La Luna Bistro

Friday, March 8, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_LaLuna-Bistro

La Luna Bistro – 320 Rathdowne St, Carlton North, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
La Luna Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$23.50
Summary

Located in a sleepy pocket of North Carlton, La Luna is a cosy, rustic restaurant that serves up what they call, “Contemporary Australian with a Mediterranean twist”. Chef and owner Adrian Richardson has one philosophy when it comes to all his ingredients: “got to be FRESH, and if it ain’t fresh it’s aged” (like his aged Beef On The Bone). And, you can’t really fault that philosophy. Their menu offers diners everything from house-made pasta to soufflé to crisp duck legs; all brought to you by friendly staff in a relaxing atmosphere. Amidst a sea of dates, we went for the La Luna prime beef burger that came with bacon, pickles, cheese and a side of fries.

Comments
“The presentation here is fantastic. Clearly a lot of thought and time has gone into this burger. However, I feel it’s almost trying too hard with too many clashes. The beef was mixed in-house and tasted great on its own. It had just the right amount of char and added texture whilst still remaining juicy. The pattie was meaty enough that it probably didnt even need the bacon, but these great flavours ended up lost amongst the sweetness coming from the onion jam and the density of the bun. I’d love to try a more simple version of this that has a few less ingredients, potentially making it more of a balanced burger.”
“I wasn’t really a massive fan of the bun – the texture reminded me of focaccia bread. The tasty pattie was dripped its juicy essence down my wrist and onto the pile of shoe string fries – lovely! There was a sweet onion jam that when combined with the mayo made for one unique and tasty condiment. The lettuce and tomato were well-prepped and added a layer of crispness to it all too. The chips were good and were well-presented in a box made out of the menu.”
“This burger arrived in impressive fashion. There were so many colors beaming from the plate. As soon as I bit in a waterfall of juice poured out. The flavours that really stood out to me were the sweetness from the onion jam and the saltiness from the cheese. At time it almost tasted like a Parmesan crisp – the sort of thing you usually find in an Umami style burger. When it came to the beef pattie, you could tell it was quality. It had herbs splashed throughout but it wasn’t over the top, leaving quite a tasty pattie. I would’ve loved to have seen this burger done in a more classic fashion. But I understand that this is place is meant to have a Mediterranean twist so it might be out of place like that. A nice and tasty meal that’s more of a first date burger rather than a hangover cure.”
La Luna Bistro on Urbanspoon


Tree of Us

Friday, March 1, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_TreeOfUs

71 Church St, Richmond, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Tree Cheese Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
18 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$14
Summary

When you consider its location, you could almost say Tree of Us is in the middle of nowhere. Standing as a solo cafe/restaurant away from the busier end of Church St is a bold move. But thats the style of the three Primary School pals who opened up this ecclectic, high-quality produce driven eatery. Part owner and former Chef at Rockpool, Shane Scource, has created a menu that’ll cater to pretty much anyone with a jaw and a decent set of tastebuds. Breakfast offers the likes of eggs cooked your way to slow cooked organic beans to a breaky burger. And that’s where it gets interesting – the burgers. With a whole page dedicated to the Meal of Kings you’ll find a number of different takes on the traditional hamburger. They’ve even got a burger challenge going that might get you a burger named in your honour. When it came for us to try one of their acclaimed creations, we took a seat in some ex-church pews and ordered the tantalising Tree Cheese Burger. In between a Brioche bun came a Bertie’s Butchers Wuk Wuk beef chuck pattie covered with melted Swiss, mozzarella and goats cheese, red onion, roquette, house tomato relish and dijon.

