Half Moon

Friday, October 19, 2012

Half Moon – 120 Church Street, Brighton, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Beef Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
35 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$22
Summary

Rejuvenated for the umpteenth time, Half Moon is as synonymous to Brighton as cosmetic surgery, convertibles and inbreeding between the local inhabitants of the Brighton bubble. Calling itself a pub is a slight understatement; this place is big, modern and bares little resemblance to what you would consider a traditional pub. Split over 2 levels and boasting no less than 6 drinking and dining spaces both indoors and outdoors, Half Moon caters to everyone from families with little kids eating dinner, mates catching up and watching the footy to cougars on the hunt for their future ex-husbands. The menu offers a small selection of pub classics as well as a some pastas and meat dishes. We ordered the Beef Burger that had bacon, Swiss cheese, sweet and sour onions, lettuce, tomato and aoili served with chunky steak fries.

Comments
“I was a little disappointed at first when this burger came out as the bun greatly outsized the pattie itself. But once getting hold of the burger I came to the conclusion that anything smaller might’ve have left you cradling a mess. The bun itself was actually pretty good and held a think juicy pattie that was perfectly cooked. I have to say the standout and highlight of this burger though has to be the sweet and sour onions. All the other ingredients were still fresh and flavourful though. With the addition of a lil’ sauce you could have a pretty quality Bayside burger on your hands.”
“This place has ruined many Christmas lunches for me by providing me with many epic hangovers (Half Moon used to throw the best Christmas Eve parties). The carpeted dining room was a far cry from the last time I was there and everyone was a lot better behaved. The bun on this burger was huge and it did take a few bites to reach the beef however, it needed to be, nothing else would of been able to keep this burger together. The thick chunk of beef was cooked to a perfectly pink medium-rare, and was one of the best quality I’ve tasted in a while. With the bun being so large, the sweet and sour onions sort of clumped together in one small spot so were only tasted in a few bites, which was a shame as they were great. Sometimes the pricier burgers can leave you still feeling hungry afterwards, this was definitely not the case in this circumstance.”
“Sometimes you come across little culinary gems in life that at the time really leave an impression on you. I may have found one on this outing folks. This time it wasn’t the pattie, even though it was good and had a lot of those awesome attributes. It was the sweet and sour onions that got my attention – a clear differentiator to other burgers I’ve had recently. I loved the contrast those onions added to the rest of the ingredients in the burger. There were some things I didn’t think that well of: the bun was too big, the chips were a bit average and the burger did need extra some sauce. No matter how good those onions were it still would’ve need more sauce to tak it up a level. Either way a good burger, but heaps of potential.”
“My first bite was nothing but dough. With this much bun I figured this was going to be a filling burger. The beef was pink throughout, very juicy and excellently beefy. There was a quality charr to the outside of the pattie and it had a nice amount of fattiness in it. Swiss cheese is probably one of my favourite cheese for a burger and this really hit the nail on the head. It was beautifully melted but, didn’t melt into the background and stayed bold. I really didn’t mind the bun but it really should’ve been smaller. That, and the lack of aioli/ketchup/mayo (take your pick) both in and outside the burger were the only things I’d hate on in this burger. But if I were around Brighton again getting my Milf on and I got hungry, sure, I’d be back.”
Half Moon on Urbanspoon


Chapel Bar & Bistro

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chapel Bar & Bistro – 147 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand
Burger:
Chapel Beef Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
9 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$19.50 NZD / $15.45 AUD
Summary

Known as “the Local” along Auckland’s trendy Ponsonby Rd, the Chapel is everything you want it to be, when you want it to be. With dim-mood lighting and a roaring fireplace, its the perfect destination to take that special lady friend or, grab some mates and order some of their famous pizzas, have a drink or two and flirt with the waitresses. Their staff in fact are one of the key factors in Chapel’s success. They say that they’re “carefully selected for their knowledge, personality and willingness to go the extra mile.” We in-fact experienced this first hand when we ran into some of the staff that night on a drunken Auckland dance floor. On a rainy NZ day we took our seat outside under the cover of their terrace and ordered the Chapel Burger which came on a soft NZ style bun (becoming a trend now) with caramelised onion, grilled bacon, cheddar cheese, house smoked tomato relish, pickles on the side & hand cut chips.

