Archive for the ‘Burger Hunt’ Category

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I’ve visited Fordham’s in the past for brunch – and I’m a fan already. However, I’ve always wanted to try their burger – well, today I got that chance. As most of you know – I’m broke. it’s really not Awesome. So going out and about is far less common that it used to be. However, Taz (Poppy Taz) hadn’t visited Lucy for a while and had offered to shout us Lunch. I’ll never pass up the shot at a free lunch – and of course it is always nice to catch up with Taz.

It wasn’t too busy at Fordham’s – we arrived a bit after the Brunch rush so things were starting to settle down – we got a table inside and had the menus out and food ordered pretty quickly. I got the double cheeseburger, Katie – the steak sandwich and Taz went for the scotch eggs. The scotch eggs looked amazing and according to Taz, were pretty good.

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An interesting take on the old scotch egg – Taz felt that they were surprising – but in a good way. Katie’s steak sandwich was apparently very good, she didn’t give me any so I can’t confirm. I ordered the burger, which comes with big chips – nice and soft in the centre and accompanied with some very nice dipping sauce. The burger is advertised as the double cheese burger – I normally think double beef when I hear that, but on this occasion it meant double cheese. I would have liked another patty to be honest – next time I might order it that way. Anyway – the burger comes pretty standard – meat, double American cheese, pickles, tomato, sauce. For a cheese burger, it’s very good. You know my position on bacon, so I feel as though it could only be enhanced by a couple of crispy slices – but aside from the lack of bacon – it’s quite good. So good in fact that I had to keep it away from Lucy:

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The bun in this burger was well toasted, a little on the sweet side for me, but balanced well by the other elements. The patty was cooked all the way through, I think it would have been better with a hint of pink. Even still, it was juicy and tender, and most importantly – well seasoned. There were quite a few pickles and a fair whack of sauce – when coupled with the double cheese – this gave the burger a really, juicy, saucy kind of feel which I really liked. A bit on the small side for me – however the elements are there for a great burger – and considering the place is a brunch place and not a burger joint – I’m impressed. I give it a 7.5 – which is a solid score – add bacon and I’d say it would be an 8+.

 

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Brother Burger has been on my to do list for a while now – unfortunately I don’t get out as much as I used to. Chris however is footloose and fancy free… without letting me know, he went off and sampled Brother Burger, and then was nice enough to send me a photo and suggest he do a write up… Thanks Chris. Below is his take on Brother Burger.
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After Archery on a weekend there’s nothing like heading to get a good Burger. Being in the area a friend of mine and myself decided to try Brother Burger on Brunswick Street Fitzroy. It was the long weekend so Melbourne was deserted. Fighting our way past the tumbleweeds and chirping crickets that populated the streets instead of people, we were relieved to see that it was open. Honestly it looked like the Zombie Apocalypse was in progress. But Brother Burger was buzzing. Ahh, this is where everyone is. Well…were all the hipsters were.
Brother Burger promises a good Wagyu burger experience, they make a big deal of the high quality hand grinded burger patty you are about to experience taken from cows that had been pampered in fields so grassy you could only see their little cow ears poking up. So naturally I got the double. My friend strangely got the lamb burger. Who gets the lamb burger?
To start we decided the Smokey Buffalo wings and beers were the order of the day and to accompany them some beers. They have a craft beer called the “Holden Haytime” beer by Half-moon. It was amazing.  A desert like beer that manages to taste not entirely unlike a Golden Gay time. Look it’s a beer. The fact that it tastes like a golden gay time at all is amazing.  When the wings arrived they were beautiful with a crispy outer shell of batter that had been soaked in Smokey sweet BBQ sauce.  So far so good. We also ordered some of the Onion rings because….well onion rings are awesome.
When the burgers arrived they looked the business. They smelt amazing. Mine was a beautiful stack of grilled meat with cheese, BBQ sauce, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato, caramelised onions for sweetness and sharp American mustard on a nice light milk bun. The burger was a good size and looked like it would hold together well.
There were just two issues with it. First, whilst the meat was not quite as promised, it wasn’t the best cut, it wasn’t even the second best cut. This was chuck, chuck with gristle in it. Wagyu? Um…no. I had to chew my way through more than a few pieces of sinew and cartilage. Which I don’t mind…..provided I’m not paying $17 for a burger and I was faithfully promised finest Wagyu by the menu.
Second was the Mustard. Way too sharp and way too much of it. I didn’t order the Mustard burger did I? No…that’s just how it comes? Ugh.
My friend was having similar issues with his burger. But his biggest problem was the meat. He did not like the meat. Now look, Lamb can be divisive; it’s our national meat but it has a strong smell and sometimes that puts people off. I’m not squeamish and I like lamb, but based on the smell did not try the small piece of patty I was given to sample. It might have been the herbs, it might have been the spices but it seemed like it was the meat itself and I was glad I didn’t order it but my friend had ordered it and it remained uneaten. And that’s the most damming thing I can say about Brother Burger. Even though we were both hungry when we walked in neither Burger was finished.
I give my burger 4 out of 10.
Well – there we have it – not the best burger experience. Another let down? I will have to investigate further myself and I promise to dutifully report back.

