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


Caboose Canteen

Friday, December 16, 2011

Caboose Canteen – 4 City Square, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Caboose Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
8 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$26
Summary

Smack bang in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD with the erratic foot traffic of Swanston St at its door, you’ll find Caboose Canteen. Living next door (for added protection one thinks) to its sister eateries Three Below and La Vita Buono, it differentiates and prides itself on being a place for local CBD workers to enjoy a hearty meal during/after their daily grind. After a few tweets and photos sent our way we thought we ought to get the inside scoop on the Caboose Burger before their no.1 fans, the Occupy Melbourne protesters, took it mainstream. Before us sat a familiar looking Caboose Burger that came on a toasted sesame brioche bun with chopped wagyu steak, tomato relish, barbecue sauce, lettuce and a side of fries.

Comments
“I’ll get it out of the way, but damn it was cold inside this place. It wasn’t even that cold an evening. Anyhow, the meat pattie seemed to be cooked really well and tended to remind me more of a classic meatball than anything else. There was a nice bit of spice throughout the meat that I’d have to put down to paprika or diced chilli. Seeing more and more of this style of brioche bun popping up in restaurants lately means that it must be a hit. For me it worked a treat – it was tasty and most important of all held everything together for some nice consistent bites. ”
“An immediate but really nice kick of spice to this burger, with a chilli paste on the top bun and then with some mixed through the beef. But to me this is where the creativity and uniqueness ends: it had the same brioche bun that many kitchens are using at the moment, it had good size beef pattie but it was cooked a little too long and the lettuce and tomato eventually turned to mush resulting in a loss of flavour drowning out the spiciness. Being served in a saucepan (not a warm one or anything) instead of a plate is a bit of a wank to me, and I dont think it justifies the price tag as it doest compete with similar priced burgers in the immediate vicinity.”
“A simple burger that in my opinion works well as an inner-city lunch time burger. It had a well flavoured wagyu pattie made up of a good blend of high-quality meat and spices. The brioche bun delivered that beloved sweetness that I love. The relish was well balanced with sweet and spice combined with the barbeque sauce to add some smokiness to each bite. Not too much green worked for me; just a simple leaf and a thin slice of tomato that didn’t effect my meal at all. Chips were good, but did need some salt.”
“At first I thought it was a crazy case of deja vu. “Didn’t we already eat this at Newmarket Hotel?”, I kept thinking as I was shooting the familiar looking burger. Putting that aside I delved in and discovered that this leans to the class of a “Burger Remix” – a modern take on a classic burger. And it wasn’t an abrupt remix that created substantial waves in its burger soul. The chopped wagyu pattie was peppery, hinted at chorizo and was pretty darn good. My bun did a “C+” job of keeping things together though, because by the end of the meal I was left with a bunch of it sitting on my plate. Overall it was good, but I’ve got this incredible gripe with the guys for not going out on a limb and creating a burger thats more unique to Caboose Canteen. Newmarket virtually already do the same burger and honestly, on the occasions we’ve visited, its been a juicier, more tender and more fitting burger. They are, for one, a So-Cal Mexican restaurant, so it makes perfect sense for them to serve such a burger. Don’t get me wrong, the burger was good, but for Caboose to use it perplexed me a bit. I’d say go back to the drawing board, look at what your brand represents and create something for yourselves. Chances are it could be awesome.”
Caboose on Urbanspoon


Ol’ School Fish ‘N’ Chips

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ol’ School Fish ‘N’ Chips – 566 Brunswick St,
Fitzroy North, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Hamburger plus cheese, egg, bacon
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
15 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$10.50
Summary

When you arrive, what greets you is an imposing black exterior that leads inside to a large feature wall covered in graffiti, and judging by the chill dudes behind the counter, it was probably graffed by them. Its the kind of place where you’ll find most locals ordering by just walking in, nodding and saying “The usual thanks”. They may be “New School” by appearence but its in their methods of cooking that the “Ol’ School” part of their name really becomes apparent. Of highest praise amidst the neighbourhood are their chips, which are hand-cut and deep fried for just the right amount of time, making them nice and crunchy. Chips aside they offer a pretty familiar Fish’n’Chip shop menu, ranging from battered fish to Chiko rolls. We, of course, went for the Hamburger of 100% Angus Beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, a sesame-seed bun, and then added cheese, egg and bacon for good measure.

