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


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


Huxtaburger

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Huxtaburger – 106 Smith St, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Huxtaburger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$8
Summary

Buzz word of the month, hipster hangout, bloggers delight… whatever you want to make of it, Huxtaburger is Melbourne’s newest burger joint. The guys behind this welcome addition to the Melbourne Burger Family are responsible for another well-known, and Smith St fav, Huxtable. Where the latter mainly serves a variety of shared dishes, Huxtaburger is all about you. Well, you and and your burger. Chef and owner Daniel Wilson has based the most-part of the menu on the classic TV series “The Cosby Show”, where the different burgers represent the different characters i.e “The Bill” gets a little kooky and adventurous by adding pineapple and beetroot, whereas “The Rudy” is smaller and aimed at kids. If you were born in the 90’s, chances are these names will mean nothing to you so just smile politely and start Google-ing. The setup also has quite the classic inspiration behind it; with black, white and stainless steel as the primary colours, Huxtaburger tries to create a classic USA diner experience right in the heart of Collingwood. Wading through a sea of people, we were lucky enough to score some seats by the counter, and so we each ordered their signature Huxtaburger that comes on a glazed brioche bun with a Moondarra Wagyu beef pattie, mustard, mayo, ketchup, tomato, cheese, lettuce and pickles. Oh, and we couldn’t go past a serve of crinkle cut chips for an extra $2.50.

Comments
“Huxtaburger puts together a simple yet flavourful burger that seems to be attracting quite the crowd. Their signature Huxtaburger has one of the best buns going around, with some of the fluffiest and sweetest textures I’ve tasted. The beef pattie was perfectly cooked, but lacked a bit of seasoning and the good amount of fat that you hope will ooze out. I always love a burger that has pickles and mustard, but sometimes when their both in a burger together, there can be a thing as too much tangy sweetness. All-in-all though, it’s a pretty decent, well-balanced burger.”
“Luckily just after ordering we managed to get a seat at the bench which made the wait a little more bearable. Love the setup and the size of the menu; a very limited selection that means they have all of their time and energy to focus on just burgers. The actual Huxtaburger is one of the most visibly appealing burgers out there at the moment and that bun must the be lightest, fluffiest and sweetest bun I’ve ever had. I was even surprised as to how well it held all the ingredients together and didn’t dissolve. The beef was cooked well but there didn’t seem to be much fat and wasnt juicy at all. The cheese was melted perfectly over the top of the pattie, and parts of the slice oozed down and touched the hot plate which, is one of the best tastes on earth. The mustard was a little too strong for me – I think I’d rather have had more of the flavour of the pickle come through instead. Next time I’d love to try the double burger with the bacon to experience a bolder, beefier flavour to balance out the strength of the mustard and pickle.”
“We’re always getting recommendations for burger joints people would like us to visit. Most of them have eaten the burger and can give us the intricate details. But when you have a long-time vegetarian recommending a place that only makes beef burgers (not having tried the burger, but nevertheless tempted), you know this place is doing something right. Readers be warned this place is busy and you might have to wait a while, but credit to the staff for working their butts off. When it comes out the burger looks delicious. The croissant-like bun is by far the star of the show, slightly greasy on the outside and soft to hold, this bun is sweet as hell and could just be served on it’s own for breakfast. The pattie is ok; not a lot of seasoning and thin in size, but it does the job. The tang from the mustard and pickles can take over the burger, but I really don’t mind it – any burger with mustard earns my respect. Overall it’s not a fatty burger and is definitely a burger I can eat twice a week for lunch. One burger is sufficient, but I would recommend going for a double pattie. Chips were ok.”
“I could go on about the amazing bun, the delicious cheese, the not so juicy beef pattie or even the hipsteriffic clientelle. But I won’t. All I’ll say is, eating this burger is a bit like finally going out with the hottest girl in school, only to find out she’s a devout Christian and all you’ll get at the end of the date is a handshake and God’s blessing. When I go back, I’ll be sealing the deal by ordering an extra pattie, some bacon and extra cheese. Nice burger: if you’re into that sort of thing.”
Huxtaburger on Urbanspoon


