Dude Food Man – Essendon – VIC

Posted: September 21, 2015 in Burger Hunt
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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I’ve wanted to try this place for a while now – they have some of the tastiest looking burgers on instagram. Not only that, but the feedback around the traps has been fairly positive so I’ve been waiting for an excuse to head out to the western suburbs. Recently, that excuse came in the form of a text message from Chris:

“Burger tonight?”

Obviously when you’ve been starved of good burgers for a while, the response was an instantaneous – yes. After some planning, Chris and his partner Hannah agreed to meet me in Essendon around 6:30. I got there a little late as the trip across town is a bit of pain and the traffic sucked. Chris clearly had a worse time of it than me, as he still wasn’t there by 7pm. In the mean time, I got to watch some very delicious looking burgers come off the pass and out the door. I ordered some mac and cheese slappers and a salted caramel milkshake just to pass the time.

The salted caramel milkshake was more thickshake than milkshake – just how I like them – delicious. The slappers were good, but I’ll be honest, I don’t really rate fried mac and cheese – the problem is that is will inevitably be too dry and mostly pasta with only a little sauce. I love mac and cheese, but I like it saucy, not dry – and you can’t have that if you fry it or it would just fall apart. This attempt was a good as it’s probably going to get, so if it’s your thing, then I’m sure these wont disappoint.

By the time Chris and Hannah arrived I was so hungry from watching burger after burger paraded before my eyes that I was sitting in a puddle of drool (Ok, not that bad – but gee I was hungry).

We raced up to the counter to order our burgers – I’d had some time to decided what I wanted so I ordered the Dude burger with added bacon – apparently they have cold smoked bacon here – it looks delicious. I’m sure it would make the burgers just that much better, but I’ll never know as they had run out. I could see and smell the last remaining rashes of bacon sizzling on the grill – oh woe was me. My death stare towards Chris was ignored/avoided. Although, to be fair, I shouldn’t blame him for their lack of bacon supplies… In the end I ordered the Dude burger – 160gm Wagyu beef patty cooked medium, American cheddar, caramelised onions, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard and aioli – $13. Chris opted to double down, with the extra patty and Hannah went for the delicious looking southern fried chicken burger.

We didn’t have to wait too long for our burgers. I was straight into mine – honestly, anything would have tasted amazing at this stage. After the first couple of bites I paused, and Hannah commented that I had a thoughtful expression. Chris too had paused. There was a problem. Neither of us wanted to admit it. I tried some of the patty on it’s own, I took a couple more bites. The look of the burger wasn’t the problem – it looked amazing. The elements themselves were high quality and well cooked – The bun was the sweeter style brioche which can be cakey, however they had warmed these through and the effect was a perfectly soft and spongy bun – a bit on the sweet side for me though. The pickles were great, a sharp/sweet style. The salad did its job and added texture and freshness. The cheese was melted well, although it was very mild. The caramelised onions added richness. The sauces were in the background and didn’t really add to the flavour, rather they added juiciness. And finally we come to the Wagyu patty. Perfectly cooked, juicy, tender.

So what’s the problem you ask? This sounds like an amazing burger. The only problem was that it wasn’t. It was like someone had made me a cordial and not put enough syrup in the glass. It was “watery”.

There was very little flavour. The whole burger was bland – the dominant flavour was sweet. I got almost no beef flavour, no salt, very little savoury – “umami”. Chris had two patties and he had the same problem. It was like they had selected a very lightly flavoured beef and then forgot to season the patties. The whole thing was just intensely disappointing. We discussed that the sweet flavour profile would have really worked with some BBQ sauce, or the addition of smokey bacon to counter the sweet notes… But in the end we were grasping at straws.

At the end of the day, there was very little beef flavour in the beef patties – this is not a good thing in a beef burger. I wanted to believe that we just got a weird batch. I wanted love these burgers. I can’t give this burger anything more than 6.5 based on my experience. I’ll go back and try the burger with bacon and see how it goes – a burger this good looking shouldn’t be this bad. On the plus side – Hannah thought the chicken burger was delicious…

Dude Food Man Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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