The Palace Hotel

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
TheBurgerAdventure-PalaceHotel

The Palace Hotel – 505 City Rd, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Beef burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$20
Summary

The Palace Hotel has done what most places don’t: down-scaled the fancy. What was once a rather slow paced gastropub that catered to empty nesters with a a disposable income has now become a chilled out, pet friendly local. Proprietors Jess, Pratty and Dan welcome everyone down for a low-key night whenever you’re in the mood for a Draught and can’t be bothered cooking. There mascot and pet, Billy the Staffy can be seen running around getting up to mischief, but he’s only looking for a pat and isn’t one to say no to a dropped chip. Although less fancy than before, their menu still offers some on-trend dishes like pulled pork and buffalo wings but there is still the option of a traditional pie and classic parma. We went for the Beef burger that came on seeded bun with a beef patty, tomato, lettuce, cheese with a side of pickles and French fries.

Comments
“The venue is barely recognisable from it’s previous existence and I can sense the current owners are trying to turn it back into a classic local pub. To the naked eye there was nothing fancy or experimental about the burger, with everything being your stock standard burger ingredients. That is, until you bit into the extremely thick, spicy, chilli flaked beef patty. It felt out of place and dwarfed all other flavours, and due to the size, had been cooked for a while leaving parts of it really dry. Highlight of the night was getting to meet and pat the local resident dog, Billy.”
“Visually this burger looked to have each of my boxes checked. The bun was fluffy, the melted cheese looked amazing on the pattie and the mustard with the pickle looked to keep everything balanced. Just like my disappointment on Christmas day when my parents decided to buy me encyclopedia Britannica instead of the Lego Police Station I wanted, that same level of disappointment came rushing back when biting into that pattie. Like my parents that year the chef chose to do something different from normal convention. In his case he tried to distinguish the burger by what I call “misusing beef” by making it super dense and sticking a whole heap of unnecessary ingredients like chilli and mustard seeds. And just like I told my parents back then, I repeated the words again to my fellow diners on this occasion, “Can we return it?”. Unfortunately in my case I had pretty much consumed half of the burger and would feel a bit awkward returning it at that point, but the pain and disappointment was there folks. I would like to try this burger again when (or if) the powers at be change their recipe, I think there is huge untapped potential here. Shoestring fries were awesome.”
“Now, at first glance this looked pretty good. It had everything I really like in a burger, down to the side of pickles and French fries. That first spicy bite raised my eyebrows and made me say “Wow”. I was not expecting any spice to it all. The patty was finely minced, it had little bit of fat and plenty of spice. It wasn’t the kind of spice that burnt though – far from it. It was just that it was the dominating flavour in the burger. It took over any, saltiness or beefy goodness that the patty had to offer. And for 20 bucks you’re getting screwed. This burger has so much potential here too. K.I.S.S.”
The Palace Hotel on Urbanspoon


South Melbourne Trader

Monday, March 31, 2014
The_Burger_Adventure-SthMelbTrader

South Melbourne Trader – 111 Cecil St,
South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Wagyu burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
20 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$15.90
Summary

The South Melbourne Trader is one of those contemporary pub venues that’s built to cater for all sorts of crowds, from the big lunch time work crowds on a Friday, to the modern family who’s not in the particular mood to cook. Located only 2 minutes’ walk from the South Melbourne Markets this place has done well to build a local following in an area with plenty of old time pubs on offer. Former Rockpool Bar & Grill chef Johnon MacDonald has brought his knowledge to SMT and put together a quality Wagyu burger at an affordable price. It arrived on a brioche bun with a Wagyu pattie, house made pickles, lettuce, tomato, mayo, Jamaican Jerk and hand cut chips.

