Charlie & Co

Monday, July 27, 2015
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Charlie & Co – Melbourne Emporium, Level 3, 287 Lonsdale St,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Double Cheese & Bacon
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
15 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$13.90
Summary

Shopping centre food courts aren’t well-known for great quality. You can generally find a burger in amongst them but it’s usually from a wide sweeping chain. Charlie & Co are trying to break that mould. But it’s more of a quality not quantity kind of capacity. Located in high-end shopping destinations across Melbourne and Sydney means that there’s plenty of tourists ready to spend money. That’s why they’re able to charge a more exuberant price than you’re used to when it comes to food courts. Paying homage to Charlie “Hamburger” Nagreen, one of the many that claim they invented the hamburger, they’ve gone straight to the source for their schtick. They offer a range of burgers here but don’t get too crazy with the choices. The worst you could do would be an Aussie style burger that’s topped with pineapple and beetroot. Not for everyone, but some seem to love it. Having eaten here in Sydney I was keen to see if Melbourne could out-do it’s northern counterpart. I went for one of the most classic things on their menu, The Double Cheese and Bacon burger. It came on a seeded bun with smoked middle bacon, double cheese, a wagyu beef patty, pickled gherkins, Charlie’s signature tomato sauce and American mustard.

Comments
“Having eaten this in a Westfield in Sydney years ago, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot. I mean Justin North might have been the founder but as before, I was placing my order in another shopping centre surrounded by day trippers and Emos. This burger feeds the hungry. It’s large and comes with a stack of chips if you happen to order a side. But that’s basically all it does. It looked really promising when it arrived but it didn’t deliver. The patty was a little bland. The bacon could’ve been much crispier, and I wish that the bun wasn’t so dense. I feel like for $14 I should be getting something that’s packed with more flavour. The highlights came from the restrained use of mustard, the sweetness from the pickles and the extra large salty chips.”


Archie’s All Day

Thursday, June 11, 2015
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Archie’s All Day – 189 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Juicy Lucy
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
11 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$20
Summary

There’s a lot going on along Gertrude St, so when opening a new venue you’d want to offer something pretty great. Not having sampled everything, we can’t comment on that, but there is choice. And it’s available (almost) all day. Behind the people pleasing operation is Anthony Brem, owner of Collingwood’s famed Bluebird Espresso. So he knows what works for the area and what doesn’t. That’s why you probably find such a large selection of feel good food, alcoholic beverages and gourmet sans-gluten dishes. It feels pretty laid back in there. There are sultry paintings on the walls with plenty of booth action, as well as some outdoor space for the smokers and friends of smokers who like them enough to withstand the bitter ice that is a Melbourne morning. To keep you warm though, you can grab a coffee with some Za’atar eggs that come with chickpea chips, burnt eggplant, sumac yoghurt and pomegranate or, just wait ’til 10am and you’ll get in on the burger. It’s just the second Juicy Lucy we’ve seen in Melbourne, so this was the only thing we had on our minds when ordering. The burger comes out on a brioche bun with a Wagyu patty stuffed with Jalapeno spiked Monterrey Jack, mustard, ketchup, pickles, iceberg lettuce and fries.

Comments
“I’ve had a few Juicy Lucys now, some here, some in the USA. And, I think there’s definitely a level of gimmick to it all. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get sucked in. Oozy cheese? What could be better? In Archie’s burger, the patty/patties did well to keep the cheese from spilling out all over the place. What surprised me most was how much more punch the Jalapeno Jack had. It was “Tame” on a scale of “Nothing to Pass Me the Milk”, but there was still a nice tingle with each bite. With all the effort going into sealing the patty and cheese, the patty became a little over cooked. I was looking for a soft pinky juiciness to be there. It was still a tasty patty . But just a little too far charred. I’m a real fan of pickles but there was a little too much here. For this, I’d liked to have seen a pickle on the side. So your experience goes something like: take a bite, grab some chips, and then take another bite of some juicy sweet pickles for some zest. I didn’t mind this thing and I do give credit for trying something not so everyday.”


Minetta Tavern

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
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Minetta Tavern – 113 Macdougal Street, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
Black Label Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$27 USD
Summary

Those who know a thing or two about burgers will tell you that Minetta Tavern is the be all and end all of burgers. Everyone who’s anyone in the NYC food scene has been there to try there $27 pride and joy. There’s good reason too. The guys behind Minetta Tavern are also responsible for New York institutes like Balthazar, Pastis and The Odeon, and, they only use the best of the best. In this case, it’s Pat La Frieda Meats. They’re world famous and still family owned since 1922. They worked closely with the Minetta team to get their Black Label Burger shining brightest amongst the galaxy of New York burger joints. Although they’ve only been around since 2009, the place will looks you into thinking it’s been there since the old days. What’ll trick you is all the old-style caricatures, checkered floors, portraits from decades past and the red leather booths. I sat down and triumphantly ordered their Black Label Burger that comes with a beef patty – a mix of dry aged, skirt steak and brisket – caramelised onions and a custom brioche bun.