Comments
“A seriously fresh and light burger that was really easy to consume, in what felt like about 3 bites. The soft and fluffy bun completely enveloped the ingredients and helped keep everything from falling out. Although, I did remove the roquette myself as im just not a fan of its texture in a burger. The house made tomato relish was the real dominant flavour, giving off hints of a traditional tomato pasta sauce that unfortunately drowned out the course, beefy pattie and trio of cheeses. I’ve got to say I’m a BIG fan of the fact they donate a percentage of their profits to planting trees.”
“This is how I imagine the Tree Cheese Burger was created… Owners to Chef: “You can’t really be thinking of melting 3 different kinds cheeses onto that burger can you?” Chef to Owners: “YOLO mothereffers!” and walks out the room with his hands in the air. Well, I hope it went down that way because it sure got my taste buds excited at the thought of all those cheeses. Arriving at our table the oozing was just as I had expected. Biting in I noticed that because of all the home made relish – choc full of cumin and paprika – the pattie remained cleverly unseasoned. Smart move as to not drown my palette but I wished the Wuk Wuk beef the star of the show. But unfortunately its condiment counterparts and creamy cheeses hogged more of the stage than desired. All in all, I left Tree of Us with my mind made up that this is the sort of burger that I’d have to be in a particular mood to eat. Its not a 3am dirty burger, its something I’d push towards the gourmet side of the scale. Which you’ve got to respect. Next time I’d give it a crack but ask for my relish on the side.
The Tree Of Us on Urbanspoon


Prospect Espresso

Friday, February 22, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_Prospect-Espresso

Prospect Espresso – 2a Prospect Hill Rd,
Camberwell, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Prospect Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
14 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$18
Summary

Co-owners Matt Ward and Mitch Haworth’s first venture is primarily all about great coffee, but they also knew they’d have to build a mouth watering menu to match. Prospect Espresso was a well need addition to the Camberwell cafe scene, boasting a warm and cosy interior filled with natural raw materials. The beautiful custom made communal table commands the room but also offers a generous amount of side dining tables that work perfectly in the smalll and well-thought out used space. Using a range of seasonal ingredients their lunch menu offers a variety of fresh, tasty bites as well as a couple of good ol’ meaty offerings including their Prospects Burger. The house made minced beef is accompanied by bacon, cheese, pickles, and lettuce all in a soft bun. On the side you’ll find some crunchy fat chips with creamy aioli.

Comments
“I can’t believe I left this place without finishing my chips or trying their coffee, but the burger was so rich and full of flavour I couldn’t possibly cram any more into my stomach. Really well presented with a skewer holding everything together, the flavours that stood out for me were the perfectly cooked, thick and salty piece of bacon that contrasted really well with the soft creaminess of the melted cheese and aioli. The beef patty was minced coarsely and kept it really juicy and tasty, and the sweet, seed covered bun kept everything together pretty well.”
“This is a sexy piece of work. The bun shone, the cheese oozed and I swear the bacon winked at me as it lay underneath, inviting me to take my first bite. Before I did though, I unloaded my chips strategically onto the plate to catch all the burger’s juices. First bite in: big success, a lot of juice seasoned chips. The coarsely ground pattie didn’t have a lot of seasoning but this worked in its favour. The semi-sweet bun was tasty but was a bit doughy, leaving me with a bunch of it left on my plate. The bacon and cheese combo were by far my highlight. The bacon was lean as hell and there was a whole lot of it – I didn’t want it to stop. A really well-balanced burger that’s sure to be known as the toast of Camberwell.”
Prospect Espresso on Urbanspoon


Ribs & Burgers

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ribs & Burgers – 3 Separation St, Northcote, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
18 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$18
Summary

When we first got wind of Ribs & Burgers we of course did a little Google search to see what they’re all about. What we uncovered is the location of their 3 venues: Neutral Bay and Star City Casino in Sydney and, one closer to home in Northcote Plaza. Surrounded by your shopping centre regulars like a post office, supermarket and takeaways, this smart, well-established restaurant seems oddly out of place. With a crazy passion for all things meat this new eatery is dressed head to toe in its Butcher’s Best. All staff wear blue and white aprons, pickles and sauces sit upon the shelves and an open kitchen all give patrons the idea that Burgers & Ribs are all about serving up some quality chow. So when they say 100% pure beef patties they mean it: no binding agents, no salt, no flavours, just beef. Obviously specialising in burgers and ribs they also offer other selections like chicken breast and salads (but why would you bother with those?). After a few minutes trying to work out which burger to order, the chef recommended the Wagyu burger that came on a kaiser-like bun with a 225g Wagyu beef pattie topped with sliced tomato, Spanish onion, pickles, onion rings, 1000 Island and BBQ sauce.