Gasometer*

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gasometer – 484 Smith St, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Smoked Cheese & Bacon Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
13 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$18
Summary

Located at the edge of Hipsterville you’ll find a barn-like eatery that’s become a favourite for a number of Melbourne social clubs including The Beard & Flannel Co., Fixie’s Unlimited and the infamous Super Nintendo Atari Alliance. All that jazz aside, in late 2010 the once Irish themed pub changed hands and became known as Gasometer – an ode to the former gas works operation that once resided across the road. More recently though they’ve started to establish themselves as a popular live music venue; this coupled with affordable brews and American Diner inspired dishes has this Northside pub packed to the brim on most nights. Their menu caters to both the carnivores and Planeteer’s (vegos) with dishes like Smoked Buffalo Tofu Strips to BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos. It was impossible for us not to order the Smoked Cheese & Bacon Burger that came on a traditional sesame seed bun with a 200g wagyu beef pattie, house smoked cheddar accompanied with lettuce, tomato, topped with crispy bacon and 1000 Island sauce. Oh and in true American fashion, served with a pickle spear and a choice of potato salad or crunchy fries on the side.

Comments
“I really like this burger! It had a nice fatty pattie, but I think if it were cooked for a little less time it could’ve been a lot juicier, most probably taking its greatness up a step. The basic burger bun did the trick but could’ve been a little bit smaller to match the pattie. The burger doesn’t come with any tomato sauce or mustard, as I thought it might because of all the classic Americana inspiration, but the 1000 island turned out to be a decent replacement. Be sure to ask for a bottle of their Mexican chilli sauce when your order arrives – wicked with the mayo and chips.”
“This burger from the outside looked like any other regular burger, and when I ate each ingredient individually nothing stood out. The bacon alone was actually quite horrible – very rubbery and over cooked – however once you take a big bite out of this burger it is absolutely amazing! Everything just worked perfectly together and I can’t explain why, it just does. The chefs who obviously know what they are doing have made it look simple and easy. This was definitely unexpected from a venue filled to the brim with people with tattoos, beards, black rimmed glasses and most conversations starting with “what colour is your fixie?”. Saying all that, I would love to visit again the next time I venture to the other side of the river.”
“There’s something about re-inventing a classic that has a certain romance about it for me. Like taking a Victorian pub with its barn/church like interior and making it hospitable and comfortable to the hipsters (general public), of the Northern Suburbs and letting the beer run, run and run. Add on top an adopted American style cuisine with buffalo wings, chilli dogs and most importantly the Smoked Cheese & Bacon Burger and you have a hit. The burger itself was great: the pattie had a certain rustic element to it, the traditional bun was just that, traditional. The bacon was a bit tough to eat, but still good. The 1000 Island sauce was ok, but I still felt it needed that saltiness that a ketchup or mustard could only provide. The burger was hard to manage with all that sauce on it, but enjoyable nevertheless. Chips were a big standout, fluffy on the inside and super crunchy on the outside with great seasoning.”
“When I saw this my taste buds lept. When a burger comes out in basket you know someone that knows a thing or two about diner culture has had some input with this. I went to pick up the burger and it was piping hot. Whether because it had just been steamed or from resting on its hot bed of wicked chips, I dont know. Either way, when I got stuck into it I was instantly greeted by some delicious beefy flavours that left a nice coating of fat dancing around my mouth. The bacon was ok, but a little too tough and at one point even interrupted my meal. The smokey cheese was splendid and together with the 1000 Island sauce excelled at filling me with delight. I finished it all off by sitting back, munched on my pickle and casually punched a hipster in his bearded face.”
Gasometer on Urbanspoon

*Unfortunately Gasometer has changed their menu from American to Eastern European. Forgive them Burger Gods because they do not know what they do.


