Posts Tagged ‘fish and chip shop’

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I noticed Heads & Tails from across the road whilst I was out and about on my early evening walk with Katie – both of us were feeling pretty tired and even though we were standing in front of the supermarket – neither of us could be bothered going through the process of buying food, taking it home, cooking, cleaning – oh god the list never ends. Serious first world problems I know… Obviously the answer these types of problems and in fact, to all of life’s problems is Burger. So the decision was made to seek one out. My first response was Saintly down the road a bit, but I’ve been there, and even though I know it’s amazing I really wanted to try out something new… Across the road was a shiny looking place called Heads & Tails – and this place really looks the part – it’s a modern, fancy looking fish’n’chip shop. More fish and chip bar than shop. Anyway – they had a burger on the menu so in I went. And I wish I hadn’t… I ordered the burger with the lot – which means, lettuce, cheese  caramalised onion, egg, bacon, beef patty and tomato sauce – a standard fish and chip shop burger. I also added pineapple, because I was feeling adventurous and some of their home made aioli.

Unfortunately, the burger was a bit of a disaster truth be told – mainly because the plain white bread bun was either stale, burnt or a bit of both – it was a bit of both, lets be honest. They had toasted it on both sides so all that  meant was that the whole thing crumbled up and fell apart.

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The patty tasted “sausagey” and was overcooked , the egg was dead, although the bacon was actually good and grilled pineapple was nice. but still – not a lot of wins for this burger. At least the chips were nice… I’d give the burger a 4.5. Go to saintly instead if you want a burger on Ormond road – I know I will. Look, I’m sure their fish and chips are better – they certainly looked pretty good and the fish looks really fresh, just not a fan of their burgers.

Heads & Tails Elwood on Urbanspoon

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I’ve been wanting to try the burgers at Andrew’s for some time now. It’s impossible miss the hype surrounding this place if like me you have more than a passing interest in all things hamburger. Not only that – but a place called Andrew’s Hamburgers – I mean come on, it has to be done. For some reason though, every time I think – hey, let’s go to Andrew’s Hamburgers, it’s on a Sunday and of course they are closed on Sundays… This happened yesterday – for the third time – I sent the call out, only to be reminded that they place is shut on, you guessed it, Sundays (surely I should be able to remember that). Anyway, it was decided that it could be put off for no longer and an agreement was made for Chris, Katie and I to all meet up for a Burger before trivia on Monday. Chris arrived at my place at 5:30 and we all drove off to South Melbourne in search of what many have claimed to be one of the best burgers in Melbourne – the hype surrounding Andrew’s Hamburgers is pretty fully on with almost 3000 votes on urban spoon and the vast majority being positive. There’s over 50 blog posts linked to urban spoon alone reviewing the burgers here so there’s no chance that if you dip your proverbial toe in the vast ocean that is burgers in Melbourne that you wont hear some mention of this place… Anyway, the omens had aligned at it was finally my chance to sample the burgery goodness for this venerated establishment. As it was early there was no line out the door as I was half expecting – it helped that it was cold and rainy as well I am sure, and a Monday night too boot.

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Chris went first and order the burger as a double with pineapple and beetroot plus a couple for potato cakes. Katie and I ordered next – I got the burger with the lot – comes with lettuce, tomato, onion, fried egg, bacon, cheese and tomato sauce. I also got a couple of fried dimmies and we ordered a bag of chips. Katie got a standard cheese burger, just cheese, meat and tomato sauce. Standing in the shop I was reminded very much of the many fish and chip shops that I have frequented throughout my life – quite narrow, a couple of bar stools, and you can watch them cook the food as you wait. I was intrigued by the way they cooked the burgers, Ball of mince pressed down onto the hot plate with the diced onion pressed into one side of the patty before being flipped.
There was a bit of a back log of orders so we had to wait a little while, but eventually we were seated on the bench outside, excited to take out first bites.
Almost wished that I hadn’t. If I were to review the burger in one word it would be:

“Meh..”

That’s right, one of the most overrated burgers I’ve had on my adventures thus far. Now, that’s not to say that this was a bad burger. Not at all, in fact it was nice, almost good. But to be brutally honest, there was little if anything that set this burger apart from the many other standard fish and chip shop style burgers I have had. Let me explain:

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The burger itself is quite large – you get a large standard white bread burger bun, soft yet firm, sesame seeds on top, lightly toasted, the patty is a good size made from good mince – nothing exceptional, but a reasonable quality, however it’s thin and crumbly and doesn’t keep together during the eating process. the fact that it is thin means that it’s cooked all the way though so really the quality of the meat is lost because it’s overcooked. The burger is covered in quite a lot of melted sliced processed cheese, nothing fancy here. I got an over cooked egg with a hard yolk – pointless really. the bacon was standard, the lettuce was Iceberg which I like and my tomato slices were grilled which is a nice touch. the only sauce was tomato – I put a bit more of this on at the table and a bit of yellow mustard as well. Pretty much your standard fish and chip shop burger. At no stage did I or Chris or Katie for that matter think – wow this is an amazing, unique, special, or even better than average burger.

