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So, as some of you know, it’s been kind of hard to get out of the house for any extended period. The burger hunt is on hiatus at the moment… However, fellow burger afficiando, Chris, has been kind enough to send me through the occasional photo and description of some of the amazing burgers he has been lucky enough to sink his teeth into. I am in no way crazy jealous of his free wheeling, burger eating lifestyle. Not at all. I wish him well, and I don’t hope that he chokes on the amazingly juicy looking Wagyu beef… Anyway, Chris has been kind enough to send though his thoughts on what sounds like an amazing burger joint – Chris’s blog Brain Swell is much too high brow to contain any mention of Burgers, so he’s been nice enough to guest blog for me. Anyway, here is a much more (Than my usual ramblings) insightful and humorous blog post about Bruburger in Echuca:

Echuca is a lovely place, the jewel of the Murry…or wait…I think that might be a Michal Douglas Movie. Anyway, my partner lives up that way and I visit the region quite regularly. And it’s not without its charm. Do you like Steam Rallies? Then that region is for you. There’s also the Holden Museum where an old man will grumpily ignore your questions about cars for a good 45 minutes. To be fair the winter blues festival is genuinely awesome and something I’m looking forward to this year. But something Echuca lacked that Melbourne seems to have a plethora of these days is good Burger Joints. Pretty much no matter where you are in Melbourne you’re no more than a 30 minute drive from a good burger. I’m quite close to Tuckshop takeaway and that fact reassures me as I go to sleep at night. But if you’re heading too, driving through, or living in Echuca, well you’re going to be bereft of burgers for a good long while. This is a sad state of affairs but one that has happily been rectified. Bruburger is a new (since Wed) beer and burger bar that has opened up on the main strip of Echucha. Is it any good?

My partner and I were heading to the movies when we noticed that a small new hole in the wall had opened up

Oh my yes it is good.

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I got the Fat Burger which is a double beef (they asked me how I wanted my patty’s cooked – medium – and then they cooked it how I asked!) It comes in a good toasted milk bun, beer cheddar sauce and pickles. Oh goodness. It was great. A beefy, cheesy explosion of goodness. If I’m being super critical I would say that it could have used a little extra sauce and the patty might be better flame grilled, but make no mistake this is a great burger. And a fantastic find. My partner got the California Burger which come with chipolata sauce, it tasted as good as it looked and it looked freaking amazing.

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Guilty secret? We were so impressed we went back for lunch today. This time I got the BBQ, sooo good the addition of onion rings really brings this burger together. My partner got the vegetarian and I had a bite, and I have to say that this is a one of the few vegetarian burgers that I would be happy to eat, mushroom, haloumi, harissa and caramelised onions (you can add beef to it if you want to sample it).

The chips are great (although a little oversalted for my tastes) but they can come smothered in a beer and cheddar fondue which I highly recommend.

All in all this is a great place for a burger, hell this burger joint would be a force to be reckoned with in Melbourne, finding it in Echuca is like finding a $100 note in your sock drawer. You have no idea how it got there but it’s seriously welcome.

8.5/10

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On the drive out to get my car serviced a few weeks back I drove past a new burger place – On it Burgers – situated in the old Barnacle Bill’s building on Burwood Hwy. I though nothing of it at the time as it was closed and I was in a rush. However when Chris dropped by the other day and we were talking about burgers, I recalled the new burger restaurant not all the far down the road and I suggested that we make it a destination in the near future. Well, once Chris and I started talking about burgers it wasn’t long before we were hatching a plan to actually get out of the house and grab ourselves a bite to eat. The problem of course is that 4 week old babies don’t really make it easy to just up and get out of the house. Katie really wanted a burger as well so we had to feed Lucy first. Thankfully Kathy, Katie’s Mum was staying with us and could look after Lucy while we nicked off down the road. Preparations were made, nappies were changed, and then changed again, Lucy got her mothers milk, and then spewed some up so we changed her, burped her, settled her and the threw her into her Grandmothers arms – and then off we hurried so that we could be back in time for the next feed… I don’t recall burger hunting being this difficult in the past…

Anyway, the trip down Burwood Hwy only took about 20mins, and we were soon sitting down to peruse the menu at On It Burgers, trying to quckly make up our minds so that we could shove the food in our mouths and rush back to make sure our 4 week old baby was still alive… At least Katie didn’t cry as we left the house this time…

