Napier Hotel – 210 Napier St Fitzroy – VIC

Posted: September 29, 2014 in Burger Hunt
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Many years ago I had the opportunity to sample the ridiculous “Bogan Burger” at the Napier Hotel with a few mates. My recollections of that evening are a little cloudy, so when the opportunity arose to give the bogan another crack I leapt at the chance. I had been studying all day in the State Library and felt that a burger would be a just reward for such a hard days work. Jo was also keen for a burger, so we made the decision to catch up in the Smith street area not far from where she works. Once I remembered that the Napier was just around the corner, the decision was easy – Bogan Burger time. We arrived at the Napier at about 6:30pm on a Thursday night – the place was packed and all the tables were either full or reserved. Thankfully one of the staff members said we could take one of the tables that had been booked for 6pm but had no-showed. Clearly, this is a popular establishment. Cool refreshing beverages were ordered and the menus were scrutinised. I was always going to get the Bogan burger ($25) if it was still available – thankfully it was – Jo chose to sample the Wagyu Beef burger ($20) . Since the place was pretty busy we had a chance to watch the plates from the kitchen go by and I have to say the meals looked pretty good – I’d love to give the Roo Filet with béarnaise sauce a shot. Anyway, we didn’t have to wait too long for our meals to arrive. Unfortunately my phone had run flat after using it to hotspot in the library all day so I had to rely on Jo’s phone which didn’t seem to work as well in the low light…

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Jo’s burger –  The Wagyu burger came with  port glazed onion, bacon, lettuce, tomato, American mustard, Kentucky bourbon barbecue sauce and fries – She felt that the patty was a bit small for the bun, you had to bite through to get the meat, and the overall taste profile was a bit bland, but generally she was happy with the burger. Being a good little sister she gave me a bite – I didn’t really get any of the bourbon barbecue sauce, and the meat to me seemed under seasoned hence the bland flavour. My burger was another matter altogether. This thing is pretty crazy, you get steak, chicken schnitzel, caramelised onions, cheese, pineapple, beetroot, egg, potato cake, bacon, lettuce, tomato along with a big side of wedges and salad. Come hungry if you want to finish this one! Ok, so technically it’s not really a burger – there is no patty, and well, really there’s also no bun. What you get is a big Turkish bread roll, toasted, piled high with as much food as they can fit and then held together with one of those cocktail umbrellas.

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It certainly grabs your attention, and is pretty difficult to eat. I cut mine in half and then it was possible to actually get it into my mouth… Taste wise, all the elements on their own were pretty good, the steak was tender and cooked medium, although it was very much under seasoned, the chicken schnitzel was really good, the bacon was amazing, and even the potato cake was nice. But putting them all together into one bun doesn’t actually taste all that good. I ended up eating the second half bit by bit, not as a burger – it felt somewhat sacrilegious to be honest…  But perhaps I’m missing the point and I’ve turned into some sort of pretentious  foodie. Really, this is not about the hand ground Wagyu beef, or the brioche buns, or the special sauces of your caviar munching, champagne swilling,  wouldn’t cross the Yarra to save themselves, bloody bourgeoisie foodie tosspots. This is about fair dinkum, bloody grouse blue collar grub- were quality is measured by quantity and a successful meal is followed by a burp, the unbuckling of the belt, and a side glance to your mates with the words, Fark, I’m bloody stuffed, gees that was grouse. It probably would have paired well with a Melbourne or a bourbon and coke… Let’s be honest, I’m not the target audience here, but  I’d still give it a 7 just because it’s a bit of fun!

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