Comments
“There was a reason no one else was sitting outside; it was about 6 degrees out there and inside it was warm and cosy with music playing. But majority rules and I lost so we sat outside. Research has proven one of the cures to freezing your tits off is a nice burger so luckily this burger eased some of the pain. The beef was packed full of herbs and was highly processed. It reminded me of the kind of beef pattie you get from the supermarket in a BBQ pack actually. Although not the best quality, for some reason if you burn the crap out of it and leave some char, it really tastes ok. The char mixed with the caremalised onions gave a really great combo of sweetness and pepper notes, whilst the thick bacon against the soft bun softened the overall texture. Finally common sense prevailed and we moved inside to start drinking.”
“The burger was cooked evenly and the right amount of seasoning and herbs. The chutney was awesome, but did make the burger very peppery and as a result made every bite taste pretty similar. The onions were sweet and caramelized to perfection. I enjoyed the bacon in the burger but the rocket leaves weren’t doing it any real favours. The hand cut chips really pissed me off and made me hate myself for ordering them because they were too thick and too painful to eat. After the meal I realised that thin fries were an option and I would definitely recommend adding that in your meal combo.”
“This being my 2nd NZ burger, it was interesting to see that they both used pretty much the same sort of buns (claiming these as NZ Burger Buns from now on). As the last place, it was soft as burger buns get. Once you bite into the pattie you definietly notice a bit of spice. Then looking at your burger you saw the multicoloured levels of herbs that are used throughout the mince. My burger wasn’t evenly cooked which was dissapointing: the edges were much more pink than the centre. But I did really enjoy the bacon mixed with smokey chutney. Yes I’ll complain about the chips as well, purely for the fact that “if something ain’t broke don’t fix it” – french fries would’ve done nicely. Overall the burger was good, but I felt like the pattie got a bit lazy and left all of the other ingredients do most of the leg work.”


Jus Burgers

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jus Burgers – 364 Chapel Street, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu Beef Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
5 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$14
Summary

Jus Burgers is a quirky burger bar that does things a little different to its fellow burger chain companions. Already well established in Western Australia – with quite a following – the lads figured it was about time they brought their product to the East Coast. Jus Burgers believe that buying local is best and give a breakdown on their website of where all the ingredients come from in Australia. They praise all their food suppliers, and even big up their architects and designers. Coming over to the dark/cold side is no easy feat, considering how obsessed Melbournians are with their food and drink. But, with W.A recently honouring them with their 3rd Burger of the Year award in a row, surely they’ve got to be doing something right. So after a few grueling minutes deciding on what burger to order, we went for the Wagyu Beef Burger that came with a 100% Victorian Full Blood Wagyu pattie, a Turkish bread roll, wasabi mayo, lettuce, tomato, Spanish onion and relish.