Ok, so the burger place, oh yes… Well, I have to be honest, it’s a bit of a weird place, I’m not sure if they’re sure they want to be a restaurant or a take away place, or whatever. The venue looks as though they’re setting up as a restaurant, but haven’t finished it yet. It’s a strange vibe but nice enough.  When we arrived (5:30pm) all the staff were out the back and you can actually see the kitchen from the bar/counter. Speaking of the bar – they have Sierra Nevada beer on tap – A great choice and an amazing beer, and not one I’ve seen on tap much in Melbourne. Anyway, waiting at the bar/counter you can see through to the kitchen and I could make out the mincer in action and the careful attention of the staff as the burger patties were being created and weighed. Just that glimpse into the kitchen told me all I needed to know – these guys take burgers seriously. Freshly ground beef, handmade patties – that’s what I’m talking about.

Finally someone noticed us and was able to come out and take our order. Katie and I ordered the Nod burger, Chris got the Luke burger and we all ended up getting shakes and sides.

Looking at the sides – we got some onion rings – $6.90 and two sets of chips – $3.90 each, one truffle and parmesan and one garlic and basil – pretty good value for the quality, although the seasoning on the chips was a bit too subtle. The onion rings on the other hand were very good.  The shakes – OMG the shakes… The coconut shake that Katie got was amazing. Clearly the guy out the back who makes the shakes knows his/her business. Probably the best shake I’ve had this side of the pacific. Anyway, enough about the sides and shakes etc… Lets talk about the burgers.

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First point – this place is actually reasonable value – well value by my inner city standards. I noticed some reviews complained about the price – well let’s look at it:  The standard burger on their menu is a smidge over $10. It’s a quality burger, not a fish and chip shop cheap and cheerful burger, but a real burger. You pay for quality. They mince their own meat, and it’s clearly not the cheapest cut. Their patties are very good – they have a strong beef flavour, from grass feed beef, seasoned well with just the right amount of fat. There’s probably some steak cuts in the mix, so you taste that quality. A very good burger patty means you have the foundation for a very good burger.

Katie and I ordered the Nod burger –  which comes with 2x180gram patties, double cheese, pickles, onions, lettuce and tomato with their signature sauce in a brioche bun, comes in at $17.90. Add in some bacon jam (because Bacon) for $3 which I did. The Nod burger is a quality burger, of course you have the fantastic patty which really is the start of a great burger, but then you add in the really good bun – a nice savoury bun, not sweet, still soft and spongy with a nice crust, lightly toasted. Next you add in some nicely melted American cheese – a great accompaniment to a any burger. The sauces – a nice, a hint of dill and pickles, a smokey spicy note as well. The lettuce, tomato and onion add texture and freshness, and the pickles take it to another level. Then we come the bacon jam – sweet, with a slight BBQ sauce flavour, the bacon jam will not be to everyone’s taste. I quite liked it, but I felt that it masked the flavour of the beef a little, so I’d probably pass next time. Chris ordered the Luke burger (Luke, I am your burger…), which came out on a black bun – quite a small bun and it was a good thing he made it a double – he was a bit disappointed with the amount of mustard in his burger as he felt that it overpowered everything else. Although he did say that in the bites without too much mustard he could appreciate what I was talking about in terms of patty quality etc…

Both Katie and I loved our burgers, Chris, was a little disappointed. Based on my experience I’d give the burger an 8.5, however, it is clear that there could be some hits and misses on the menu. Regardless, I’d go back just for the shakes, let alone the amazing burgers!!

On It Burgers on Urbanspoon

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Finally got a chance to head out for a boys Lunch. Dad suggested that the we head out for a little light refreshment, with Mac and Taz, while the girls stayed home and look after little Lucy. Not having been out of the house for any great length of time in the preceding weeks, I jumped at the opportunity. Dad, picked me up and we met Mac and Taz at PJ O’Brien’s for a pint or two of the black stuff, and some in-depth discussions on where we might do Lunch. It’s possible that we stayed a little longer at PJ’s than intended, so the decision was made to sample one of the nearby establishments for Lunch as we were running out of time. Taz and I had spotted a sign for Hophaus, and none of us really needed any convincing to head off to a Germanic themed restaurant. I mean, what’s not to like about German Bier and meat. So upstairs we went to Hophaus.