Comments
“At first bite, several of the distinct flavours made be double guess whether or not I’d actually eaten this burger before. Once I lifted up the top bun and the bright pink pickled onions stared back at me, revealing the uncanny similarities between this and the Wagyu burger at Rockpool. The brioche bun combined with all the pickled vegetables and Jamaican Jerk sauce unfortunately overpowered the beef patty, which was cooked a little longer than ideal. However, when tasted on its own had great flavour.”
“The burger had a very tasty pattie with the right level of moisture in it and at the perfect thickness. The bun did get a bit mushy towards the end, but it made the distance, so no real complaints. There was minimal green stuff on offer, but they were very generous on the mayo. For a lunch time option I think it’s slightly on the heavy side, but that’s what long Friday lunches are for. Chips were average.”
“I’m normally the kind of guy to put more mayo on top of mayo. But this experience was even too creamy for me. The Rockpool on a budget burger still had really good moments. It makes sense for them to copy its greatness as not every one has had the pleasure of visiting Neil Perry’s fine establishment. The beef was by far the standout with a nice beefy charr to it, but it needed to be heroed more. All the sauces and onions stole its limelight. It looked small, but the sleepiness that hung around afterwards was enough to make me think about pulling over on my drive home. Pretty good but I’d go the original (and pay for it) any day of the week.”
The South Melbourne Trader on Urbanspoon


The Sporting Globe

Thursday, February 20, 2014
The_Burger_Adventure-Sporting_Globe

The Sporting Globe – 690 – 694 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds
Burger:
Royale Cheese
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$14.90
Summary

As with most trends in Australia, whether they are in culinary, fashion or entertainment fields, you’re safe to presume it’s been done for years in the US before reaching our shores. So it’s with no surprise the ever popular, be it kitsch man-caves known as ‘Sports Bars’ were going to start gaining popularity here. The Sporting Globe is exactly as you would expect, with dozens of flat screen plasmas showing every possible live sporting event going on from around the world (including personal ones in the dining booths), you can order a myriad of dude food including buffalo wings, pizza, wraps, chicken parma, steaks and burgers. We went with the ‘Royale Cheese’ burger that comes with Prime Australian aged beef, Monterey jack cheese, sliced pickles, Spanish onion, herb mayo, tomato sauce served with chunky steak fries.

Comments
“When you really simplify a burger, it usually consists of 3 main ingredients; a beef patty, cheese and bun. Unfortunately when the bun is the only positive to come out of the meal it usually results in a fairly forgettable experience. The beef was clearly a processed frozen patty, and even a healthy dollop of herb mayo on top could not hide the blandness. To add insult to injury, 2 slices of cold cheese added at the end had no chance to even begin melting. Credit must be given to the waitresses who appeared understaffed and really tried their best to accommodate everyone while running around in the 40 degree heat.”
“The pattie was really well cooked and had a real grill/smoky flavour which was nicely complimented by the subtle onion and pickle. The bun seemed to be too doughy, but compressed well when you palm it. Sauce-wise, I thought the mayo, relish and cheese combined well. Herb chips were ok. Overall the whole experience was satisfactory, but a very easily forgettable meal.”
“I do love a good adventure. Espescially when you’re so far off the scent you’ve never evern heard of the place you’re walking into. I went in hungry and hoping I’d get something decent. But, unlucky for me this train was an express to Crapsville. The kaiser style bun was huge and took up too much space. The pattie was atrocious: so overly spiced even that it was coloured red. I didn’t finish this burger. There was no need, or want for that matter.”
The Sporting Globe on Urbanspoon


The Corner Hotel

Sunday, September 15, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_Corner-Hotel

The Corner Hotel – 57 Swan St, Richmond, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Corner Chilli Burger (Double)
Serviettes:
5
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
20 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$19
Summary

One of Melbourne’s great homes of music, the iconic Corner Hotel in Richmond is only a skip and a jump away from the city and very accessible from Richmond Train Station. The Corner has been a part of the Melbourne music scene since the 1940’s; fast forward to today where some of the biggest DJ’s and bands in the world still get butts moving on its dance floor. As well as pumping great music, the Corner’s rooftop kitchen is better known for pumping out some decent pub grub to the Richmond local, but also those wanting a bite before a gig. The open rooftop area is substantially covered from the weather elements with more than enough tables and seating to please the crowds. We thought we would try the Corner Chilli Burger (Double) with two Ranger Valley wagyu beef patties, lettuce, onion, tomato, cheese, jalapenos, chipotle mayo and a serve of chips on the side.

