Bess

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bess – 105 Swan Street, Richmond, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Bess Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$22
Summary

Stepping through Bess’ front doors is like being teleported straight into the heart of Paris. With a classic black and white chequerboard floor, cane seats and, mood lighting that’d make Julia Gillard look like Miranda Kerr, it’ll take a friendly “Hello” to bring you back to Melbourne. Owners Katie Krauss-Mitchell and Brendon Mitchell (formerly of Prahran Gastropub Hotel Max), have breathed new life into this Victorian without killing any of its century old romance. Their French/Belgian/European inspired menu draws from the pages of their own experience living and traveling abroad, offering dishes such as duck breast, spaghetti marinara, suckling pig and jamon croquettes. We of course ordered the Bess burger that came included a brioche bun, a 100% Cape Grim beef pattie, cheese, gherkin, iceberg lettuce, bacon & a side of fries.

Comments
“I like this place, I like this burger – I honestly can’t fault it one bit. The burger came out perfectly presented with the fries served in an unpretentious brown paper bag. There was a nice chunky piece of beef, cooked perfectly containing a tonne of juice and flavour. It had a really sharp slice of cheese over the top (which overpowered the ham but who cares), and a nice slice of pickle underneath it resulting in plenty of taste until the last bite. Bess is a really nice restaurant with really nice, well informed wait staff and, has a delightful ambience. This is why I was surprised at how quiet it was – but it is footy season and I guess there was a game on down the road at the MCG. If I ever asked out a girl from north of the river (and she agreed to be seen in public with me), I would definitely take her here.”
“The Cape Grim beef pattie stole the show in my book. It was beautifully cooked, with a very delicate texture and a nice hint of smokiness. The menu states the burger comes with bacon, but for some reason we received our burgers with thin ham slices. The ham was OK, but I really would like to have experienced the saltiness of the bacon in the burger. I think it would have worked, but to be honest I really didn’t miss it. The gherkins delivered that fresh crunchiness to the burger that I so love. And, I don’t often say this, but I really liked the prep the kitchen did with the Iceberg Lettuce – taking something that is bland and cutting it delicately and mixing it in with the mayo, proving that Iceberg lettuce can be good in a burger (especially when fresh). Fries were good, loved the extra touch they add in serving it in a branded paper bag.”
“This burger came out looking sexy. So sexy in fact that I had it unhooked, unzipped and with its skirt on the floor. By “skirt” I mean the cute paper bag that the chips came housed in. Nice effect, but those babies needed to be free to absorb all of my (burger’s) juices. Now when I say that this thick Tasmanian pattie was cooked to perfection, I really want to stress that word: perfection. Two of my favourite things in the world are pink: one is the centre of a gloriously cooked pattie, the other is my favourite kind of midnight snack. The bun was sweet, tended to tear apart a bit, but still did a good job of keeping everything together. Something else that made me smile was the integration of the shredded lettuce and shredded gherkin. You didn’t know where one began and the other ended, forming like Voltron to become one ingredient. My only “wtf” was the use of a basic ham instead of the anticipated bacon. Did they run out of bacon? Do they not serve bacon on Sundays? Who knows? All I know is that if the Bess Burger was this enjoyable without it, then with it… Wow!”
Bess Richmond on Urbanspoon


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


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


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


Kua’aina Burger

Thursday, October 20, 2011
Kua’Aina Burger – Maison du Yuu Bldg. 1F, 1-10-4 Shibuya,
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (東京都渋谷区渋谷1丁目10−4)
Burger:
Avocado Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
¥1080/$13.60 AUD/$14.06 USD
Summary

Say it like this: “Koo-a eye-na”. It basically means redneck/hick/bogan, depending on where you come from, but for native Hawaiians it refers more to those who actively live Hawaiian culture and keep the spirit of the land alive. So by now you would’ve guess that this burger joint is in fact originally Hawaiian. With 2 locations in Obama’s home-town, 1 in London and a whopping 15 across Japan, it’s safe to say the Hawaiian-Japanese relationship has moved on since Pearl Harbour. As you walk in you can’t help but notice the “Hawaii-ness” (it’s a word, look it up) of the place. Lining the walls are surfboards, photos and memorabilia from it’s 35 year history including shots of the original owners and even some of the main man himself, President Barack Obama- we hear he’s a big fan! So if it’s good enough for him you’re darn right it’s good enough for us. Along with their burger selections you’ll find a tonne of different sandwiches ranging from East Coast favourites like Pastrami and Roast Beef, to the more tropical Mahi Mahi and Teri Chicken. We asked our friendly Hawaiian shirt wearing cook what burger Obama enjoys most and so we went for their famous Avocado Burger. It came on a Kaiser Roll with a char-grilled 1/3 pound U.S beef pattie, butter lettuce, avocado, mayo, herb butter and a grilled onion.