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Chris’s burger was pretty cheesy

That fact that it was served with pretty average chips – terrible potato cakes – oh and down right bad Dim Sims. Firstly, one was soggy and not fried properly and they all had about half a cup of salt tossed over them… Anyway, lets just say that I wouldn’t bother going back. I have much, much, better fish and chip shop options around the corner from me (I’m thinking of you Tommy Ruff). And my good Mate Charlie at Old Salt in Port Melbourne does a burger that’s much better… I’d give this place a 5.5 at most. I cannot understand all the hype about this place – I just don’t get it?

Andrew's Hamburgers on Urbanspoon

Grouper LF1
Another Grouper Sandwich in paradise – my life really sucks… Yep, I can feel your pity. Anyway, so we “forgot” to bring the steaks from home to cook for dinner down at Kathy and Macs condo in Bokeelia on Pine Island Florida. What a shame… As a consequence, we had to walk around the corner to the local, a sea shanty style place called Lazy Flamingo. I’ve been here a few times before, so I know the place is pretty good value. Decided I’d shout the in-laws dinner, nice move since this place is cheap 😉 Ok, in comparison to Australia EVERYWHERE is cheap, so it’s always a win.

We were all pretty hungry after the 4 and half hour drive from Deland to Bokeelia so it was no surprise when Mac ordered a full size plate of fried oysters to start, along with some smoked fish dip. I’ll leave any kind of smoked fish dip alone (Not my thing), so we can move on from that one. And I was skeptical about the fried oyster idea, however the big pile of golden oyster nuggets that came out on a bed of delicious fries lasted all of about 5 minutes. We demolished those tasty little gems. The fried oysters were breaded in a lightly spicy coating, which still allowed for a very subtle oyster flavour to come though, dipped in cocktail sauce or Tartar sauce – just lovely. Definitely getting these again.

But lets talk about the mains –  I toyed with the idea of getting a burger, however, since I had indulged in a five guys burger for lunch, I felt I could probably go with out a burger for dinner. Instead, I went way out of my comfort zone and got a Grouper Sandwich… Ok, so not the most creative choice, but I know they make them good here so, you know… Anyway, the Grouper Sandwich came out hot and fresh. I like they way they set it up, with the lettuce, Vidalia onions and pickles skewered to the top part of the bun and one large fried slab of Grouper on the bottom side ready to combine burger style. I also really like the fact that both halves of the bun were generously “buttered” with Tartar sauce. The bun was a really soft, a bit like what we would call a damper roll back home – it worked really well with the hot fried Grouper, compressing around all the elements and holding everything together. This was a quality Grouper Sandwich – well prepared, good quality ingredients. Very good. The only downside was that the Grouper probably wasn’t the best quality Grouper I’ve ever had. Overall though – I’d give this place a highly recommended.

Lazy Flamingo 3 Incorporated on Urbanspoon

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One of the first things that I really need every time I come to Florida is a Grouper Sandwich. For those of you from back home, this is not a sandwich as any Australian would imagine it, but more what we would call a Fish Burger. I’ve been on a Grouper Sandwich hunt before and Oceans in New Smyrna Beach is the benchmark by which all other Grouper Sandwiches are measured. Probably due to the fact that this was the first Grouper Sandwich I ever had. I still recall that first sandwich, oh what a magical moment… The first bite, what a sensational experience – the realisation that I had just experienced a culinary life changing moment. Of course, the one downside with my first Grouper Sandwich being from Oceans is that it’s a pretty high benchmark, of which many sandwiches (Although not all) have since fallen short.

So what to do on my second full day in DeLand Florida? Drive to Oceans in New Smyrna and get myself a Grouper Sandwich before hitting the beach for a swim that’s what. The Grouper Sandwich is usually a fairly simple affair. You get the bun, the fish which is normally breaded and fried, cos lettuce (Which I think they call Romaine), tomato, Vidalia onion rings and Tartar and Cocktail sauce on the side. Some come with a pickle. The sandwich usually comes open, and you put it together yourself. It’s simple, but it works.

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Oceans has got theirs down to a fine art. The bun is a generous size, a white bread, slightly sweet like all American breads, soft on the inside, with a slightly crunchy crust – not toasted. As you can see from the photo, they serve theirs open and you put it together yourself. I added a generous amount of Tartar sauce to the bottom bun beneath the fish – of which I got two fairly large pieces, I then topped it with the onion rings, tomato and lettuce.

20140624_041552[1]What, makes this burger is the fish – Grouper works so well because it stays together – it doesn’t flake apart, and yet it has a lovely soft texture and a slightly sweet subtle fish flavour. Oceans does their Grouper in a really nice breading, more like a fried chicken kinda crumb, and their fish is fresh and cooked to perfection. The simple toppings allow the fish to star, and the overall experience is just heaven in a bun. Oh, and a side note on Vidalia onions – these are sweet onions, which still have the texture of a normal onion, but lack the punch in the face onion hit. The result being that you get a nice mellow onion note in the background which complements the fish, instead of drowning it out. Price wise the Grouper is always the more expensive option to put in the sandwich – at Oceans you get a side of Fries and the Sandwich for $12.49 – almost double the price of a normal Fish sandwich, but it’s worth it. No other fish really does the dish justice like the Grouper, so don’t be tight – splash out on the Grouper and you wont regret it.