Comments
“Even though I’ve attended many gigs at the Corner, this was actually the first time I’ve ventured upstairs to the massive rooftop beer garden. Straight away I knew this was going to be a challenge to get through and consume in a dignified manner… and I was right. We did not need to go with the double; the beef was an off grey colour and somehow instead of being juicy, was “wet”. The two patties were both completely enveloped by a huge amount of stringy cheese that by the end felt like biting into rubber. In some cuisines, spices are added to mask poor quality meat, which I presume is the only reason jalapenos and chipotle were used in this burger. I’ll be back, however just for the live music.”
“The pattie was wagyu beef, but I can’t say I thought much of it. It felt and tasted like an everyday beef pattie. Those wagyu qualities just weren’t there for me. For an extra $2 we decided to go for the double pattie, but I think a single would’ve been enough. Some things that impressed me were the minimum amount of green stuff and the seductive amount of melted cheese all over the pattie. Another thing that really impressed me was the creamy characteristics the burger took on from the chipotle mayo – a really nice balance of cream and spice. The chips were OK.”
The Corner Hotel on Urbanspoon


Exchange Hotel

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_ExchangeHotel

Exchange Hotel – 39 Bay St, Port Melbourne, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Exchange Beef Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
5 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expect much
Price:
$22.90
Summary

With lots of room for activities and beautiful taps pouring lushes golden ale, the locals of Port Melbourne have been visiting The Exchange Hotel since 1916. With a classic formal dining area and a barn-like wooden ceiling that contains that sweet roast smell from the kitchen, this place will surely entice you for a Sunday sesh. As we always do, we went for the burger: the Exchange Beef Burger came with bacon, cheddar, caramelised onions, tomato, iceberg lettuce, pickled beetroot, garlic mayo and triple cooked house cut wedges.

Comments
“When paying more than $20 for a burger, one would expect the little things to be done right. Which is why I was a little shocked when after waiting over 40 minutes (in a half empty dining room) to find that the bacon had barely been cooked, and the cheese was cold, therefore unmelted. This ultimately resulted in the burger tasting more like a parma, minus the chicken of course. It was presented all pretend-fancy with the chopping board, the useless knife in the burger, and 6 measly, cold wedges… even after apparently being ‘triple cooked’.”
“Looking at the calibre of the food that our neighbouring tables were receiving and, smelling the great aroma of a Sunday roast filling the dining room, I was left surprisingly disappointed with the end product. I felt the presentation and texture of the burger let it down. Things like: the meat pattie being really compressed and feeling like I was eating a sausage, the cheese looking a bit stale or the cloud of doubt surrounding what was meant to be triple cooked wedges. The bacon and mayo were OK, but not great. All these negatives really tampered with what could have been a great burger to match the great service.”
“It’s freezing cold on a Sunday night and all you’re hoping for is a warm hearty meal (OK, maybe more). Whilst taking a seat in the church/barn-like dining room, I really believed I’d be getting one. It took a while to come out but I don’t know why because they weren’t busy. The pattie did very little for me and tasted a lot like supermarket sausage. The onions were my highlight; popping up with some sweetness every now and then. The burger was very balanced but it feels like it’s not the pride and joy of their menu.”
Exchange Hotel on Urbanspoon


O’Connell’s

Tuesday, August 6, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_Oconnells

O’Connell’s – 407 Coventry St, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Beef Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
11 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$22
Summary

Sister venue to the much loved Railway Club Hotel, O’Connell’s of South Melbourne has prided itself on producing award winning food and service in a relaxed and inviting environment since 1990. Their kitchen has seen the likes of Greg Malouf, Cath Kalka and Adrian Richardson who have helped cement O’Connell’s as the go-to South Melbourne Gastropub year after year. Now with two younger chefs, Luke Van de Engel and Xavier Mercader at the helm, their emphasis on quality is as strong as ever. Working closely with suppliers, farmers and producers they aime to source the best and freshest ingredients on offer. The Restaurant Menu features dishes like Red wine braised Beef Short Rib, Squid ink tagliatelle and Cape Grim steaks as well as over 100 wines to choose from around the world. Sitting in the restaurant’s cosy dining area, we ordered the Beef Burger (available on the bar menu too) and it arrived swiftly on a brioche bun packed with bread and butter pickles, cheese, mustard, house made ketchup and French fries.