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After the unmitigated disaster that was last weekends burger hunt, I needed to rebound with something special. There’s still quite a few burgers on my to-do list, and one that has been up the top for quite some time is Laurie Dee’s. The reason I haven’t ticked it off yet is the fact that it’s almost an hour away from where I live. Today I decided it was time. So off on the burger hunt we went. By we I mean, Katie, Chris and of course Lucy.

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After the long trip in the car talking about burgers we arrived a fairly ravenous bunch – sprint walking to the restaurant. Thankfully it was pretty quiet and we were seated and ordering before too long. A quick look around Laurie Dee’s and you immediately think Franchise. This place is being positioned to franchise. From the décor to the menu to the layout – it all screams franchise. Not that this is always a bad thing – but it did put me off a little bit at first. The menu is slick and full of delicious photo’s, so after I wiped my drool off the menu, I proceeded to select a burger. I opted for the Double Laurie Dee’s with added bacon ($12.95), Katie went for the Double Bacon & Cheddar ($10.95), and Chris decided to go crazy and opted for the Sloppy Joe ($10.95). We also ordered some chilli cheese fries and I got a Banana Shake – Katie and Chris later ordered some of the “Frozen custard” for dessert.

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One thing I will say, is that you probably want to go for the double – the burgers aren’t big – they’re designed to go two patties. Speaking of the patties – very interesting. Apparently they are hand minced daily, which is great, but the way the are cooked is where you get the biggest difference from your normal burger. Very thin and squashed flat, the edges get crispy and very caramelised, which gives you a nice meaty taste. Generally, the danger here would be a rubbery, dry overcooked patty, but at Laurie Dee’s they have avoided that – The patty is still juicy enough, and encased in melted, gooey, American style cheese – so you get that fatty, salty accompaniment to the beef – works well. The overall flavour reminded me of American fast food beef – not unlike five guys actually. The bacon is the next hit – it’s smokey, salty and crisp – delicious. The buns are fairly standard fast food style – very soft and spongy, although not cakey in this case. The sauces were great, although I’ve never been a massive fan of pickle relish – too sweet for me – I’d probably be happy to leave it out next time. Overall a very good fast food style American burger. In fact we all really enjoyed our burgers . The chilli fries were also great – once again very much like what I’ve gotten back in the states – A nice cheesy sauce with a mild chilli – worth getting if you go.

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Since I was full from the meal (Plus I had a thick shake – nice enough, but nothing you haven’t had before) I skipped ordering my own dessert. Katie and Chris both really enjoyed theirs and from the sneaky tastes I managed to get, I’d have to agree. Not sure if “frozen custard” is really any different to ice cream, but either way it’s good.

On the long drive home, much of the discussion centred around the rating. Everyone really enjoyed their food – The clear theme was value for money and delivering on the promise of a good fast food style American burger. My thoughts were – as good as it was – it was still fast food quality. Can I go above 7.5 in this case? Chris and Katie seemed to think yes.

