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.”


Coin Laundry

Friday, February 24, 2012

Coin Laundry – 61 Armadale St, Armadale, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu Beef Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$18.50
Summary

Located in Armadale: an affluent, normally sleepy pocket of Melbourne, Coin Laundry has become quite the drawcard. If you’ve visited the area before you’d know its mostly residential with the odd antique or craft paper store thrown into the mix. Now (well, since late 2010), thanks to Matt Vero and Steve Rowley, when cool cats think Armadale they think Coin Laundry. They’ve given both locals and the more serious coffee addicts across Melbourne an awesome place to kick back, enjoy a delicious breakfast and the chance to listen to some toffy convo’s about “little Madison’s dance recital”. The menu has its hoity toity moments but with breakfast until 3pm, you know the guys running it are pretty chilled and if you want just a plate of bacon, I’m sure they’d understand. At some point last year, on a gloomy hungover morning, we were pleasantly informed by one of their award winning barista’s that we should definitely give their Wagyu Beef Burger a crack. It took us a couple months, but finally we got down there to order it. On a rustic wooden board out came a toasted brioche bun with a Wagyu beef pattie, beetroot relish, aioli, tomato, lettuce, cheddar cheese and some handcut chips*.
*Since our review the guys have swapped out the handcut chips to french fries with secret seasoning.

Comments
“Never has loitering outside a laundromat and train station ever been so worth the wait. Arriving on a fresh, soft and slightly sweet bun the Coin Laundry burger lives up to the good word that seems to be going around. The Beef pattie was well seasoned and quite juicy. The beetroot relish is great and goes really well with those pickles, adding a nice tangy zing. The hand cut fat chips were good, but still prefer shoestring fries.”
“One of my only pet peeves in life is restaurants and cafes that don’t serve Coke; its the only thing I want to drink with my food. Whether it’s a late breakfast, a burger or high end dining, it is best accompanied by a glass of Coke. OK rant over. This burger was a lot less delicate than I expected: the beetroot worked quite well with the slightly overcooked beef but when it came to the cheese, it overpowered it. The bun was wonderfully fresh, soft and sweet. I’m not a fan of thick cut potatoes pretending to be fancy chips but with the added chutney dip, they weren’t too bad. The wait staff were friendly, considering it was a Sunday and knowing the area well, the demographic of customers can definitely be of the difficult and snobbish variety.”
“If this place still had washing machines and dryers hidden at the back of the cafe, I’d get a lot more serious about my laundry routine. No more recycling smelly shirts and airing them outside my window for a second chance at life before I wash. One drunken outing and straight to the laundry! Having this dream crushed by reality is sad, but something I have to come to terms with in due course. But in the meantime I can only dream. OK, to business – I loved the beetroot relish combined with the shredded pickle, both worked well. The pattie was tasty and juicy. The cheese was good and added that sharpness to the meal. Overall the right amount of greens involved and the bun was soft and sweet. The burger was served with tomato relish, but I don’t think it was needed. Potato wedge-things were good.”
“These guys are setting the standard as far as “Cafe Burgers” go. Fingers crossed, but if most places could look to Coin Laundry as a starting point, no longer would we be dealing with the “Turkishbread4abun” epidemic. Its quite rare for me to enjoy a burger when there’s beetroot involved, so for my plate to be left with nothing but burger sauce and the waitresses phone number, it must mean something good is taking place. The beef pattie was nice and juicy, but maybe a little too light for my liking – the minor downside to Wagyu. Overall a really good burger and now, hearing about french fries being added to it, I’ll be coming back in no time.”
Coin Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon


T.G.I Friday’s Yokohama

Tuesday, January 24, 2012
T.G.I Friday’s Yokohama – Yokohama Ekimae Bldg. 1F, 1-1-13 Kitasaiwai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Japan (神奈川県横浜市西区北幸1丁目1−13)
Burger:
Ultimate Jack Daniels Burger
Serviettes:
8
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
30 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
¥2090/$25.80 AUD/$27.04 USD
Summary

Wherever you visit T.G.I’s around the globe, whether its in Melbourne, Mumbai or Moscow, you know you’ll be getting a heluva generous meal. Since first opening in New York City in 1965, they’ve now expanded to over 700 restaurants in 54 countries and are ever growing – much like their regular’s waistlines. Two impressive feats inlcude serving over 19.8 million hamburgers worldwide and inventing the concept of “Happy Hour”. With all that in mind, after spending half the day checking out the city and then joining the Kirin Brewery tour, all that was fueling us for our fateful encounter with T.G.I’s Yokohama was no more than (FREE) beer and peanuts. As we stumbled out onto the street, drunk on hunger and amber liquid, all we knew was that we needed to eat – stat. A quick cab ride and we were staring at the famous red and white stripes of T.G.I’s ready to inhale anything on a plate. Best idea ever – the Ultimate Jack Daniel’s Burger – consisted of a hamburger bun with 2 beef patties glazed in Jack Daniel’s sauce, Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, red onion, lettuce, tomato, stacked onion rings and a side of fries with extra Jack Daniel’s sauce in case you feel like the burger’s million calories just aren’t enough.