The morning had been pretty average, but after a brief shower, Melbourne really turned it on, and we were soon sitting out in the warm Autumnal sunshine, overlooking the Yarra, enjoying a fantastic Schöfferhofer Kristallweizen and some Bretzel. Ah, the Germans really know how to eat and drink…

Dad was shouting lunch so we decided to get some oysters to begin with. Normally I’m not a huge fan of the fried oyster, you tend to destroy all that is special about an oyster when you fry it – However, on this occasion Hophaus really nailed it. Possibly the best fried Oysters I’ve had. Very lightly fried in a Weissbier batter, each oyster was presented in shell on top of a small amount of sauerkraut, and finished with a dollop of dill aioli.

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We were in no hurry, however there seemed to be quite a wait for all of our courses – in the middle of a work day, during lunch, I would expect things to be pretty snappy, but for whatever reason there was quite a delay. I had ordered the burger, and when it arrived it was cold. I wonder if it has been made first and just sat there as they waited for the other dishes. I returned my burger, telling they waiter that it was cold and it was replaced without any fuss – they apologised and I quickly received a fresh burger. These things happen, it’s how staff deal with it that matters. In this instance they did so professionally and quickly. I was more than happy with the outcome. So lets talk about the burger – the second one that was hot of the grill.

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The Hamburg’er as they bill it, is advertised as Angus beef, with Kaiserfleisch, smoked cheese, lightly pickled cabbage, lettuce, pickles and a curry ketchup on a brioche bun. All for $20 with a bitburger bier thrown in as a lunch special. I’m a huge fan of Kaiserfleisch, a smoked pork cut, nice and smokey and salty, lovely fat. Personally, I’d choose this over our bacon any day of the week. The salty, smokey crispy pork, played off well against the angus patty. The patty itself was well seasoned and juicy, with a nice grill flavour, not overly beefy in flavour, but nice enough. I really liked the  pickle elements, the quick pickled cabbage (Not quite sauerkraut), and actual pickles, added nice sharp not the balanced the sweet, cakey Brioche and cut through the rich smokey Kaiserfleisch and the fat of the meat and cheese. The crispy lettuce added texture and freshness. Overall, a lovely burger which I’d give a 7.5. Enjoyed with some great German Biers and great company you have yourself the makings of a nice afternoon.

Hophaus on Urbanspoon

Burgers, Babies and Blogging

Posted: April 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

I can’t remember the last time I had a moment to actually log in and look at my wordpress account, let alone type anything even closely resembling a coherent sentence (It’s debatable that I’ve ever been all that coherent anyway)…

I vaguely recall a time before now when a lot of my energy was consumed with planning my next food or burger adventure and then blogging about the resultant experience. I could wax lyrical about the ratio of bun to patty. I could engage in entire conversations about the benefits of chuck vs. sirloin… Oh life was so much simpler then. These last few weeks my conversations have revolved around poo, spew, wee, nappies, sleep, breasts (Not as much fun as you might think…), swaddling, crying, burping, washing… My point is that food and burgers seem to have dropped off my top 10 of things to talk about. I guess I’ve been rather preoccupied over the last month or so. You might be wondering why this has all happened, well essentially it’s because of this:

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Now whilst Lucy might look all cute and cuddly, appearances, as I’ve learnt from burger hunting, can be deceiving. Behind that big blue eyed baby face is a tiny human poo machine – surely more comes out than goes in! My wife calls the big ones poonamis… And then you have this:

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How is it possible to go through so many outfits in one day? And how is it possible that she already has more clothes than I do?

Anyway, all of these things make it rather difficult to head out of the house let alone head out for a meal. Thankfully in recent times things have settled down a little and I’ve had the chance to sleep for a few minutes here and there. It’s also meant that I’ve had the chance to head out for a bite to eat. Hopefully I can stay awake long enough to type up a couple of blog posts over the next few weeks. For now I think I might just go to bed – I mean it is almost 8:30pm!!

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Ummm, yeah, so this really is a blog post about McDonalds. Look, let me explain. Chris and I have been champing at the bit to find out what this “Create your Taste” thing is all about ever since we heard about the idea. Recently, Mulgrave McDonalds has been offering table service and “gourmet” burgers… So good they claim it’s worth getting out of your car for it! Hold on now I hear you say – table service and gourmet burgers – good enough to get out of your car – ARE YOU CRAZY… Yep you heard right.