I think I’m going to stick to my guns on this one. A very enjoyable, fun burger. If you’ve eaten burgers in the States, you’ll enjoy this. If you like the current gourmet burger trend, then you might rate this burger a little lower. In any case, I’m going rate this a good solid 7.5 with a note that my fellow burger hunters would rate it higher.

 

Laurie Dee's Hamburgers & Frozen Custard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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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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Sometimes you have those moments in your life when it seems as though all is well with the world. Admittedly, at those moments you’re probably not reflecting very deeply and it’s possible that the sumptuous burger that is filling your mouth is making real introspection difficult. Regardless of the realities of the Greek financial crisis or third world poverty or Miley Cyrus –  I had one such moment at Mr Scruff’s. Had you observed me at that point in time, you would have witnessed an overweight, balding man, grinning crazily and probably giggling at times as he shoved a rather larger burger into his mouth – possibly pausing occasionally to stare at the beautiful burgery goodness that fate had seen fit to place in his hands. Oh my goodness indeed…

Ah, I should probably explain as this is getting a little weird… Damo and I had not caught up for quite some time and with Lucy fed and in bed, I decided to head out for a burger. I’d heard some buzz about Mr Scuff’s and I felt that now was my opportunity to test out the reports. Damo was keen for a catch up so off we went. 7:30 on a cold Tuesday in the middle of the Melbourne winter had not dissuaded the punters and Mr Scruff’s was pretty full. We had to wait for a table to clear so we could sit down. But since it was “Chewsday” I guess it was always going to be busy. I was happy to wait, so we ordered our burgers. Damo went for the chewsday special – the Pooter Burger which came with think gravy, mozzarella, a bacon weave (which just means heaps of bacon!!)  kipfler chips, usa cheese, a beef patty, cos lettuce and mayo – for $18. That actually didn’t sound particularly appealing to me so I went for the standard burger with an added patty and bacon. It comes with Cheese, lettuce, onions, pickles and a special sauce – $17 in total. We also ordered the Poutine – because, Poutine – and some onion rings. Both side were exceptionally good. I really like the poutine here – it was about as good as I’ve had outside of Canada to be honest – although still not quite right (Missing the cheese curds – grated cheese doesn’t work as well). But we’re not here to talk about the sides – however good they might be…

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My burger was, from start to finish – amazing. One of the best burgers I’ve had full stop! The bun was perfect for this burger – a fresh white bread with a soft and spongy feel – although strong enough to stand up to a juicy, saucy, double meat burger. The bacon in this burger was great – a nice crispy cut which was smokey with just the right amount of fat without becoming greasy. The cheese was perfectly melted and the American style was the right choice. The patties were the standout however – both well cooked with a nice hint of pink – and a really good size for a double – not too thin and not too thick. The meat was ground on a fairly coarse setting which allowed for a juicy, beefy texture and the seasoning was on point. The lettuce added the freshness and the pickles were necessary to add sharpness and cut through all the rich fatty elements. Overall the burger was perfectly balanced. Each bite was burger heaven – and even though I was feeling pretty full, I know that if another burger had been placed in front of me, it would have been pretty difficult to stop myself from giving it a shot.

This to me, is a perfect expression of this style of burger – quality ingredients, well executed, balanced. It’s the bacon double cheeseburger that you dream of when you want one – but never get (Until now!).

I give it a 9.5 – If I were asked where you should go for the best bacon double cheeseburger in Melbourne – this would be it. I want one right now!

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I was in the city for a bit of adventure for Chris’s birthday recently at venue called Escape Hunt in the city. It was actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be, even though we were too slow to figure out the mystery… Afterwards it was suggested that we head off to the Mitre Tavern for some refreshments –  Now I wasn’t planning for a burger, but as the opportunity presented itself, who was I to say no… Sometimes I should say no… Not all burgers are created equal. You just have wonder why venues will bother to put a burger on the menu and then produce these insipid, can’t be bothered burgers. I mean, what’s the point if you are just going to serve up a pre-frozen, sausage patty, which has no resemblance to anything I would call a burger. Do they think people order burgers because they lack a sophisticated palate and wont care what they get – as long as it’s hot and comes with chips??? I have to believe that’s what some “chefs” think. What I think is that if you can’t be bothered, then don’t put it on the menu. By all reports, the other meals were fine – standard pub fare. The burger… NOT FINE.