Glass Brasserie

Monday, December 12, 2011

Glass Brasserie – 488 George St, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu Beef Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
15 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$20 @ Lunch with a drink
Summary

Whether you’re a tourist, a hungry CBD 9-5er or a champion burger aficionado, one of your top-of-mind lunch time destinations in Sydney is going to be the renowned Glass Brasserie. We’re familiar with Chef Luke Mangan’s work at South Melbourne’s Palace and when planning a visit to Glass Brasserie, Z was expecting nothing but greatness. Before we go on, we must mention that the burger is available only at the Glass Wine Bar menu, which is still just as fancy and will have you looking around in awe. The team have spared no expense, inviting New York designer Tony Chi to work his magic; using ultra high ceilings, earthy tones and with glass and mirrors all around you, you’ll feel like you’re dining in some sort of Swiss aristocrat’s holiday house in the Alps (true story). Luke Mangan’s right hand man, Executive Chef and burger lover is Joe Pavlovich: in a recent interview he commented, “When you eat a good burger, news travels fast. We’ve never really had a good burger culture in Australia and now we’re starting to.” With that said we had to send Z up there to see whether Glass Brasserie and Joe Pavlovich could truly walk the walk. Z sat down at the Glass Wine Bar and ordered the Wagyu Beef Burger Lunch Special that included a 50/50 brioche and burger bun filled with ox-heart tomatoes, house-made barbecue sauce and mayo, Raclette cheese, onions cooked in beer and Rangers Valley beef mixed with dry-aged beef fat, a pickle and fries on the side, plus a cool beer to wash it all down.

Comments
“As soon as I saw this thing waltzing it’s way over to my table I thought, “touché Mr Pavlovich, touché.” Wow did this burger look impressive. A waterfall of cheese like this arouses me in so many ways its almost unfathomable. After my Penthouse shoot was over I sunk my teeth in and was greeted with warm, soft and delicious beef. The Raclette cheese took me back to my time in France where the locals practically brush their teeth with the stuff – devine. Displaying poise and grace, the bun never took over and let the beef and cheese do all the talking. Every now and then however, the BBQ sauce would stand up and interrupt this tasty dance with obnoxious line dancing that didn’t belong in such a burger. Whether I was delirious from all the cheese I don’t know, but I could swear there were hints of apple coming from the bacon, which wasn’t bad, but did enough to distract me. Now, because every Sydney burger for me has become a “Could this be better than Lotus” burger (one can only dream), I couldn’t help but pick at the back chat that I was being given by the good but not great bbq sauce and bacon. All together this burger was still pretty damn wicked and deserves a whole lot of respect and admiration. To serve this kind of calibre burger + chips + beer, for $20, is incredible! Every pub/restaurant/bar should definitely take note. As of this moment, if you’re hunting down burgers in Sydney check out Glass Brasserie for lunch and then hit up Dan Hong at Lotus for dinner. You won’t be disappointed.”
Glass Brasserie on Urbanspoon


Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien – 119 West 56th St,
Midtown West, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
The Works Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$7.50 USD
Summary

After wandering past the the swanky Le Parker Meridien Hotel’s check-in counter, the best place to head is towards a dark curtained wall. There you will find a dim, narrow hallway with a neon-lit burger at the end of it. Usually – as was the case when I arrived – there will be a line of people, all with the same goal in mind, waiting patiently in the shadows. The anticipation to see whats inside the doorway grows with every minute, until finally you can peek in and are transported to an entirely different world. In stark contrast to its most of basics of exteriors, you end up in a joint filled with menus written on cardboard, a collection of retro movie posters and a barrage of pen and texta scribble all over the walls. Getting some Seinfeld Soup Nazi flashbacks are understandable as their (at first) intimidating instructions on how to order threaten having you look like a chump, or worse yet, endure the pain of being sent to the back of the line if you’re too slow. But don’t fret. There are only 2 options of burgers, so if you get it wrong – yeah, you’re a chump. I went with the Works Cheeseburger that came on a humble hamburger bun with a classic beef pattie (cooked medium-rare), cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, sliced pickles, mustard, ketchup and mayo.