The new “Create your Taste” is a big change. I first read about the new changes with some scepticism late last year. Ah, McDonalds, jumping on the gourmet bandwagon I thought, yeah, like that will work. But then, their foray into café foods and beverages (McCafé)  seems to have worked – at least from the perspective of an outsider. For McDonalds to survive they have to move with the times, and I guess people actually want to eat food that tastes and looks like – well, close enough anyway – to food. Who would have thought? Actually, I think a sizable portion of the market is indicating a preference for quality – and they are prepared to pay for it. This is where the “Create your Taste” option fits in. Anyway, regardless of why it’s happening, this menu is being slowly rolled out and is now available in about 16 McDonalds’ around Australia. Today Chris, Katie and I, visited Mulgrave McDonalds to find what all the fuss was about.

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When you first arrive at McDonalds, you’re probably used to waiting in line to order from the counter. However, with the “Create your Taste”, there are touch screens installed and you actually use these and have the option to pay at the machine. There is help available from one of the McCafé team members should you need it – which I did, and she was very helpful. You get a whole host of options, from buns, to cheeses to toppings etc… The McDonalds website explains:

“Create Your Taste is all about you making your very own gourmet burger. Choose from a range of 30 delicious ingredients like guacamole, chipotle sauce, crispy bacon, Colby Jack cheese, shaved parmesan and tortilla strips to create a mouth-watering masterpiece.”

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I chose the Brioche bun, with double Angus beef patties, Colby Jack and Swiss cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, Dijonaise and ketchup. The price for all of this including fries and a large coke was $17.60. That’s pretty pricey for McDonalds, but pretty reasonable if we were at a café or restaurant. As for the ordering system – It took me two goes as I accidently wiped my first attempted order. The system could use a little tweaking, like allowing you to order the same cheese more than once, but apart from a couple of little things like that, it was pretty straight forward. You then had to grab what looked like one of those buzzers you get at the pub and then find your seat. The buzzer aren’t there so that you know when to go up and get your food – no, no, you get table service here. They are in fact there so that the staff can locate where you are sitting and bring your food to you. This is not like the McDonalds you’ve had before. The burgers come out on wooden paddles and the chips come out in a little wire basket. You could almost imagine that you were in a normal restaurant for a moment – except for the fact that you are still sitting inside a McDonalds. At least the Mulgrave McDonalds is reasonable nice inside and out. The food actually took a while, but eventually it was served to us by a friendly staff member. I’d imagine she had received quite a bit of training, she even smiled and was friendly (Actually unlike many cafés around town).

First look at the burger and it looked really appealing and well put together – unlike anything I’ve ever purchased from McDonalds before. The patties were the same patties you get for the Grand Angus, the quarter pound Angus patties. The difference was that these had clearly been grilled not “microwaved” or what ever it is that they do it heat them as usual. And the difference was clearly noticeable. The cheese had been allowed to melt nicely and encase the patty in a very appealing way. These burgers actually, truthfully, looked good – you wanted to eat them when they were set before you. I know – none of this makes sense. Clearly, something has happened to the space time continuum and I have somehow been transported into an alternative reality… That’s the only way I can explain it. Let’s just assume that these all makes sense and not think about it too much or the universe may just collapse in on itself…

Tastewise they weren’t too bad either. The bun was quite thin so there was a good bread to meat ratio. The salad elements were fresh and crisp, and the bacon was actually quite good. The meat wasn’t great, but I’ve had far worse. It’s still your normal McDonalds Angus patty, and it’s overcooked. However with the melted cheese and the fact that it’s got a fairly high fat content means that it’s still juicy enough. The Biggest let down is the lack of real flavour. Everything is far too timid and mild. Katie and Chris both included the Chipotle mayo and neither could really taste much.

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The cheeses are all very mild and the sauces need more zing. They have played it too safe, and as a result, the burgers are nice, but lack punch. The upside is that you don’t get the bloated, “oh god I just ate McDonalds” feeling that accompanies the normal burger binge at the golden arches! Both Katie and Chris were happy with their burgers and there was a lot of chat about what to rate the burger. We all felt a little weird enjoying the burgers here to be honest. But the reality is that they were actually pretty decent burgers. I’d give them a 6.5 – yes I know, I just rated a McDonalds burger… I don’t know what is going on with the universe!

McDonald's on Urbanspoon

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Any place that has Black pudding on it’s brunch menu gets bonus points in my book. There’s just something to be said for a good blood sausage to get the day going.