Comments
“This is one of the biggest and thickest beef patties I’ve had on a Fish ‘n’ Chip style burger. The beef was ground really tight which made for a dense and rough texture. Nothing really stood out about this burger either good or bad. It was exactly what you would expect from a Fish ‘n’ Chip Shop and served its purpose well: you’re hungry and it fills you up. With Danny’s around the corner I’m guessing most people come here for the fish and not the burger, however, the chips were great.”
“Just a straight-up, uncomplicated, unpretentious, basic Fish’ N’ Chip Shop burger. The pattie was simple and well-seasoned, and the cheese was nicely melted and creamy. The bun was just a traditional burger bun that was slightly burnt, but still didn’t take away from the burger. All and all a good Fish ‘n’ Chip experience by a crew that were hospitable and a killer dress sense that you would find in a Beastie Boys video clip circa 1992 – keep it up lads! Chips were good; nice, crispy and well seasoned.”
“In a world full of goody two-shoes 99% fat-free wanabe gourmet burgers, these guys are like Lex Luthor. From the get-go you know what you’re about to consume will be a classic burger that most of us would’ve grown up ordering with a dimmy and potato cake. The only difference with these guys is that they’ve gone for a higher quality Angus beef pattie – which would probably explain the New School Fish ‘N’ Chip price. But it is what it is. The beef was simple and flavoursome but could’ve been cooked a little rarer. It had a sweetish note to it too, like it had been cooked with soy sauce or ketchup. Although my cheese wasn’t melted, which is usually a turn off for me, the flavour that it produced when mixed with the egg was so superbly creamy. I would’ve loved to have seen the egg a little runnier, but on the plus side it resulted in a pretty “mess free, no sliding bun” kind of meal. Overall quite enjoyable, especially coupled with their killer chips.”
Ol' School Fish 'N' Chips on Urbanspoon


Pop Burger

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pop Burger – 14 E 58th St, Midtown East, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
Pop Burgers
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$12 USD
Summary

Located in one of the most iconic locations in New York City, opposite the Apple flagship store, FAO Shwartz toy store and adjacent the Plaza hotel and Central Park, Pop Burger offers up 6,000 square feet of designer eating and drinking space split over 3 levels. On the ground level you’ll find the takeout counter and casual seating. Go one level up and there’s the lounge with table service. Then on the 3rd floor is another bar with a pool table. So all-in-all they are catering to practically everyone from holidaying families to the hungry/thirsty after work crowd. They’ve even got the capability to throw up-market large scale events with their very own full-time Event Director. Owner and famed New York restauranteur Roy Liebenthal talks about where the POP burger concept came from saying, “Warhol is my favorite artist. What I liked about him was, he was all about commercial consumption and the ordinary object. It wasn’t only for the intellectual financial elites. That’s what I find exciting about Pop Burger, is creating a product that everybody across cultures—depending on where their finances are – everybody likes Pop Burger.” So I ventured upstairs to the Lounge to see if I would love it as much as he does. I ordered the Pop Burgers that came with lettuce, tomato and American cheese, all on mini brioche buns with a side of onion rings.

Comments
“On a very rainy, wet and miserable day, Pop Burger came to the rescue. To escape the rain and to chill out for a while we decided to head past the Andy Warhol lined downstairs restaurant and venture upstairs to lounge about on one of their large couches. The only thing better than one burger is three burgers. Even though they were mini, they still packed a huge amount of flavour. The beef, being so small, was cooked a little more than I like and was a little charred, but the brioche style bun held it all together perfectly. I’d love to see these guys add a regular sized burger to their menu, as I think, with a bit of tender love throughout the cooking process, it could be simply amazing. The wait staff were also extremely friendly, constantly refilling my coke. And as many of you know, I’m a simple man and free refills are one of my favourite things in the world.”
Pop Burger on Urbanspoon


Yellow Bird

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yellow Bird – 122 Chapel Street, Windsor, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Yellow Bird Chilli Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$16
Summary

Yellow Bird is an eclectic restaurant/cafe/bar that attracts all walks of life. From the fixie riding hipsters, struggling writers, artists and musicians, people with beards, people with pug dogs, fashionistas and everyone in between. Wherever you decide to sit; inside with the bird cages, vintage furniture and band posters (that are for sale) or outside, you will be in one of Melbourne’s greatest people-watching spots. Especially catering for those cats that wear sunglasses at night, the bar is open until 1am and the kitchen until 10pm. Locals wont shutup about their breakfast burritos and modern-australian take on mexican food. But as usual we had to look past them all and go for the Yellow Bird Chilli Burger that came with a spicy ground beef patty, jalapenos, tasty cheese, red onion, tomato, bacon, rocket, chutney and a side of fries.