Comments
“After a couple of minutes questioning my sanity and worried that I had finally turned retarded, I realised I wasn’t the only one completely confused by this menu! After asking the pleasant man who looked like he was in charge, he made the decision for us, although we still debated long afterwards on what we should’ve ordered. The burger is really well presented with a knife stabbed into the middle of it. The bun had a crispy outer crust but a soft fluffy inside – more similar to a ciabatta roll than Turkish bread. The beef was nice and crumbly and the wasabi mayo had a nice kick to it, but nothing too overpowering. Altogether a nice burger just not a very memorable one. However, I wouldn’t mind checking out one with The Lot.”
“We got a bit lost in the menu. It felt like it was trying to say too much on one page and it just left us stumped. After a while we just decided to ask the friendly staff for a recommendation. I loved the grilled flavour of the pattie, it didn’t feel like high-end restaurant quality wagyu, but for me it still did the job. The pickle relish was the second hero for me; it just broke up that grill flavour a little bit and reminded me that this is a burger and not just pure meat off the grill with some bread. I do have to note the surgically thin cut tomato slices. They are so much better than a big chunk of tomato that ends up taking as much vertical space in the burger as the pattie. The bun, well I’ll say this, it was better than any other Turkish Buns I have had, but still at the end of the session I was left with 3 bites of it left. The chips were OK. Overall, still better than Grill’d.”
“Choice is nice when you’re at an orgy: not so much at a burger joint. But with staff this friendly the lines are pretty blurry between the two. The Melbournian part of me automatically wanted to dislike this burger. But, honestly it was OK. Not great, but no atrocities committed either, reminding me of a kind of fancy Hungry Jacks. I was hoping for a juicier pattie though, especially when they guarantee Full Blood Wagyu lineage. They won a bunch of points for the wasabi mayo: to me, mayo + a touch of spice in a burger is like crack. I refuse to comment on the Turkish bread saga but will say that I’ve had worse buns. These guys will do alright out of their Melbourne shop, particularly when summer and more Chapel Street tourists roll in. Best Burger in W.A though? I’ll have to take their word for it.”
Jus Burgers (South Yarra) on Urbanspoon


Stokehouse (Downstairs)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Stokehouse (Downstairs) – 30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda,
Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Chargrilled Beef Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$21
Summary

Situated on Melbourne’s famous St Kilda Beach, Stokehouse has been an iconic dining institution in Melbourne for over 20 years. Upstairs you have the ever-booked-out formal dining restaurant with panaromic sea views. Then downstairs is the more relaxed Bar & Grill that’s open every day from midday to midnight. Ideal all year round; an open fire to keep you warm in winter and outdoor seating to watch the colourful world pass you by in the summer. The menu offers plenty of items to share as well as serving pizzas, pastas, steak and of course our order, the Chargrilled Beef Burger. In between a sweet American style bun we discovered a 300 day grain fed beef pattie (minced on site), caramelised onion, melted Hiedi raclette cheese, lettuce, tomato, Paprika aioli & tomato relish. This is all accompanied by a serving of crinkle cut fries.

Comments
“I really have to say this is the closest thing to a “Mexican Burger”. It was just full of flavours that could have just as easily been wrapped in a taco. Not to say this is a bad thing, as the beef pattie was juicy and full of great flavour. The paprika aioli and sweet tomato relish perfectly balanced out the burger and gave it a nice spicy/sweet finish. But if you threw some guacamole in there and grabbed a cerveza, you could be a little bit closer to a Mexican holiday.”
“The first thing that I noticed about this burger was how much it smelt like taco mince. Then to confirm my curiosity it ended up, with certain bites, tasting like taco mince. The sweetness of the relish really balanced out the peppery seasoning of the beautifully cooked beef. The bun started off perfectly and added a whole other level of sweetness to the burger. But after a bit it just disintegrated and the remaining ingredients fell out the bottom. Oh, and I really liked the taps in the bathrooms.”
“What I loved most about this burger was the bun. Yeah sure, I suppose the beef pattie was good too, packed with all sorts of different flavours and spices like cumin and peppery paprika. But what sticks out in my memory is that bun, the sweetness and its almost, “gentleness” was… perfection. I feel like the aioli wasn’t really needed – not that it was too saucy – but I would’ve preferred simple ketchup. The chips were ok.”
“This burger was a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. What I mean is, if you’re going to go all bold, meaty and traditional with your burger – sure lets get messy. But when you’re presenting something a little fancy, with more exotic flavours, then lets keep it together. Not saying I want to eat it with a knife and fork or anything, but let me eat every single part of this new experience without losing most of it to “slide”. Flavourwise, the almost Mexicana take on it just threw me off. Not that it wasn’t a tasty burger, but you’d just have to be in a particular mood for it.”