As Katie and I were in South Melbourne to pick up some baby related things that Katie had bought off EBay, we decided to grab some brunch at Dead Man Espresso. I didn’t know anything about the place, but Katie had heard some good things. We got there at about 12ish, so a little bit after the normal brunch rush and grabbed a seat inside. The one issue I have with a lot of café’s is that their tables are just too cramped. With Katie being 39 weeks along, it was pretty hard to navigate through the tables let alone sit down at the cramped bench table- although the waitress was very friendly and helpful. Once we had finished with the human Tetris process and had finally squeezed in, we ordered our tea and coffee and browsed the menu. When I saw the Campfire hotplate item on the menu had Black pudding I was pretty sure I knew what I was getting – it came with bacon, potato and kale hash, mushrooms, tomato’s, toast & fried eggs along with the Black pud ($22.50 from memory). Katie opted for the Potato & kale hash which came with grilled kaiserfleisch & fried eggs($19.50). Neither of the items were on the cheap side, but I guess these are more interesting than your usual fare so I figure it’s worth the slight premium.

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My Brunch came out on a sizzling skillet – great idea… Except on the tiny table, which was already overflowing with my tea pot and tea cup, Katie’s coffee and the water jug, glasses etc… the skillet becomes this dangerous burning plate of pain. I scalded myself a couple of times… but it was worth it. The plate was overflowing with food – the toast didn’t even fit, and the hash and black pudding were hiding underneath. It started to look like value for money to be honest. The black pudding was lovely, well spiced with a slight sweet note to counter the richness. The bacon was good quality, smokey and thickly cut – but they only gave me the short cut, would have been nice to get the streaky section. The Potato and Kale hash was also delicious, and with the mushrooms and tomato’s rounding out the dish I think we have a winner here.  Yes, there are a lot of great brunch options in South Melbourne, but I tell you what, I wouldn’t be complaining if I found myself at Dead Man Espresso for Brunch again.

Dead Man Espresso on Urbanspoon

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It’s been exactly a year since I began my burger hunt- oh so many delicious memories… I’ve had some amazing burgers, and my preferences and my ideas about burgers have changed along the journey. Some might say it’s been a journey of self discovery and growth… Well, there’s been some midriff growth, but I don’t know about the rest. Anyway, Damo and I decided to revisit the first stop on this momentous life changing journey – Rockwell and Sons – to see how they stacked up a year later. I remember this first burger and some of the really bad photos’ I took – I had no idea what I was doing (I still don’t). You can read my pretty average first attempt at burger blogging here: http://wp.me/p4owfB-A

Not having the depth of experience that I do now, I judged the burger on a different set of criteria, so I was interested to see how I would rate their burger a second time around.

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For those of you how don’t know – (People living in a cave, vegetarians etc…) Rockwell and Sons have been attracting a lot of attention for a while now, largely thanks to their delicious takes on American classics – their burgers in particular. As you can see they have one of the most photogenic burgers going around “The Double Patty Smash Burger”. It just screams, eat me, and have another. Which we kind of did on this occasion…

We decided to get in early to beat the hipster hordes that crowd Smith Street on a Saturday night, so we arrived at about 5:30pm – got a park right out front as well #winningatlife… What we didn’t realise is that they were closed until 6:00pm (Apparently for the all Valley Karate tournament – ah hipsters and your obscure 80’s pop culture references). Since it was so damn hot, we decided to kill some time by sampling a craft beverage or two down the road at the local pub. Finally the clock struck six, and we raced back to stake a claim to table outside. The lovely server offered us some cool water and enquired about our desires – we didn’t need the menu, we knew what we were here for. Two Double Patty Smash Burgers were quickly ordered.

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We also got some delightful tater tots on the side which came with cheese sauce and bacon gravy. They had me at Bacon gravy…

We didn’t have to wait long for the burgers to arrive. Two perfectly created buns, housing two perfectly cooked, slightly pink patties, covered with oozing cheese, amazing burger sauce and crispy bacon. This is burger heaven. The buns here are a brioche style, but they seem like they’ve been slightly steamed or warmed through enough so that all that cakeyness that you sometimes get is completely gone. The Bun is sweet, but not too sweet, and soft and spongy. The first bite is a delight to the senses, juicy, beefy beef, cooked to a medium, hits you first. The crunchy, salty bacon is a great addition and is a nice counter point to all the oozy, soft textures. Speaking of which, the burger is encased in oozy, melted Kraft cheese slices, which actually work really well here. That salty cheesy flavour, mixes with the magic of the burger sauce and adds to the juicy beef.  That burger sauce – oh gosh – simply put, it’s amazing. I can’t completely work out what’s in it, but you definitely get a hint of dill coming though which just really works. The pink hue would suggest some ketchup added to the mayo base – the rest – must be magic. The pickles at the end add a nice sharpness and round out the burger.

