”
“I was so happily surprised at the site and taste of this burger. Having eaten at possibly every R.S.L between Melbourne and Noosa throughout my childhood, I know they can be hit and miss when it comes to food outside the typical “Meat and 3 Veg”. A proper sized slab of beef packed with juice and flavour mingled with the crisp, salty bacon and sharp cheddar making it a simply impeccable burger.”
“Our first R.S.L burger! I was always looking forward to the day we would review something as Australian and individual as this. I wasn’t expecting much from this burger, to be honest I was more looking forward to the cheap beer on tap which always hits the spot on a Sunday night. The beef was good and the bun was a little dry and just average. Basically this burger had no hidden surprises. It was a filling burger, but at the same time it was forgettable, all I really remember is that I liked it without really knowing why. Ohhh… and the chips were ok.”
“At first glance, I felt a little underwhelmed. Once I bit in I changed my tune. Boy was this tasty! The beef had a crunch to its outer crust but then was soft as butter as you bit through. The onions were super sweet and confirmed that caramelisation is indeed their best friend. The only thing I’d nitpick over is the bun. It tasted fine but they need to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to stop the bottom section from soaking in all the juices and falling apart.. because it got pretty damn messy. For some this could prove annoying, but for others its a blessing in disguise. My next move involved slamming my hands into the fries and using them like salad forks, dressing them with the awesomeness of meat syrup.. A more devine condiment there could not be.”
Salute at Bentleigh RSL on Urbanspoon


Kelly’s Bar & Kitchen

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Kelly’s Bar & Kitchen – 1510 Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, Olinda,
Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Kelly’s Burger
Serviettes:
5
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$19.50
Summary

Kelly’s is both a great local and an exciting new discovery for visitors to Mt Dandenong. As soon as you walk in you are welcomed by the cheerful, smiling staff and a comfortable timber lodge-like interior. Upon receiving the menu you can’t help but read the history of the place – built in 1891 as a logcutters cabin, it has withstood the test of time to be one of the oldest licensed venues in Victoria. But we digress, after reading the spiel in the menu you will notice a solid two pages of enticing choices. Whether you’re at Kelly’s for a light dinner or a good old fashion pig out, it’s all there. Of course we went for Kelly’s Burger that had a homemade 200gm beef pattie, lettuce, tomato, relish, bacon, egg, cheese and serve of chips.

Comments
“A real rustic style burger created in really rustic restaurant. With what I’d expect to be some very locally sourced ingredients, this burger ticked all the boxes of being a fresh country burger. The bun held in all the juiciness from the meat and the amazing golden yolk perfectly. The crispy bacon really added a nice salty flavour to the thick and juicy pattie. There was also a great aioli there that had a chipotle smokiness about it. I would really recommend heading out of town to get this burger, even if its just for a nice weekend drive. Oh, and things do get a little messy with this one.”
“Probably not worth reading my review. I was sick as a dog. I couldn’t smell or taste anything and I had no appetite. I got through about half of it very slowly and can’t remember a thing. I think the egg was good though? Shall endeavor to try it again.”
“I would drive an hour to eat that burger again, and if I didn’t have petrol in my car I would solve the mystery in teleportation and not commercialise it, but keep it as my greedy secret for one reason.. to eat this burger whenever I felt like it. This thick pattie was juicy and tasty with visible onion chunks (just like mama used to make). The cheese was noticeably melted on the pattie, the bacon was crisp, salty and AWESOME. The relish was good and the chips were good too. I recommend trying this burger with one of their choice of ciders.”
“Even a Polak like me likes a good ol’ fashioned Kaiser. This one was especially good, so with a bakery across the road it makes me think they’ve got to be fresh. From top to bottom this burger was tasty: I’ve mentioned the bun already, the bacon was excellent, the egg permeated awesomeness and the aioli had a smokey flavour that almost resembled chipotle. The only concerning thing I would say about this whole experience is a touch of inconsistency. When checking the menu online it will tell you that you’ll be receiving a regular homemade beef pattie. Once we arrived the menu stated that the beef pattie is Wagyu. Its easy to say that their site hasn’t been updated, but for me, it really didnt taste like Wagyu beef. So if you try it do let us know which one you think is right. In saying that the pattie was still really good – more like a rissole with chopped onions throughout – but still an enjoyable pattie. That was my only qualm. Everything else about the experience was cool though, kind of like the Mt Dandenong air, so bring a jacket. Unlike D who had to borrow G’s spare, and then got egg/sauce/burger all over it. Lesson learnt G.”
Kelly's Bar & Kitchen on Urbanspoon


The Standard Hotel

Thursday, March 17, 2011
The Standard Hotel – 293 Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Standard Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
14 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$19
Summary

The Standard Hotel is, in all its glory, a good ol’ fashioned pub. With many other institutions pouring in the big bucks into new-age renovations and refurbs, the Standard Hotel stands tall and proud, appearing completely untouched for decades. This isn’t to say that the place is falling apart, it has just been maintained with a nostalgic grace that’ll take you back to more simple times. The crowd has of course evolved since its opening in 1865, with a mix of young and old, to hipsters and the working class. This of course goes hand in hand with contrasting your ol’ fashioned pub meals like Steak Sandwiches and Fish and Chips to some of the more “local friendly” dishes like Goats Cheese Tart and an Eggplant Parma. With a country band twanging away inside we took a seat in their most spacious and adored beer garden and ordered their Standard Burger. It came on a traditional kaiser roll with a thick beef pattie, egg, bacon, tomato, beetroot, onion, lettuce, cheese and a side of chips.

Comments
“Having been disappointed with pub food of late, I was not expecting much from this burger. When everyone else is trying to reinvent the burger (with not much success), these guys have created just what needed to be done. I was actually surprised when it turned up in front of me looking like a traditional no frills pub burger.. Finally! It had a nice, thick and juicy pattie with a succulent pink centre accompanied by one of the best cooked eggs sitting atop it all. With a fresh Kaiser bun (and skewer) holding it all together and all the fresh ingredients, this burger really has something good going for itself.”
“This is a very tall burger! After removing the beetroot I got started on trying to condense the burger to a more manageable size. In doing so I popped the egg yolk and it sent a river of golden goodness everywhere. When a large beef pattie is involved it is easy to overcook it leaving the edges charred, however this had great flavour and juiciness throughout. The bun had a crusty outside shell and the remaining fluffiness soaked up the rest of the burger juices. A great local pub that hasn’t changed in decades and I’m guessing its exactly how the residents would prefer it.”
“I was so relieved that this wasn’t another dolled up pub burger. It didn’t try and show boat with any fancy ingredients. Even as you walk in you totally feel like you’re stepping into a country pub in the middle of nowhere. The pattie was lightly seasoned and resembled a rissole at times but when bitten with the bacon it added an awesome 2-hit meat combo. If you want to avoid looking like a pansy and eating with a knife and fork I suggest leaving the spike through the middle, because either way it does get messy and you’ll be left with egg on your face – literally. As for the veggies, for me the tomato and lettuce were unnecessary and didn’t contribute a whole lot but the beetroot added a pleasant sweetness and the onions were really good, especially when they mixed with what tasted/looked like a smear of whole grain mustard across the top bun. These guys really have created quite the enjoyable meal here and for me, true to their name, they’re setting the standard amongst traditional pub burgers.”
The Standard Hotel on Urbanspoon


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