Comments
“When you first think of having a burger in Japan the last thing you think of is a Hawaiian burger chain. But I thought, “Hey… nothing in Japan had managed to disappoint me yet”. What they offer is a really simple burger, add avocado and turn it into a suprisingly awesome creation. My charcoaled beef pattie was well cooked, but I thought a tiny bit dry. With only mayo in the burger the grilled onion added the sweetness you need and the avocado gives the burger a creaminess like you can’t even begin to imagine.”
“I absolutely loved this burger! So much so i had it twice. Was I even hungry the second time around?- No. Was it my 16th burger for the trip?- Yes. Do i want one now?- Yes! I’m honestly disappointed in myself that I have never had avocado in a burger before this, but it’s subtle flavour and texture just compliment the beef so well. They also used one of the best burger buns I’ve had: it was soft and fluffy but still strong enough to keep everything in tact.”
“When I heard we were going to a Hawaiian burger joint, my first reaction was pineapples on burgers and Ukulele themed music in store. I know I was pigeon holing the whole experience, but I’m a “glass half-empty” type of guy. Oh boy was I wrong about this place. The Hawaiian theming that went on in there wasn’t too intense; they just kept true to its Hawaiian roots in a tasteful manner, even playing Hawaiian online radio. More importantly, the burger was great. My pattie was on the dry side but made up for it with seasoning that was spot on and a nice char-grill flavour. The generous amount of avocado mixed nicely with the mayo to add a nice creaminess to each bite. The char-grilled onion slice did add a nice sweetness and crunch to each bite. I do recommend having it with the Ginger Ale and ordering the chips which, are semi-skinned, double-fried and F’n amazing.”
“Holy Ben Affleck I loved this. The meat was flame-grilled, filling it with that supreme charcoal goodness. It was pinky in the centre and cooked the best way possible. The tomato was brilliant as was the Kaiser bun. The perfectly ripe, seasoned avocado ended up acting like a creamy butter throughout the whole experience, making me think you probably wouldn’t even need to add cheese to this bad boy. Never having added avocado in a burger before made this the ultimate in cherry popping – I even cried like a true first timer. Seriously good burger.”


Trunk Diner

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Trunk Diner – 275 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
8.5 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$13.50
Summary

As a baby brother to Trunk Restaurant & Bar, Trunk Diner caters for the more casual breakfast/lunchtime crowds. Their menu does its best to soak in the values from a traditional American diner (with some SoCal influences) offering everything from eggs, waffles, quesadillas and of course, apple pie. Stepping away from all that Americana nostalgia however, you’ll find yourself waiting for your order in what only can be described as.. a shed. But don’t worry about feeling claustrophobic in there, the walls are clear plastic cafe blinds that do their bit to keep nature out and your food on your plate. On a warm day the seat of the house is in their courtyard, allowing for excellent people watching whilst soaking in some warm rays. We took our places “inside”, looked over all the sauces lined up on the table (home-style ketchup, BBQ and El Yucateco), and proceeded to order The Burger that came with 175grams of fresh ground Wagyu beef (cooked medium-rare) on a grilled brioche bun, baby cos lettuce, Spanish onion, thick cut tomato and house-made pickles. There are plenty of extras you can throw into the mix (for a small price) with 3 different cheeses, jalapenos and guacamole to name a few. We kept with the all-American theme and went with the crispy bacon, Monterey Jack and a side of fries.