Comments
“This burger for me went over the top and unnecessarily doubled up on nearly everything: 2 types of sauces that clashed, 2 types of onion and double the amount of bread. The beef was cooked to an ideal medium with a healthy crust of char providing plenty of flavour when tasted on its own. However, it was completely lost amongst the sweetness of the BBQ and 1,000 Island-ish sauces, the crispyness of the lettuce, onion rings and spanish onions. The bun was huge and left me feeling completely stuffed by the end of it and left me desperately needing a nap. Should I visit again I would like to try one of their more simple and traditional burgers on offer.”
“The fondest memory I have of this burger is of that awesome thick, char grilled pattie. It really set a great tone for what the rest of the burger was going to taste like. In fact, the pattie tasted like it had been grilled on the same part of the grill that the ribs were cooked on. Although you got alot of the smokey grill flavour, the 1000 Island sauce added a great freshness to it all. I do believe there was a little too much Kaiser bun here and not enough off that awesome meat. The onion rings and chips were good, and had a great amount of crunch in each bite.”
“I really thought I would love this animal. I watched as I saw other burgers and ribs coming out and they looked irresistible. But, with my first bite all I could taste was disappointment. That traditional charcoal grill flavour crust was the best part of the pattie. But, there was just so much going on. I almost think if there were a softer bun and a lot less ingredients (take out the tomato, lettuce, onion and even the onion rings) it would’ve been a great burger. Seriously, just simplify this bad boy and you’d be on a winner. I’d be back, but purely to dabble in other meaty goodness.”
Ribs & Burgers on Urbanspoon


Coco Cubano

Friday, November 30, 2012

Coco Cubano – 157 Greville St, Prahran, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$14.90
Summary

Located on a prime corner position on the ever evolving and eclectic enclave that is Greville St, Prahran, Coco Cubano is a living tribute to all things Cuban. Stereotypical Cuban photographs adorn the walls including cigars, vintage cars, Che Guevara, coffee beans and family portraits of moustached men. With the Coco Cubano philosophy being ‘Viva la revolucion! Be the revolucion’, they encourage you to get amongst it with a wide selection of coffee, chocolates, cocktails and tapas menu. Despite their political differences and embargo the Cubans were not denied the humble American burger. Accompanied by a $15 jug of Sangria (Sunday arvo’s only) we ordered the Wagyu burger that came on wholemeal bun with a 100% Wagyu beef mince with onion, bacon, cheese, capsicum, garlic aioli and some thick cut chips.

Comments
“With the sun still shining and the temperature sitting in the high 20′s in the early evening, we could of almost convinced ourselves we were in Cuba. Then we realised we live in Victoria, the nanny state, therefor there wasn’t any aroma of a Cuban cigar in the air. This burger had some serious ingredients in it; all packing some great flavours, really fresh and high quality. This left me thinking how they made any money off the burger at the price it was at. This was the first time I had experienced capsicum in a burger and thought it suited it. It added a bit of spice to an otherwise extremely creamy burger. The wholemeal bun ultimately fell apart due to the serious juice oozing from the wagyu beef.”
“Blending an almost Caribbean vibe with Greville St culture is an interesting and a brave take. As you walk off the street you suddenly feel the urge to drink from a cocktail glass with an umbrella in it. I really enjoyed the theme and casualness of the place, add the fact that the open kitchen had a fiery grill roaring at the time we walked in and the smell had me hooked. The pattie was a meaty, thick Wagyu chunk that tasted great. Your initial reaction is to add sauce, but after a few bites you don’t need it. The roasted peppers with aioli really worked well in this burger, as did the wholemeal bun. The thick chips were really good, crusty on the outside and with great amount of seasoning.”
“As stated, we paid $14.50 a pop for this burger. So when it came out looking like a million bucks with all the fancy bells and whistles, boy was I impressed. As soon as I bit in I experienced a wave of creaminess seeping out of its every nook and cranny. Time passed and I started to consider the potential logic behind the wholemeal bun. Never would I even think of using such a thing but then I realised it was just there for support. The wholemeal made for neutral, non-intrusive scaffolding. So, apart from eventually falling apart, it wasn’t so bad. Overall the burger was quite simple, creamy and meaty, but I felt it lacked a bit of acidity. It needed an extra something to cut through the decadent aioli and cheese. Maybe some red onion, pickles or even sweet tomato ketchup would’ve helped that out. I honestly really liked this burger; especially for the price.”
Coco Cubano on Urbanspoon


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.”