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I’m not really sure if I could be bothered with this review, because it would appear the “chef” couldn’t be bothered with my burger… I mean, they didn’t even bother to sauce the thing – I had to do that myself.

The burger arrived open and I guess the small amount of tomato sauce was to serve for both the chips and the burger??  The patty wasn’t close to good – it was clearly just heated up and as a result it was pretty rubbery. To compare it to an overcooked sausage would be unfair to the sausage. The lettuce was that salad mix stuff you get in bags from the supermarket – it just doesn’t belong on a burger. To be brutally honest, the best thing about the whole affair was the beetroot. AND I HATE BEETROOT. Sure I guess the bun was ok, and the onion rings were nice enough if you ate them on their own with the sauce, although then you would have nothing left for the burger…

Honestly I’d give it a 3.5 – Avoid the burger.

Click to add a blog post for Mitre Tavern Steakhouse on Zomato

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I didn’t get much of a chance to go burger hunting while I was in New Zealand recently – by virtue of the fact that I was on a ski camp and on the slopes most of the time trying not to kill myself (I’m still sore…). However, a half-day trip into Christchurch presented the perfect opportunity to grab a local burger. Christchurch by the way is still in pretty bad shape. While they are slowly rebuilding, there is still quite a lot of obvious reminders that a massive earth quake pretty much levelled the city only 5 years ago. The Restart Container Mall is a cool approach to dealing with the difficulties of getting on with business while having to rebuild a city. Essentially a city block that used to house shops and high-rise buildings is now populated by a bunch of renovated shipping containers that have been fitted out to house retail shops and cafe’s – it’s a brilliant use of the space. There’s also a bunch of food trucks – and one such food truck is Red Box Burger and Grill.

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I got in just as they were finishing up – my burger was the last before they closed up shop. I ordered their Manuka Burger which comes with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, roasted red pepper, aioli and Dijon mustard on a white bread bun. The patty was huge but apparently they’re changing it to two patties – still all for $13.50NZD.

It was interesting to watch the girl cook-up and assemble my burger. One thing that I found intriguing was the technique she used to cook the patty. The patty itself was angus mince, pre-shaped into a large patty, which she then proceeded to bash out on the grill using a potato masher. She just pounded the patty on the grill until it was a huge disk of meaty goodness. The net effect was a pretty thin patty although still fairly tender. The only problem was that since it was the end of the day, the grill was clearly a bit oily so it got a fair bit of fat and grease all over it – made the patty a bit greasy. It was a huge tasty patty nonetheless.

You can see the size of the patty here - and the grease

You can see the size of the patty here – and the grease

I quite liked the addition of the red pepper, it was one of those jarred, roasted red peppers which had a slightly pickled taste – in the absence of pickle this gave the burger that much needed piquancy that cut through all that fat. The bacon was crunchy and fatty and delicious. I loved the Dijon mustard with the aioli – nice change from the standards back home. I would have liked a bit more cheese – the one small slice for a burger this big just wasn’t enough. The main issue I had with the burger was the bun – it really let the whole thing down. It was a bit stale and crumbly and just didn’t stand up to the big juicy patty. Overall,  I’d give it a 7 – nice enough, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for one again.

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I was desperate for a burger on Saturday night after a day spent working on reports, so I asked Chris to find a place nearby that we hadn’t been to. He came back with YOMG. That’s right, he suggested a frozen yogurt bar… Chris was almost banned from choosing burger places with this insipid effort. Well at least that’s what I thought at the time. Strangely I accepted his recommendation and we set off on our burger hunt to a FROZEN YOGURT bar… Ah Chris… Firstly, what sort of yogurt bar sells Burgers and Fries? YOMG is a frozen yogurt franchise – I’d been to the one in Mornington in the middle of summer, nice enough place…. It’s one of the plethora of trendy serve yourself frozen yogurt bars that seems to be popping up around the traps. They’re so trendy that there are two within walking distance on Glenhuntly road that opened at the same time near my old place. Great business planning there…