Finishing off this burger, I sat back satisfied and though to myself – gee I’d love another one of those right now. It’s not your biggest burger, even with the two patties, and you don’t get any sides with that. So at $16 with the bacon, it’s not exactly cheap. The tater tots were great, but I’d say you’d want one each, not one to share if you were reasonably hungry. Since we still had room, Damo and I decided to order the chicken burger as dessert and split it.

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The chicken burger here is also amazing, crispy, tender pieces of marinated chicken, paired with iceberg lettuce and a tangy, vinegar hot sauce. Amazing. A great dessert if you ask me.

Rating the Double patty smash this time around I’d have to say that it has benefitted from the addition of bacon. This is a great, burger. A bacon cheesy just the way it should be. I give it a 9.

Rockwell and Sons on Urbanspoon

 

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I love a good chicken burger (Chicken Sandwich if you’re from the States), but my  focus has been on my unrelenting quest to find Melbourne’s best burger. And by burger, I mean beef burger. But there’s been something recently that has called out to me – telling me to give chicken a go. Actually that something has been a someone, whoever is behind the instagram account @chickencentralashburton. They sounded pretty confident that their burgers were worth the drive, and their instagram photo’s looked pretty damn good. They pretty much threw down the tasty chicken burger gauntlet… So when Friday night rolled around, Katie and I decide that it was time to pick up the chicken gauntlet – it was chicken burger time.

Driving past chicken central at 7:30pm the place was pretty busy – there was a line out the door – good signs. Once I got a park and managed to shoulder my way through the hungry hordes, I decided to go the special – the president and make it a double. The president comes with a special sauce, two slices of American cheese, caramelised onions, lettuce, loads of pickles (Yes!!) and char grilled chicken breast. Katie went for the BOP, which has bacon, pineapple, sauce and lettuce. Both Burgers came in a lovely, soft and fresh Turkish bread bun – perfect for a chicken burger, but unfortunately these would fall apart with a beef burger. It was a nice change from the really dense, sweet, Brioche style buns I’ve been eating lately. Both Burgers were also under $10 normally – which is great value.

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Straight up – The chicken burgers here are delicious. Often, a chicken burger can be chewy and dry, these were just so succulent. My burger was particularly good – I loved the sauce and the pickles – they didn’t stint on the pickles, and it matched so well with the American cheese and the caramelised onions.  The bun was a prefect match to the juicy chicken fillets – next time I’d go 3 and probably add bacon, well because bacon… And because I had a bite of Katie’s BOP and chicken and bacon just work so well together… Once we had finished I immediately said – I could go another, even though I was reasonably satisfied. This has only happened to me a few times on my hunt, and on each occasion, these burgers have lived on in my memory.  My 8 and half month pregnant wife, Katie, made the point that “this is burger I could crave – you know, just need to have one right away”. I wouldn’t argue with her on this one. Although I did note the closing time is a ridiculous 8pm. What gives there. What am I to do if Katie “needs” a BOP burger at 8:30pm? If you are going to sell burgers this good, then really, you owe it to the community to be open later than that!

I’d say this would be a pretty good benchmark chicken burger – I think a new side hunt begins…

Chicken Central Ashburton on Urbanspoon

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My brother and I have been hanging out for a schnitzel for some time now – we just haven’t been able to make it work. We finally got our act together and organised to catch up after work and grab ourselves some crumbed meat. Christopher suggested I do the research and I sent a few links his way – one of these related to The Hungarian. His first question was – why is there an Italian flag on their website… Then, do they do schnitzels at a Hungarian restaurant. On a side note, my brother is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Considering that he’s actually been to Europe, you might think he would know the difference between Hungry and Italy, and that yes, they do serve schnitzels in Hungarian restaurants. My question, “didn’t you go to Prague, which is not all that far from Hungary, and didn’t you sail along the Croatian coast? Surely you noticed that Hungary was one of the countries next door to Croatia?”  – was met with, “I was pretty pissed most of the time…” I’m not sure if he experienced all that much culture while he was there… Oh well, I do try to educate him, but it appears that he is further gone than I had feared… Eventually after some slow and tedious explanations we settled on The Hungarian on Bridge Rd in Richmond.