Comments
“This pint sized burger really packed a punch and it was quite surprising how filling it actually was. After adding the sides of fresh lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles, I also gave it a good dollop of the house-made tomato sauce. It was awesome and looking back I probably didn’t even need to add the tomato. The bacon was well cooked adding just that little bit more texture and the Monterey Jack cheese was melted perfectly into the thick and juicy pattie.”
“I got a little excited and ate the pickle by itself before giving it a chance in the burger. I’ve learnt my lesson and will add it next time; it would have suited the burger amazingly. A great little compact burger that for me was very neat and tidy. The bacon added a great crunch and the cheese melted well into the beef to add a touch of creaminess. The fries came with possibly the best home made tomato sauce ever – none of this fancy tomato salsa shit, just good old-fashioned home-style dead horse.”
“This burger is surprisingly filling; what looks like a small’ish burger really does fill you up. The pattie is fantastic – good amount of thickness, juicy and nicely pink in the middle topped with some nice melted cheese. The pattie was so tasty I could have had it on its own. On the side you’ve got a great tasting slither of pickle, a nice cut of lettuce, red onions cut into rings and a slice of tomato that was slightly too thick. I plan on going back again to try it with some caramelised onions. Chips were OK.”
“My ears pricked up as soon as I heard the sound of a cute American girl behind the grill – an excellent sign. After some anticipation and after all the recommendations we’ve had, it had arrived. In short , the bun was perfect. It soaked in the juices nicely, but then left enough to ooze out onto your chips below. The overall flavour throughout the burger was flame-grilled utter beefiness. As for the extras, I honestly even forgot I added bacon.. so I’d probably skip it next time. The Monterey Jack was good and tasted alot like a bold cheddar, but I think I would’ve preferred the gruyere to add even more creaminess. Like the others have noted, the homemade ketchup and pickles were both ridiculously good. It looks like I’ll have to go back again to try and find the perfect combo of additions (I’m thinking gruyere and caramelised onions), but frankly this is the kind of burger you could have as simple as: Bun, Beef and Sauce. Some fantastic work by the Trunk team. Do believe the hype.”
Trunk Diner on Urbanspoon


Jones the Grocer

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Jones The Grocer – 1341 DANDENONG RD, CHADSTONE
(CHADSTONE SHOPPING CENTRE), VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
Burger:
Jones Wagyu Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$16
Summary

In 1996, in the prominent Syndey suburb of Woollahra, Jones the Grocer opened their flagship store. Recognising a new growth in café culture they sought out to offer their customers fantastic service and produce (like a great café), but then also sold all their produce for use in everyday living (like deli). So when Chadstone Shopping Centre went through an epic makeover in 2009 they looked to Jones The Grocer for something new and different that many shoppers hadn’t yet experienced. The big glass structure that is Jones the Grocer Chadstone is hard to miss when trying to find a park. Feel free to browse their produce like fresh bread, cured meats, international jams and most notoriously, the cheeses in the their walk in cheese room. But, if you can’t wait to get home to try your purchases you can always dine in. Jones’ menu caters for both the early risers and the afternoon shoppers offering everything from traditional breakfasts, all the way to freshly prepared baguettes, pasta, risottos and salads for lunch. Most importantly of course is the Jones Wagyu burger. It comes with a Wagyu beef pattie, bacon, lettuce, gruyere, Jones bois boudran sauce and olive oil chips. Now all thats left to do is decide whether you prefer this or Capital Kitchen’s Cheeseburger just around the corner.

Comments
“I wasn’t sold on this burger. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I think I was personally a little let down by the beef pattie. I thought the beef was a little pasty, somewhat like sausage mince. Not to say that it actually tasted like that (even though so many others do). In the end you could tell the beef was of good quality and taste, but it just wasn’t the kind of pattie I like. All other ingredients were fresh and well proportioned. I particularly enjoyed the bun and fries.”
“A small and well proportioned burger. The beef was a little charred for my liking but its still had a great crumble and flavour to it. On the top bun you had the ketchup and on the bottom there was possibly one of the best mayos I’ve ever tasted. To finish it off it had perfect presentation with a fancy dollop of sauce on the side for the chips. I’d advise not ordering if you are on your lunch break from work; this place is catered towards the ladies who stop by during/after shopping and are in no rush..”
“Overall a good lunch time burger. However, there is one condition: you have to wait 15-25min for your burger to arrive (service can be a bit slow, but that’s ok because the final product is worth it). I wasn’t a fan of the chips cooked in olive oil – some of them were too greasy and heavy. The positives included a light, small and very easy to manage bun, a light and well cooked pattie, perfect bacon, a very tasty and nicely melted gruyere and just the right amount of carefully selected lettuce leaves.”
“The sauce on the wood is undesirable and is different just for the sake of being different. The chips your meant to use to dip in it are cooked in olive oil – nothing but a gimmick because quite frankly they taste bad. It did take forever to get service/meals but in the end, you honestly get quite a simple and decent burger with a Wagyu beef pattie that’ll melt in your mouth. To add to this there was salty, crunchy bacon and really good ratios of cheese and lettuce. Its a good, perfectly proportioned lunchtime burger.. but only if you’ve got all the time in the world.”
Jones the Grocer on Urbanspoon


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