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Anyway, so the YOMG in Glen Waverly also sells burgers – yep Burgers and Fries. I wonder how they convinced the franchise that they were going to sell burgers and fries as well – I mean, I don’t see  that as a natural partnership. But perhaps I should – because regardless of how weird the idea was to me – when we arrived, it was standing room only – the place was packed. And this is in the middle of winter, and I can’t see business at a frozen yogurt bar really taking off when it’s 7c outside…

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We couldn’t get a seat and it was almost impossible to get a park nearby – the problem was that I had Lucy in the baby carrier. So the plan was Katie and Chris would order and I would drive around so that Lucy wouldn’t lose it, and they’d call me when the burgers were ready and we’d park some where and eat. Consequently I’m not totally sure of the menu or the prices. I can say that I ordered the Double, which come with double beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, caramelised onion, special sauce and ketchup – around $13. Chris got the same, Katie got a chicken burger and then we ordered some fries – Katie got some sort of pulled pork, Asian flavoured amazingness, and Chris ordered the American fries, which bacon, cheese sauce, ketchup and mustard (also amazing). Katie also got an amazing Peanut butter and salted caramel Milkshake and yet for some reason she only ordered me a can of coke zero… I think it would have been fair if we had divorced there and then – who does that to their husband?? Thankfully she let me have some of her delicious milkshake – although she wouldn’t give me any of her chicken burger. Our relationship is clearly on shaky ground.

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We found a secluded side street to park on and then got stuck into our burgers and fries. Firstly – sorry about the photo’s, it was dark and I got some grease on the phone so the photo’s came out a little blurry. But that’s probably the only downside. The burgers here are amazing. Chris’s crazy suggestion for some reason paid off. From the first bite the burger really stands out – a nice soft bun, lightly toasted, good amount of seeds, a lovely glazed crust, spongy and fresh, savoury more than sweet. The patties were really good. Not the best quality meat – more a chuck style flavour – but seasoned well, a loose grind, so you get a very tender and juicy burger patty, and they were cooked to perfection. The cheese was melted and encased the double patties well. The caramelised onion added nice sweetness and richness to the burger and the salad balanced the burger well. The sauce was in the background, allowing the meat patties to shine through.

We were all pretty impressed and confused as to why these burgers are being sold in Yogurt bar. If a Yogurt bar can do a burger this good -then there is no excuse for any burger bar again to dish out anything less than this – ever. I’m still blown away by just how good this burger was – I wanted another one straight away – not that I needed another one. The fries were amazing too. Everything was great (Except my can of coke – which really was a disappointing accompaniment to such quality food). Chris felt that this burger was good enough for an 8.5. I’m inclined to almost agree. If the burger had pickles I think I’d be dishing out the 8.5 without thinking twice. As it is… Ah, stuff it –  8.5, it was that good. I guess Chris is allowed to choose the place again (He got lucky).

Click to add a blog post for YOMG on Zomato

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There’s not many other burgers that have stuck in my mind like the burger at The Spotted Mallard… This was one of the very early burger hunt venues that we visited last year. Jo, Myself, Damo and Katie checked out the burger and poutine at The Spotted Mallard back in April last year and I’ve wanted to go back ever since. Since Rusty – Katie’s Brother – was in town, I decided that we needed to take him out for a good burger. Damo suggested The Spotted Mallard, and I couldn’t agree quickly enough… Thankfully Mum was happy to babysitting Lucy – and let’s be honest – we have to pry Lucy away from Mum when she’s here, so it wasn’t hard to convince “Nanna” to spend some time with her only grandchild!

We headed out on Saturday night with Rusty in tow, keen to show this American just what Australia can offer when it comes to the humble burger. Well, there’s nothing humble about this burger. There wasn’t much thinking to do when we arrived – we all ordered the Wagyu Beef and Bacon Burger – Damo and I manned up and went the double. That’s 2x 150gm Wagyu beef patties, bacon, gruyere, caramelised onion, pickles and chipotle mayo. Comes with a mound of chips for $27 or $20 for the more sensible single patty. We also got some of the Pulled Pork Poutine – they don’t have the Lamb Poutine anymore unfortunate – however the Pulled Pork Poutine is pretty good.