Comments
“When using such strong flavours as mustard, pickles and caramelised onions, I often prefer a “less is more” approach, and think I would of enjoyed this burger a lot more had both of the buns not been coated in large amounts of fiery mustard. The boldness of these flavours didn’t really pair well with the delicateness of the sweet and soft brioche bun. It ended up overwhelming the beef pattie which, tasted on its own, managed to retain a lot of its juiciness and flavour.”
“The char flavoured pattie was cooked to perfection and had me going back for more. This was beautifully supported by the distinct sharpness and smokiness of the cheddar. Always sure to please my distinct tastes was the double mustard and pickles. And it wouldn’t be a modern day burger if it didn’t have a sweet and soft brioche bun to keep everything nicely together. The chips were good but don’t feel the need to use the chutney – I don’t think you’ll need it.”
“Obviously a popular dish because we saw many coming out of the kitchen. Arriving at our table it looked as pretty as a Parisian morning. You could just imagine the juices that were about to pour out when you bit it. Yet, none of the afore mentioned took place. Yes, it was a tasty burger but my eyes did deceive me. The pattie could’ve been pinker and the cheese could’ve been way creamier. Overall I think I liked it, but I felt like I’d been invited to a girls place late at night, just to discover we’re going to midnight mass.”
O'Connell's Hotel South Melbourne on Urbanspoon


Empress Hotel

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
The-Burger-Adventure_EmpressHotel

Empress Hotel – 714 Nicholson St, Carlton North, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Beef Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Don’t expext much
Price:
$13.50
Summary

The Empress Hotel first opened its doors in 1873 and thanks to a love and focus on live music, has not changed drastically over the years and, has earned its iconic status with an eclectic mix of regulars. The formal dining room is exactly that: a formal dining room with original wallpaper and light fixtures, Victorian era furniture, a large open fire place and is notably void of any plasma screens. As with all traditional pubs, The Empress Hotel offers a traditional pub menu with steak, fish & chips, chicken parma, shephards pie and a burger on offer. On a cold, wet, winter’s night, we took a step back in time, grabbed a couch near the fireplace and ordered the beef burger with Gourmet Angus beef, caramelised onion, mixed leaves, beetroot, cheese, tomato, cucumber and tomato relish.

Comments
“There was nothing really binding this burger together – even with the skewer in – many of the ingredients fell out before even taking the first bite. The large chunks of cold, crunchy beetroot, cucumber and tomato (although tasty), really overtook and cooled down the beef pattie and ended up tasting like a salad roll bought from a local bakery.”
“The burger really didn’t look like much and it kind of tasted as if it was its first day on the menu. The Angus pattie tasted pretty average but what really let it down was the the slice of beetroot that felt like it came out of a can and the bun that would have been more suitable as a breakfast roll. Adding more complication to the burger was the cucumber: it really didn’t feel like it belonged in there and the crunch and taste made me feel like I was eating a salad. The chips came out smelling of oregano and tasted good. For $13.50 I do think its passable, but I wouldn’t recommend it.”
“If you want be the most comfortable you’ve been in a while then get yourself to the Empress. It won’t solve any of our Burger Adventure problems but you’re in the right environment to ail a cold Melbourne night. Think about this: you go in, sit on a couch with your buds, sit in front of a fire and pay 13 dollars for a pub burger and fries that are there to keep your insides warm. Apart from that the burger just tasted like they went to the supermarket that morning, bought the ingredients and slapped them together. All eatable, but it’s the kind of burger that speaks more to your hunger than your taste buds.”
The Empress Hotel on Urbanspoon