Comments
“Wow. There’s nothing to say here but this monstrosity was a mission in itself. Because of the Jack Daniel’s sauce and onion rings it turned out to be a very, very sweet burger. Too sweet in fact for such a big burger. The whole thing became a huge mess really. I’m sure you could use a knife and fork to keep it together, but really… who uses a knife and fork!”
“I have never been so hungry in my life! After a full day of walking around (getting lost), not eating and drinking free beer, we naively thought that we would tackle the largest burger on TGI’s menu. I guess my stomach had shrunk in size as I really struggled to get through half of it! The beef was a little overcooked for my liking but the crunch of the onion rings contrasted well with the rest of the burger. Then the sweetness of what tasted like maple syrup covered bacon and Jack Daniel’s sauce caught up with me, and with a lot of reluctance I couldn’t finish the beast. I’d also like to note that drinking 3 litres of Pepsi (the novelty of free refills never wears off) didn’t benefit my chances of finishing this behemoth…”
“What were we thinking when we were ordering the most ridiculous, unnecessary burger on the menu? What was meant to be a nice dinner time filler, suddenly became an episode of Man V Food. The double pattie was a bit dry, but still tasty. I even added more Jack Daniel’s sauce which, as a consequence made the burger intensely sweet. Then add on top of that all of the maple syrup covered bacon – maybe I did go a bit overboard? The chips were good, but I didn’t get the chance to enjoy them due to the monster burger we ordered. Word of advice if you’re in Yokohama and you order this thing, “Be afraid”. Oh, and unlike B & D, yes I did eat all of the burger.”
“When this thing came out I wasn’t sure whether to laugh, cry or just walk out. This really was the biggest burger I’ve ever attempted to eat. It stood there smugly, all high and mighty and proud of itself, but that’s as far as it went. The beef and bacon were OK, but the overall taste was as if the Lollypop Gang and Oompa Loompa armies joined forces and were invading my tastebuds – diabetes much? I cleverly avoided liquids and picked strategically at the chips because there was no way I was letting this sucker take me down. At one point I lost the top bun somewhere and ended up having to grasp it all in both hands and mould it together as if it were a giant meatball. Did I succeed? You bet you’re ass I did, and I’ve never felt more ashamed.”


Speakeasy

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Speakeasy – 359 Chapel Street, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Speakeasy Beef Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$18
Summary

With a narrow entrance on Chapel St, it is easy to miss the Speakeasy, but if you know where to look, the white welcoming décor and the front wooden communal table make it easy to pin point. With more room in the back, there is good potential to cater for larger crowds and the outside terrace also makes it easier to enjoy the upcoming summer rays and down a few bevvies with mates. The menu is quite simple, catering to all tastes and cravings, from pork to duck, to vege and fish – they’ve got breakfast, lunch and dinner covered. Having been open for a few months, and creating a bit of buzz around Melbourne, Speakeasy is on its way to contradicting its namesake. We sat down for lunch one lazy Sunday afternoon and ordered the Speakeasy Beef Burger which came on a glazed brioche bun with a beef pattie, cheese, lettuce, ketchup, mayonnaise and fat cut chips.

Comments
“It all started with a great brioche bun, a delicious classic ketchup and mayo combo, and then a well cooked pattie that tasted a little bit like a rissole, even sausage mince at times. The cheese was tasty, but why wasn’t ours melted? As far as Chapel St burgers go, this place has the potential to own them all.”
“First off, they unfortunately broke one of the cardinal sins in making a burger, not melting the cheese on the pattie. Then to rub salt into the wounds, I saw another patrons burger come out 15 minutes later with the cheese perfectly melted and oozing onto the plate. That aside the beef was cooked really well, with the right amount of juice that (combined with the mayo) created a delicious compliment. It was a shame about the cheese as this burger has the potential to be the best on or around Chapel St. I never have been nor will I ever be, a fan of fancy big cuts of chips, they’re just not fluffy on the inside when they are that big!”
“This burger had no real standouts, however still delivered a good feed. The bun was fluffy, sweet and soft, but did brake one of the most epic burger rules – “thou shall not use bun with larger radius than pattie”. That aside the pattie was seasoned well and cooked to a good standard. The mayo and cheese worked well, with the cheese adding a nice saltiness helping it to stand out. For once there wasn’t a whole lot of greenery, which is good. The fat chips were cooked alright, but I’m still not convinced I like them. Helpful tip I picked up from D – cut fat chips longways, that way it cools quicker and are easier to eat.”
“Such a real shame that this thing came out with un-melted cheese. Not only would’ve that help melt my heart, but there would have been some “tight pants” in the house. My bun was spot on; it was glazed well and even though there was a little too much of it, I wasn’t left with a whole lot of it on my plate once I’d gotten through the pattie. Speaking of which, was nicely pink in the centre, quite tasty and had a significant amount of “rissole-ness” to it. The cheese tasted a lot like an aged cheddar and really was excellent. It had a sharp, distinct flavour that isn’t the norm for a burger in these parts of Chapel St. I did enjoy this but screw you guys for giving us some serious food envy with everyone else’s burger looking a billion times more awesome.”
Speakeasy Kitchen Bar on Urbanspoon