Anyway, we were here for the burgers, not the chips… As you can see the double is a bit silly, you can’t eat it as a double, although Damo tried (and failed – he was using the knife and fork at the end)… I removed the additional patty, which was also covered in the extra cheese and bacon.

It’s when you eat the patty on it’s own that you get an appreciation for the quality. Cooked to a nice and juicy medium, still quite pink, the beef is lightly seasoned with a hint of cumin (Damo thought this was too much when you had the double at once) which is risky as cumin can over power the meat, but in this case it was just spot on. The cheese added a nice nutty, creamy note, with the fatty salty bacon finishing it off. On it’s own it’s probably too rich and a bit fatty, but when you add the rest of the elements of the burger it works so well. The bun is a Lievito brioche, lacks the cakey sweetness of other brioche’s and is one of the best buns going around. A few burger places use these buns and I’m always happy with the outcome.

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The chipotle mayo is great – a light spice, more a hit of pepperiness, and some smokiness there that just adds to the experience. But for me, the best part is the lettuce… Yep, I said lettuce. I don’t know what the trick is exactly, I mean the lettuce seems to be the usual crisp iceberg, but it’s like they’ve added a sharp vinaigrette. The outcome is a light, pickle like sharpness that cuts through the richness and balances the whole burger. It’s a great burger it really is. In Rusty’s opinion it was the best he’s ever had. This from a guy who grew up in small town USA. Big call. But I don’t think he’s all that far off the mark. Price wise, this place is not cheap – although you do get the chips included, so I guess you could say $16 + $4 for chips – which is not too far above the mark. Plus these are good burgers. For me – this burger is an 8.5 – right up there with some damn good burgers.

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I kind of feel bad about going to Burger Lab. Not because it wasn’t great – it was. But because Chris had suggested it and we had sort of organised to meet up there… Turns out I was running early and he was running late so I ended up grabbing a bite to eat on my own. I had to head down to Mordialloc to drop Rusty at the Train station, so I was in the area anyway. It was pretty early, around 6ish, so I decided to head over to Burger Lab. Chris had found the place and had suggested we give it a go a few weeks back, but we just couldn’t make it work. Anyway, when I got there it was pretty busy, with two big tables of around 10-15 on each – some sort of Birthday party. I was able to get a seat on my own and I was served pretty quickly. Watching the plates of burgers go past, and reading the menu I was pretty confident that this place knew their burgers. I ordered the Free-Range Bacon burger $10.50, got a side of fries with aioli – $4+$2 and a milkshake (I think $5…). Even though they were clearly busy, I didn’t have to wait too long. The milk shake came out first, not the best or worst I’ve had – passable. The fries were ok, I’d probably try the chips next time.

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However, the burgers here are pretty special. Reading the menu, it’s clear they put a lot of thought into sourcing good quality ingredients. If you start with the best inputs – then your output should be pretty good. The buns are Lievito brioche buns – I’ve had these on a few burgers around the traps, It’s just the right bun for mind – soft, slightly sweet, works with so many types of burgers. A good choice here.  Then you come to the bacon – oh my god that bacon. Quality free range deliciousness, salty, nice amount of juicy fat. Insert Homer noise here. The cheese they’ve chosen here is an organic Raclette – great choice, oozy melted cheese encases the beef patty, helping to retain the juiciness of the burger. The patty itself is really good, it’s clearly high quality beef, ground on a fairly course setting, so you really appreciate the meat, the flavour is outstanding, nicely grilled – still with a hint of pink, well seasoned, an all around quality patty. The salad elements do their job, and there’s just the right amount of sauce to make you have to think about correct positioning to avoid the drips. For me, this was all about showcasing the quality of the ingredients. The end result was an immensely enjoyable burger. I will most certainly be back to this place. I give it an 8.5.

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