Comments
“When I’d heard that this burger was Heston Blumenthal’s favourite burger in the world, well, I had to try it! Admittedly, I got a little lost and ended up walking into the hotel’s restaurant. But they were kind enough to point me in the right direction to where I would find a dark hallway filled with a queue of people. The place inside is amazing. One minute you’re standing outside in a fancy hotel foyer and then you’re in a dingy, graffiti covered diner. This really is my favourite kind of eatery: where they have a very very limited menu but they do it exactly right over and over again. These guys are confident, know what they are doing and if you dont like it then leave. Once my name was yelled out I eagerly ripped open the brown paper bag and saw a big awesome mess of a burger. The charred beef was cooked evenly and complimented the crisp bite of the spanish onions and the sweet pickles. In defiance of all odds, the soft bun did its job and some how managed to keep it all together. Overall, quite a juicy and most delicious mess.”
Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien on Urbanspoon


The Espy

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Espy – 11 The Esplanade, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Espy Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
16 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$16.50
Summary

From Reggae to Dance, Hip-Hop to Rock & Roll, The Esplanade Hotel (or more affectionately known as “The Espy”) has been catering to Melbourne’s eclectic musical tastes for over 100 years. Whether it be a local band or an epic international, it is the place n St Kilda to check out some new tunes, have a drink and enjoy a feast. So when you’ve got all these big musical acts coming to and fro, you’d better be able to offer them some decent grub, right? This is where The Espy Kitchen comes in; preparing everything from classic Pub favourites to delicious pastas, desserts and killer breakfasts (perfect rejuvenation for even the biggest hangovers). We visited one rainy Melbourne Sunday evening and went for the only burger on the menu. Their signature “Espy Burger” comes with a beef pattie, bacon, tasty cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato, red onion and The Espy’s secret sauce all on a sesame seed bun. There’s also a decent portion of fries with house-made ranch dipping sauce.

Comments
“With the rep that this place generally has (not that its a a bad one but more that its quite laidback) I really wasn’t expecting much. However, when it came to the kitchen it couldn’t be further from the case! Everything that I saw come out of there looked as if it had been prepared by someone with love and passion for food. The burger offered a hearty traditional beef pattie topped with tasty cheese and a good amount of salty bacon. Pickles are always a wlecome addition and all the other ingredients were pretty fresh (although there was a little too much lettuce). The traditional seeded bun did a good job of holding it all together. Nothing too fancy just a job well done. Good work guys.”
“I have to admit this is the first time I’ve been to The Espy. It always looks gross and full of people who catch public transport. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a clean, warm and friendly restaurant tucked away at the side of the live music venue with families casually sitting down to dinner. Inside the stock-standard-sesame-seed-bun was a hearty piece of beef with a great juicyness to it; as well as being accompanied by a few rashes of crispy bacon. As I expected they didn’t try anything fancy and just did the basics quite well.”
“Practically living at the Espy in the old University days it really felt like traveling back home and having your mum cook you her ol’ fashioned “Mama’s Style” hamburgers. All the love and home rusticness is there. The medium-sized pattie was very juicy and tasty. The melted cheese was great and the pickles added that tang that I so love in a burger. The secret sauce added a subtle creaminess to each bite. The down sides were that it did need a little bit of ketchup and there was too much green in there. Chips were good.”
“Sooo surprising. G accidentally gave away the venue beforehand and I hate to say it but I thought, “Damn it’ll be all turkish buns and no love” – how wrong I was. The bun was a seeded traditional roll that did a half-decent job of soaking in the juices. The pattie was really enjoyable; it was lightly seasoned and allowed the beef to do a lot of the talking. The cheese they used was also remarkable. The bacon might’ve been just a little too crispy for me but that’s nothing to cry about. The pickles were OK but I reckon it couldve done with a few less of them… same goes for lettuce. My recommendation is, save the dill mayo-style dipping sauce for the burger. It doesn’t work well as a side with chips and would add a creaminess to the burger that’d cut through the acidity of the pickles. I know I’ll be back soon. Seriously impressive.”
The Esplanade Hotel (Espy Kitchen) on Urbanspoon


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