Comments
“It was oh so soft. This was the most subtle burger I’ve ever eaten. It kind of felt like listening to a lullaby or piece of soothing classical music. Each bite was fluffy, juicy and delicate. The patty crumbled in with each bite reveal a beautiful shade of pink. I’d say it was probably cooked closer to rare than medium but I’m so up for that pink with that quality of meat. Every bite had a bit of a crunch from the clarified butter they use to give it a nice seal. The onions again were so subtle but sweet. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re used to the fish and chip shop and that’s your jam. It’s the kind of thing burger enthusiasts dream about because the quality was just outstanding. Saying that, it’s not a burger I could eat everyday. It’s a burger that needs an occasion, a celebration maybe? It’s the birthday cake of hamburgers.”


The Anthem

Monday, January 5, 2015
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The Anthem – 1725 W. Division St, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Burger:
Jucy Lucy
Serviettes:
8
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$10.99 USD
Summary

Just like Australians, the Americans are super passionate about sport – in all shapes and sizes. The Anthem has dedicated itself to sports fans by providing belt loosening comfort food that will hold you whilst your team loses yet another thriller. Their extensive beer and cocktail list will then make you forget about all those woes and get you ready for the next game. They’ve got huge screens everywhere so you can soak in the glory or wallow in sorrow. So, it’s really easy to get a love/hate thing going with this 70s neon Sports Bar. When it comes to Chicago critics however, they can’t stop raving about the place opened ever since 2011. One of the reasons they’re so famous is their Jucy Lucy. Originally an invention out of Minneapolis the Chicago locals have made it their own. In between two three-ounce patties lies an ounce and a half of Velveeta cheese, there’s caramelised onions, sweet horseradish pickles and a buttery bun – that’s it. I sat in front of three big screens, watched the Baltimore Ravens throw a ball, then ordered the “local celebrity” that is the Jucy Lucy.

Comments
“This is a Sports Bar on steroids. Hoots and hollers were more than welcome but I kept my mouth shut so as to prepare for the hype that was their Jucy Lucy. It arrived looking like a hot mess even before I got into it. There was so much cheese ooze pouring out I carefully placed a doubled up napkin on my lap and hoped for the best. The first bite was good – really pink and soft for the medium they said they would cook it. But I hadn’t hit the cheese yet. The second bite was going to be the most important. That’s when it happened. The water fall of cheese that flooded my mouth was madness. Never had I experienced such a Cheese-nami. It was smooth and silky like a disgraced Italian news reader. I’d never had Velveeta before but I imagine it was big in the 70s with the fondu folk. Was it all necessary though? I’m not so sure. This style of burger for me is adventurous but what I think tends to happens is that it puts the cheese on a pedestal, and the patty on a dental chair (at the lowest setting). Good for the casual beer and bite but add a winning/losing team and some jugs and you’ll probably find it amazing.”


Big Mouth

Sunday, August 24, 2014
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Big Mouth – 168 Acland St, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Big Mouth Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
15 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in area
Price:
$21
Summary

They probably read about it in Lonely Planet, but there’s good reason tourists flock to St Kilda all year round. They might deter some of the more “refined” Melbournians, but chances are most of us, at one point or another have taken a stroll down Acland St for a drink or bite to eat. Sitting at the top of the busy street is an Big Mouth. The Art Deco building has played very different roles since its opening in 1938: a second hand furniture store, a cabaret, a band room, reception centre, Russian ball room and a wax museum. But now, as it stands the bar/restaurant/nightclub caters for all kinds of folk, whether its for a big night or a big steak. We sat in one of their dining rooms and ordered the Big Mouth Burger that came with an Angus pattie, Monterey Jack, sweet pickles, pickled onion, chipotle aioli & fries.

Comments
“I really didn’t enjoy this burger experience, it was hard work with some overbearing flavours and texture. First of all it’s an extremely dark restaurant, which isn’t helped when the burger is served on a long skinny plank of wood added to the challenge. The bun was a very crusty, dry kaiser roll, with very little give in it, creating a giant crumbly mess, which didn’t pair very well with the domineering sweet pickles and pickled onions. The beef patty, when eaten on its own was delicious and juicy, however with nothing to absorb and trap the flavour in, just ended up adding to the mess.”
“The patty was cooked OK however it did taste a bit garlicky for my liking, but with the ever so creamy combination of Jack cheese and mayo it quickly regained points in my book. Looking at all the other burgers my burger comrades ordered it seemed that the kitchen was having an inconsistent night. As much as I liked the bun I really could have done with less bread in my diet that day. Rather than including the greens in my burger and just saved them later for a fresher-upped for the palette.”
“On paper this was right up my alley. It came out deconstructed and I wasn’t sure what for: pure laziness or they wanted to add as much greenery as you like. I went for none of that. There were great hints of creaminess and plenty of crunch from the crusty kaiser. It was hard to tell where it was actually coming from but garlic was apparent all around this burger. It was great. Not over powering or anything, it just lingered around. The patty was soft and salty and the chipotle aoili rounded out each bite with some spice. The pickled onions also provided a nice tang and I’m glad weren’t of the Zuni variety for a change. I think I really liked this burger. I reckon 21 bucks was a smidge steep though (mainly because of lack of chips).”
Big Mouth on Urbanspoon


