Half moon – 120 Church St Brighton – VIC

Posted: August 16, 2014 in Burger Hunt
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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I’d have to say that this burger hunt is probably the most controversial to date. I guess it comes back to the question –  What attributes must be present for a food item to be classified as a burger? When is a burger not a burger? This was the issue faced by Chris and I on Monday night. Since Chris is a much better writer than I am, he has kindly provided his take on the whole affair – however I will provide my own tasting notes on the burgers and judgement here – (as a side note –  we ordered two Burgers, a side of Poutine, and dessert – sticky date and chocolate fondant) :

For all intents and purposes the burger looks like a pretty normal burger. It’s a bit on the small side for my tastes – that annoying size between a slider and a hamburger, but you get a heafty slab of meat so you won’t leave hungry… The bun is a nice light brioche, very spongy and soft with a nice shiny glaze and a light kiss from the grill to give the bun some char marks. It  held up well to the burger and I’d have to say was the prefect bun in this case, even though it was a bit on the smaller size.  I know what you’re saying – So far no controversy… Ok, lets continue – The burger comes with a nice cheese crisp, a delicious red miso aioli and smoked tomato relish and some fresh and crisp iceberg lettuce that adds a lovely texture and crunch to the burger. Hmm ok, still no controversy… Ok, onto the first bite – admittedly it was a sensational first bite, juicy, meaty, smokey notes, sweetness from the brioche, crispness from the cheese and lettuce… But it was the patty that had me all worked up – I should have realised that a 12hr Wagyu shin burger patty really meant that it was a pulled meat patty. Compressed back into a patty and given some time on the grill to add a caramelised crust. The patty was juicy and moist and literally melted in your mouth. It worked sensationally when dipped into the sauce as well. But, for all of this, it was not a burger patty, but a pulled meat patty. So does that qualify as a burger or as a pulled beef sandwich??  Well lets hear what Chris had to say:

 

I love accompanying Andrew on his burger adventures. But every time I go I sometimes worry. “Is this it? Is this the night when we get a terrible burger?” I’ve been really lucky, from Gloria Swanson’s kitchen to Rockpool, I’ve been fortunate enough to join Andrew in eating some of the best burgers that I’ve ever had. But that can’t last can it? There must be a bad burger with my name on it out there somewhere…..

It was a Monday night and we were both up for a burger. Where to go? I chucked a few suggestions in the hat but Andrew pulled out “Half Moon” in Brighton. That’s right down the road from me so I said yes. I’m lazy like that.

Half Moon is your typical trendy Brighton destination all polished wood and weird angles but the bar itself had a good ambiance even if Andrew and I were the youngest people there, a strange feeling these days I can tell you. Comfortable seats and a good beer section left little to complain about although on a brisk Melbourne night it might have been nice if they had turned the fire-place on. We perused the menu and ordered our beer and burgers at the bar, we decided that we should also get the Poutine because we were both ravenous by this stage.

The menu proclaimed that the burgers that were going to arrive were 12 hour shin Wagyu burgers with a red miso sauce and a smoked tomato aioli to dip our chips into. To my mind anything that volunteers a cooking time is usually good. We were looking forward to it.

When the burgers came they looked the business with a good portion of red sauce on the side although the chips were standard frozen pub chips. The Poutine was the same chips, with an ok gravy (although not enough of it) and some mozzarella melted over it. Disappointing for $12.

The burgers were a different story. They were amazing. The buns were perfect, a slightly sweet brioche with a simple salad of sliced greens, some aoli and then double cheese on the top and bottom of a pulled beef patty of what was clearly top quality beef cooked for hour and hours to concentrate its flavour packed with Umami. This brought to mind what the burger minds at Nshry were going for but failed at. Here they had succeeded.

And then the debate began.

Andrew: “Is this a burger?”

Me: “Yes…um…no….maybe?….I don’t care it’s delicious”

Andrew: “Oh I agree, but is it a burger, would people be upset if they ordered a burger and got this instead?”

Me: “Are people upset if they order a Kia and a BMW turns up instead?…No…this is a surprise, but it’s a good surprise”

Andrew: “But this isn’t this more of a pulled meat sandwich?”

Me: “This is a sandwich in the same way the Mona Lisa is the painting of some chick”

Andrew: “Oh it’s good, there’s no doubt about that…but can we call it a burger?”

This went on for some time. The bottom line is that we are both right. To be fair to Andrew, it’s not a burger but to be fair to me, in the end that really doesn’t matter – it’s delicious.

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I understand why they called it a burger, because people want the familiar, but as a burger I could only score it an 8 great! To be sure, but not the best I’ve had. But it would be by far the best sandwich I’d had or sloppy joe and on those terms it would get a 9 or even 10. There is an argument to be had though that the fact that it’s different works in its favour, it’s not your everyday burger that other places are doing and now doing well. It’s different, it’s delicious and I never at any point felt let down by its lack of traditional burgerness.

I don’t think I convinced Andrew with this argument though and I too was let down by the chips although the Red Miso sauce was awesome and great to dip your “burger” into.

All that said, it is amazing and well worth the trip, but a small word of advice. Don’t get anything else on the bar menu, both Andrew and I were sufficiently impressed by the burger/thing that we decided to stick around for desert and…well…that wasn’t worth it.  When we left we were envious of the people who had just ordered the burger and were about to have the best pulled sandwich experience of their life. I’ll be back.

 

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