Comments
“When I first walked in and sat down I started to think, “What sort of ill thought-out and slapped together meal am I going to get by a place exclusively staffed by groovy Chapel St hipsters!!” I was quick to find out that it was actually a pretty damn good one. It turned out to be one of probably the best versions of a chilli burger I’ve had, without trying too hard to be different. The subtle balance of the jalapeno chillies and the raisin filled chutney really work well with the thick beef pattie. The really great thing about this burger is that it packs enough of a punch to let you know your eating chilli, but not too much to let you forget you actually ordered a burger.”
“The appearance of this burger is very deceptive. As it arrived at our table it just looked like your stock standard take on the traditional burger, with a sesame seed bun, pattie, lettuce, bacon and cheese all visible to the eye. It’s only when you bite into the burger that it really comes to life; hiding under the sumptuous piece of beef are some fiery jalepenos that give a great kick once bitten but don’t linger around too much longer. Then to keep the surprises coming you are hit by the very sweet chutney with raisins that’s spread on top of the pattie. I probably would have preferred this burger just as a pure spicy burger rather than adding the contrasting sweetness of the relish. A simple dollop of ketchup would’ve done me just fine.”
“What impressed me most about this burger was the casualness of it. No it didn’t dress in baggy jeans and call me “dude”, it was just the manner in which it was presented and served on a plate – zero pretentiousness. And, for a burger served on Chapel St (aka wank central) that is saying a lot. It was a good thick pattie, the jalapeno chillies in the burger were great and the chutney worked well in balancing out the flavours. I’m normally not that crazy about raisins in my food, but they did work well in the chutney. Nice thinly cut red onion with well-prepared bacon was another plus with just the right amount of rocket leaves. I personally did have to add some ketchup to it all and yes, the fries were good.”
“I was about to pull out the iPhone and take a hipstamatic shot of the burger, until D slapped me in the face, reminded me that I use a Blackberry and we were here for business. This burger was, in one word, “good”. The chefs have kept everything relatively simple. I always enjoy a good ol’ kaiser bun and the addition of jalapenos are always welcome. The lightly seasoned ground beef patty was on the money; even with it’s coarse texture it was still very light, almost on the delicate side. Where it lost out with me was the raisin filled chutney. It was almost like too many pussies complained that it was too spicy for them and they needed to add something extra to calm down their oh-so-mortified tastebuds. Or who knows, maybe its just more added wank factor that we see more often than not. Don’t get me wrong, the chutney (as a chutney on its own) was fine. But next thing you know they’ll be adding quince paste to burgers.”
Yellow Bird Cafe on Urbanspoon


Kodiak Club

Friday, September 9, 2011

Kodiak Club – 272 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Kodiak Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$17.50
Summary

Down the uber trendy end of Brunswick St, Melbourne – ok who are we kidding the whole street is so frkn hipster it hurts – you’ll find the all American inspired Kodiak Bar. Taking a page out of “Anytown U.S.A” bar culture, Kodiak’s menu dishes out a range of modern, regional American bar food, as well as priding themselves on being Melbourne’s prime destination for American Whisky and Bourbon. Open Wedensday through Sunday ’til the wee hours of the night, its the perfect cosy nook you’re looking for on a chill Melbourne night, especially if its bacon infused bourbon that you’re craving. After getting a little too excited about the rest of their mouthwatering menu we settled on the Kodiak Burger which came with 2 grass fed beef patties, cheese, dill pickles, onions and Woodford Reserve mayo on a sesame seed bun, served with beer-battered onion rings.

Comments
“I really have to to say it was an epic wait for this burger to come out of the kitchen. But was it worth the wait…? Well I could go either way. It was really a very up and down burger. The bun and cheese get my thumbs up, and the onion rings were great. Everything else in the burger was just ok, even though I did like the fact that there were two thinner patties instead of one thick one. The biggest question mark over this burger however was the Woodford mayo. I think there was a little to much bourbon in the mayo making it a bit over powering and less of a complement. Would love to revisit Kodiak in a couple of month to see if things have changed.”
“If in 63 minutes you think you’re going to be hungry, I would recommend ordering now. Otherwise prepare to starve for 63 minutes! Now onto the burger.. the first bite was overpowering due to the really strong mayo and sour pickle. So I tried a different strategy: I scraped off as much of the way too strong and inconvenient mayo and added ketchup. I love the site of two beef patties but I would have preferred the same amount of meat, just in a single, more juicy pattie as opposed to two drier, thinner and charred ones. I love the idea and theme behind the bar but I know that the yanks wouldn’t be happy waiting that long, and probably would have glassed a few hipsters at the bar in frustration.”
“When seeing the waiter bringing you this burger from afar you can tell this burger will not require any dessert after inhaling it. It is a great looking burger with some great features: double beef patties, brioche bun and oozing cheese – loved them all. What I think let it down a little was the mayo, it was good, but you can have too much of a good thing sometimes and in this instance there was way too much of it. In my eyes the Kodiak was operating as a bar first and as a restaurant second. What I mean is, the burger took almost an hour to come out and the music was loud, I mean LOUD. I like the theme music to Top Gun too, but that volume was uncalled for if you are trying have people eat. I would like to go back again though, it is the right environment for a burger and beers. Onion rings were great.”
“Ok, so it was good, but I think they tried too hard. I understand that the mayo made the burger different and unique to their famed Bourbon bar but I would’ve honestly preferred it to have been be a more traditional mayonaisse. If I’d been partying with bourbon all night, the last thing I would want to taste for my hangover cure is more Bourbon. I dont think that the the Woodford Mayo had been reduced enough. I was a big fan of the brioche bun, creamy cheese, and the subtle point of difference using the double patties. I would be adding bacon to this burger next time I go so it packs a little more saltiness though. So no serious crimes committed on this one; the wait time was shit and the mayo wasn’t excellent (points for effort though), but that’d be an easy fix which will have me coming back… maybe for some Bacon Bourbon and Buffalo Wings.”
The Kodiak Club on Urbanspoon