Tramway Hotel

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tramway Hotel – 165 Rae Street, North Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Tramway Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
9 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$16
Summary

The Tramway Hotel has been on our radar for some time now – even before The Age named it as one of their favourite burgers Victoria has to offer for 2012. But as some of you may know, we don’t always see eye to eye on what The Age considers almighty hamburger greatness. So off to a cosy corner of North Fitzroy we went. The Tramway offers pretty much everything you’d want from your local pub: friendly staff, comfy interior, good choice of beers and an eclectic (but not over the top) dining menu. Perusing the menu you’ll notice a decent portion is taken up by their “Fresh Burger Bar” consisting of 6 different “burger” options catering to both vegetarians and humans. We decided upon their signature Tramway Burger that sits on a Le Madre Bakery Ciabatta burger bun with a Char-grilled ground beef pattie topped with bacon, Swiss cheese, BBQ sauce, tomato relish, aioli, Spanish onion, tomato, and cos lettuce. Our burger also came with chunky hand cut chips with rosemary and bay salt, cooked in cholesterol free cottonseed oil.

Comments
“I’m not really sure how to describe the difference between a juicy burger and a wet burger. But, all I know is this burger was wet. The beef pattie confused the hell out of me – it was seasoned well with herbs, was well cooked through but had no char on it at all and for some reason the cheese didn’t stick to the pattie, instead latching on to the piece of bacon. The bun was great and did its job of containing all the moisture of the burger right through to the end. The home style chips were really good and the venue has a pretty chilled atmosphere.”
“This has been a long time coming for me. There has been a lot of buzz about this burger amongst friends, family and of course, our audience. Now it was my turn to finally decide. It had a generous, thick, great single herb tasting beef pattie, and the Swiss cheese melted nicely combining well with the aioli. Even though I’m not an avid fan of aioli in burgers, I do have to say this aioli was light, non-greasy and had a delicateness about it. Although the bun was tasty, I didn’t think it suited a burger… more of a breakfast roll. The chips were beautifully fluffy on the inside and had a rustic crunch on the out.”
“At first I thought, “Oh here we go, its the fancy bun hour”. Usually when I get into that frame of mind it’s when people try a little too hard with their hamburger and stray from the fact that the meat should be the hero. Saying that though, even with so many ingredients in there, this burger still remained ridiculously balanced. With every mouthful it was hard to determine where the bun started and pattie ended. But maybe a little too balanced – like I said, the meat should still be the standout hero. For 16 bucks with gourmet chips, it wasn’t bad. I think this rather herbie burger is way over hyped though, but I can see how it floats some people’s boats. What I mean is, imagine if Grill’d opened a pub: this would be their signature burger.”
Tramway Hotel on Urbanspoon


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


Igloo Road House (Buxton Burger)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Igloo Road House – 2220 Maroondah Hwy, Buxton, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Buxton Burger
Serviettes:
6
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
33 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$13.80
Summary

About an hour and half north east of Melbourne sits a humble little petrol station where you might pop in for a cheeky snack, a magazine and some Fan Tails for the road. That is, if you’ve never heard of the legend that is the Buxton Burger. The interesting thing is, its home, the Igloo Road House, isn’t really on the way to anything; unless your a sucker for a trout farm. Sure, during the winter there is a tiny bit of skiing that goes on down the road at Lake Mountain, but for a burger to get such critical acclaim from both the general public and Masterchef’s very own big man, Matt Preston, they’ve got to be doing something right. First established in 1946, the Igloo Roadhouse has become a bit of a hang out for car/bike enthusiasts who tackle the infamous stretch of road known as the Black Spur. The speed demons have it all worked out: wind your way to Buxton, smash one of their enormous burgers, then wind your way all the way home letting g-forces aid the digestion. “Tell us more about these goliath burgers”, you say? Well, Igloo Road House does a variety; starting with your typical Burger with The Lot (lettuce, tomato, beetroot, cheese, bacon, onion, egg, ketchup) then, the all famous 13cm tall Buxton Burger (Double The Lot + Pineapple) and then, the 20cm tall Cathedral Burger (Triple The Lot + Pineapple). The crazy part about these burgers is the records that come with them. Last year there were 39,321 people who ate a “normal” burger there. Then there were 4,672 machines who consumed the Buxton Burger, and to finish it off, 527 imbeciles/legends who smashed the Cathedral. The best part is there’s a guy out there who’s demolished a Buxton Burger in about 1 minute 30 seconds – definitely a plaque thats hanging in his den. With an enthralling afternoon of trout fishing ahead of us, we knew we needed to be somewhat limber and not too sleepy. So, we played it safe, ordered 4 of their signature Buxton Burgers and sat in the sun waiting for our demise.