The restaurant itself is interesting, it’s a quaint, café type of affair, with absolutely no pretentions. Interestingly, considering their history with communism, There’s a small photo of Vladimir Lenin on the wall – who’s that – was the question from Christopher when I pointed out the photograph. Oh, did we learn about him in that animal book we read at school…Oh dear… But I do find it interesting that there seems to be a resurgence of nostalgia about the communist era in Eastern Europe.

I love their menu here, there’s lots of little funny passages – if you go, read their menu entry on Punjabi Buttered Chicken… Anyway, we were here for crumbed meat, and lots of it. On the menu they offer what they call the “Gipsymix/Sült Vegyestál” – which is seriously under priced at $54 for 2 people. It comes with pork schnitzel, chicken schnitzel, smoked kransky, pork-and-beef chevabs, chips and some coleslaw on the side. When we asked the waitress if she thought it would be enough for the two of us, she explained with a grin, that it would be more than enough for the two of us.

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We decided to play it safe,and ordered an appetiser of the pelmeni (Also because I really love these dumplings). Theses tiny dumplings are delicious, and taste great with the sour cream and dill offered on the side.

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Eventually a rather large and impressive plate of meat arrived. Eating this was going to be a challenge, but thankfully I was fully prepared and ravenously hungry. The first thing you notice, apart from the sheer volume of meat is the huge kransky sausages. You get two of these, and they’re really good. Next the chevabs, hidden amongst the schnitzels, these are a mince meat dish, kind of a skinless sausage you might say. The Chevabs (I know them as cevapcici) were nice, but a little plain for my tastes – and I could have done without them to be honest. With all the side meats out of the way it was time to dive into the schnitzels. The Pork and Chicken schnitzels were lovely, a nice thickness, not too thin so they didn’t dry out, although, as the waitress advised, you need the sauces to go with them. We had the mushroom, the pork gravy and some of the dill mayonnaise to go with ours – all three were great. The chips and the coleslaw rounded out the meal.

This is a seriously good value meal for two people. Essentially $26 each, and you get enough food for three hungry people. Next time I have a craving for Schnitzel I have a feeling I’ll find myself back at this quaint little place.

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I was in the city for some lectures on the American revolution, and I decided to take a break and get something Americany (that might not be a word…) for lunch.  Fellow burger aficionado, Chris, just also happened to be having a lunch break – lucky coincidence I guess… Not far from where he works is a place called Son of a Burger, it seemed like a reasonable place to get some burger goodness, so off I tramped through the city to meet Chris and to grab a bite to eat. Son of a Burger is actually in a food court – this didn’t inspire me with a hell of a lot of confidence, and when pressed, Chris mentioned that he had actually been here before. His, well… I’ll let you make up your own mind, also didn’t leave me thinking I was about to have the best burger of my life. The Burgers here are slider sized, so always order two, there’s no point just getting one – get two. I ordered the mishmash, so you choose two sliders – I got the Texan BBQ brisket and the Chicken, and it comes with a side of really good French Fries. Sitting down to eat at a small table in a food court really doesn’t add to the dining experience – But who care we were there for food not ambiance… lets talk about the burger – sliders, tiny things, whatever they are…

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After quite a wait – Chris mentioned they take a while – two rather small buns come out. They’re almost hors d’oeuvre size if you were to cut it in half. Chris’s comment – you’d be pretty pleased to get one of those at a wedding, basically sumed them up for me – Next time I think I’d get 3… Apart from size, the shape is different, the bun is oval, rather than round. First bite and the bun is soft, slightly sweet and really fresh, the BBQ brisket was nice, but needed a bit more punch, there wasn’t enough BBQ for me. The one slice of brisket would have been better pulled and then sauce I think. The sweetness of the bun worked really well with the BBQ flavours though – just a shame there wasn’t more of them. The second bun was the Chicken, packed with fresh flavours – it seemed Thai inspired – I’d order this one again. I’m not sure where I sit with this place, it’s not a burger really – they don’t even do a traditional kind of beef so it’s hard to judge against other “burgers”. I would have say that I enjoyed it though, as an interesting take on finger foods. I’d give it a 7.

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