 

Oceans Seafood on Urbanspoon

Old salt

20 Burgers into my burger hunt and I decided that it was high time to take Charlie up on his offer of an Old Salt Burger. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my burger adventuring than with this delicious fish and chip shop burger. *Disclaimer* I did not pay for this burger – Joe and Charlie never let me pay (my cousin Megs is married to Charlie). Anyway, I’d been putting off heading down to get an Old Salt burger, firstly because I didn’t want to seem like a free loader, and secondly because I was a bit worried about writing about Charlie’s burger (What if it was not as good as I remembered?). Anyway, I finally decided that it needed to be done – the hunger won out. Damo of course was in on the action when he learned where I was off to, so the two of us set off to have ourselves a tasty  burger! Unfortunately Charlie was not at work, but then let’s be honest – the maestro of the grill, Joe, is the one you want cooking your burger anyway. Two old salt burgers were dutifully ordered and the anticipation began. By the way, these baby’s come with double beef, double cheese, egg,  bacon, lettuce and tomato, gilled onion and pineapple and tomato sauce – so don’t think you’ll be leaving hungry. Upon arrival, any doubts that these burgers would be anything but exceptional were obliterated. Huge was the first thing to come to mind when I opened the bag. How much are these things I asked – $11.90! Wow, talk about value. First bite and my hat goes of to Joe – he hasn’t lost it. Hands down this is the best Fish and Chip shop burger I’ve had.

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Originally I had ethical problems about writing about the old salt burger – could I be objective, could I be honest? Well, there’s no need to worry about that when the burger is so damn good. And I’m obviously not the only one. Old Salt is over 90% on urban spoon as I write this – clearly they are doing things right. Chatting to Joe post burger (Admittedly it was a struggle since I was pretty full – no chance I was leaving any of that burger behind though), it was clear that he’s passionate about the food he serves. Joe’s old school – it’s not about the money, it’s about pride in doing a good job and doing things right – he only serves food that he would feed to his family – which he does, you’ll probably see a few of the grandchildren underfoot most weekends. Hand on heart, do yourself a favour and go and grab one of these delicious burgers. You wont regret it.

 

Tommy Ruff

Sneaky Afternoon Burger… Had to leave work early to get to the post office to sort out some passport stuff and I hadn’t had a chance to actually eat any lunch. As a result I was rather peckish. Chris C had mentioned that Tommy Ruff – a fish and chip shop that I’ve seen many times before, but never been to – did a really solid fish burger. Since I had just happened to park my car pretty much in front of Tommy Ruff and I was hungry – surely the stars had aligned and it was some higher power’s will that I get some form of burgery goodness from Tommy Ruff. I mean – who am I to argue with such clear omens. Anyway, once I had all my chores out of the way, the path was clear to enjoy the lovely autumnal sunshine and a sneaky afternoon burger. Tommy Ruff from the outside looks like a nice little restaurant, inside they have a counter at which you can order takeaway (Which they give to you in these cool reusable bags…), a seating area for diners and then a covered and heated veranda out the front. Since it was really nice and sunny I elected to sit out the front. I  was going to order the fish burger, but something about the beef burger called out to me, so I went with the “sinker” – 100% Aussie Beef burger with the lot, some chips and some calamari rings (I love a good calamari ring).

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I have to say, when the burger arrived, the young girl who brought it out to me was impressed enough to actually exclaim, “wow, it looks amazing doesn’t it?” (Hopefully that doesn’t mean that normally the burger’s not as good) all I could do was smile and try not to dribble as at this stage I was pretty hungry. First things first – the calamari rings, wow – crispy, fresh, tender, delicious. These are some of the best I’ve had for a while, worth the $1.20 a pop price as they are also a pretty generous size. I can’t recommend these enough. The chips that came with the meal were also fantastic, really good, lightly seasoned, fish and chip shop style chips. But really, what I want to talk about is the burger. I am so glad I decided to go in today! At $9.50 we aren’t talking an expensive burger by any stretch, it’s cheaper than most burger bar standard burgers and in this case you get “the lot”, which means cheese, egg, onion, bacon & salad. On a first impression basis it certainly scores well – it looks fantastic, a well put together, well proportioned burger. The bun is soft and springy, a nice soft white bread – nothing fancy, but does the job. The egg and bacon are both high quality, as are the salad elements, and the grilled onions are a nice touch. The patty itself is fairly thin, a standard fish and chip shop size – clearly  a good quality meat, cooked well and certainly beefy and juicy. A generous slice of cheese and a fair whack of tomato sauce completes the supporting cast. Overall you really can’t go wrong at this price point, and if you are looking for a good quality Aussie style burger with the lot, I’d have to strongly recommend giving Tommy Ruff a shot. For what they are trying to do, and at the price they are charging I’d have to give it an 7.5 (I was almost thinking about an 8).

 

Tommy Ruff - Fish Bar on Urbanspoon