Comments
“I think you first have to ask yourself is it worth the drive! The answer is hell YES. Is it because the burger is that great? I would have to say no. Not that the burger is bad, I just think for me the whole experience of it was enjoying a great drive and amazing scenery, finished up by an iconic burger. Big in size and taste, this doesn’t disappoint if your after a classic takeaway shop burger. A well cooked pattie that was juicy and seasoned just enough. I personally would have liked the egg yolk to be a little runnier for a bit more creaminess. When it first came out I thought the bun was grossly over sized for the burger, but once I dove in I saw the reason behind it. It all really came together well for such a massive burger, which is a good achievement where many fail.”
“So it wasn’t the biggest burger we have eaten, but it was clearly the largest bun we have ever witnessed. I ripped off half the bun before starting, as I didn’t want my first 12 bites to be stomach-filling bread getting in the way of the beef. The beef was ground up and packed tight. It didn’t have much flavour and was of a grey colour, but being completely covered in cheese, egg and bacon, it made up for the lack of flavour. If this was a smaller standard size it would still be a pretty good fish’n'chip style burger. It also presents great value for money considering a number of burgers in the city cost more and, are half the size and of similar flavour.”
“Retrospect is a beautiful thing. It generally gives us a chance to analyse something that occurred in the day, whether we were the cause of it or not and form an opinion on it. When the chance came along to drive 1.5 hours and try the infamous Buxton Burger we pounced. When we finally arrived at the Igloo Roadhouse in Buxton (famous for the Buxton and Cathedral Burger) it felt like a big tick would finally go on my list of burger joints, and this had been haunting me for over 2 years. It almost felt like a right of burger passage to me. Waiting 30 minutes for the Buxton Burger really didn’t bother me as I was fancying the chances of my appetite increasing while we wait. And then, finally the great towering burger arrived. If you don’t know what to expect when you order the Buxton, it’s basically the Lot, just doubled for our greedy pleasure. This Burger was hard to handle, but this beast can be tamed. The pattie was tasty and juicy, the sliced beetroot had it’s place and was ok, the cheese was good, eggs were perfectly cooked with a little bit of run and the Pineapple lasted 3 bites and then had to be taken out. So going back to what I was saying about retrospect. Was it worth the 1.5hr drive, 1 toilet pit stop, 1 petrol refuelling, 1 nature viewing stop and $13.80? Well, it was a burger I really wanted to conquer, and I did. Would I recommend it? Probably not – only unless your a burger fanatic in love with the utterly ridiculous. This burger, sorry to say, felt like any other burger I would get from a burger shop. Chips were good, standard chips, but when combined with chicken salt they become a must.”
“Seriously folks, this is big! That is a full-size dinner plate in the picture and its sitting on it like Hulk Hogan on a tricycle. My first bite was nothing but bread; I ate it, but knew that some different tactics were going to have to be employed in order to smash the whole thing. I wrapped my hands underneath the behemoth – as if I were holding a rocket launcher – and went to town. I left the pineapple in for probably 2 or 3 bites but then realised, why punish myself with such an abominable ingredient, so I tossed it. There was plenty of bacon in this thing, but it was fatty as hell and made for some picking and prodding. The beef patties were sausage-like, fatty and were packed tight. They weren’t bad but nothing great. This is most definitely a once in a life time kind of burger; meaning you probably only ever need to eat one in your life. But saying that, the drive up itself is an incredible experience, so why not pop in for a snack.”