South Melbourne Trader

Monday, March 31, 2014
The_Burger_Adventure-SthMelbTrader

South Melbourne Trader – 111 Cecil St,
South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
20 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$15.90
Summary

The South Melbourne Trader is one of those contemporary pub venues that’s built to cater for all sorts of crowds, from the big lunch time work crowds on a Friday, to the modern family who’s not in the particular mood to cook. Located only 2 minutes’ walk from the South Melbourne Markets this place has done well to build a local following in an area with plenty of old time pubs on offer. Former Rockpool Bar & Grill chef Johnon MacDonald has brought his knowledge to SMT and put together a quality Wagyu burger at an affordable price. It arrived on a brioche bun with a Wagyu pattie, house made pickles, lettuce, tomato, mayo, Jamaican Jerk and hand cut chips.

Comments
“At first bite, several of the distinct flavours made be double guess whether or not I’d actually eaten this burger before. Once I lifted up the top bun and the bright pink pickled onions stared back at me, revealing the uncanny similarities between this and the Wagyu burger at Rockpool. The brioche bun combined with all the pickled vegetables and Jamaican Jerk sauce unfortunately overpowered the beef patty, which was cooked a little longer than ideal. However, when tasted on its own had great flavour.”
“The burger had a very tasty pattie with the right level of moisture in it and at the perfect thickness. The bun did get a bit mushy towards the end, but it made the distance, so no real complaints. There was minimal green stuff on offer, but they were very generous on the mayo. For a lunch time option I think it’s slightly on the heavy side, but that’s what long Friday lunches are for. Chips were average.”
“I’m normally the kind of guy to put more mayo on top of mayo. But this experience was even too creamy for me. The Rockpool on a budget burger still had really good moments. It makes sense for them to copy its greatness as not every one has had the pleasure of visiting Neil Perry’s fine establishment. The beef was by far the standout with a nice beefy charr to it, but it needed to be heroed more. All the sauces and onions stole its limelight. It looked small, but the sleepiness that hung around afterwards was enough to make me think about pulling over on my drive home. Pretty good but I’d go the original (and pay for it) any day of the week.”
The South Melbourne Trader on Urbanspoon


Bruny Island Winebar and Grill

Thursday, March 20, 2014
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Bruny Island Winebar and Grill – 4391 Main Rd, Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australia
Burger:
Bruny Island Premium Beef Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$16
Summary

About an hour south of Hobart (add in a 20 minute ferry ride) and you’ll be driving across Bruny Island. Surprisingly large in land mass, generally compared with Singapore’s, Bruny Island is home to about 650 people (Singapore has over 5 million) so it makes a perfect escape from the daily grind. Covered in beautiful vegetation, mountains and surrounded by unruly oceans there’s not much to do but to take in the sights and then enjoy the local produce. The Bruny Island Winery is Australia’s southernmost vineyard and is owned by Richard and Bernice Woolley who bought the Wayaree Estate property in 1997. Their Winebar and Grill lets you match some of their award winning wines along with sampling plenty of regional produce. I sat down with my babein’ accomplice, grabbed a Pinot Noir and ordered the Premium Beef Burger that came on crusty roll with a beef pattie from Hat’s Farm next door, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, chilli jam and tomato sauce.

Comments
“It sounded pretty decent when I read the list of ingredients; all super enticing and I knew they’d be local. Upon arrival I couldn’t but blurt out a profanity. To say I was shocked was an understatement. “What was goig on with that bread?”, I thought to myself. The cerated knife stabbed through the middle would come in handy, because I knew that it wasn’t going to be pretty if I’d tackled this as a whole. When I cut it in half, squished it down and finally bit I was actually happy. All the elements were tasty and co-operated in their pursuit of pleasing my taste-buds. The chilli jam was the highlight followed by the sweet, fat coated beef. This could’ve been next level if they went for a more traditional bun. The ciabatta-style bread was enjoyable, but I’d rather leave it to dips and antipasto plates as opposed to the humble hamburger. Overall, not a bad, unorthodox burger that’s worth popping in for.”
Bruny Island Winebar and Grill on Urbanspoon