Posts Tagged ‘Melbourne’

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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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Finally got a chance to head out for a boys Lunch. Dad suggested that the we head out for a little light refreshment, with Mac and Taz, while the girls stayed home and look after little Lucy. Not having been out of the house for any great length of time in the preceding weeks, I jumped at the opportunity. Dad, picked me up and we met Mac and Taz at PJ O’Brien’s for a pint or two of the black stuff, and some in-depth discussions on where we might do Lunch. It’s possible that we stayed a little longer at PJ’s than intended, so the decision was made to sample one of the nearby establishments for Lunch as we were running out of time. Taz and I had spotted a sign for Hophaus, and none of us really needed any convincing to head off to a Germanic themed restaurant. I mean, what’s not to like about German Bier and meat. So upstairs we went to Hophaus.

The morning had been pretty average, but after a brief shower, Melbourne really turned it on, and we were soon sitting out in the warm Autumnal sunshine, overlooking the Yarra, enjoying a fantastic Schöfferhofer Kristallweizen and some Bretzel. Ah, the Germans really know how to eat and drink…

Dad was shouting lunch so we decided to get some oysters to begin with. Normally I’m not a huge fan of the fried oyster, you tend to destroy all that is special about an oyster when you fry it – However, on this occasion Hophaus really nailed it. Possibly the best fried Oysters I’ve had. Very lightly fried in a Weissbier batter, each oyster was presented in shell on top of a small amount of sauerkraut, and finished with a dollop of dill aioli.

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We were in no hurry, however there seemed to be quite a wait for all of our courses – in the middle of a work day, during lunch, I would expect things to be pretty snappy, but for whatever reason there was quite a delay. I had ordered the burger, and when it arrived it was cold. I wonder if it has been made first and just sat there as they waited for the other dishes. I returned my burger, telling they waiter that it was cold and it was replaced without any fuss – they apologised and I quickly received a fresh burger. These things happen, it’s how staff deal with it that matters. In this instance they did so professionally and quickly. I was more than happy with the outcome. So lets talk about the burger – the second one that was hot of the grill.

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The Hamburg’er as they bill it, is advertised as Angus beef, with Kaiserfleisch, smoked cheese, lightly pickled cabbage, lettuce, pickles and a curry ketchup on a brioche bun. All for $20 with a bitburger bier thrown in as a lunch special. I’m a huge fan of Kaiserfleisch, a smoked pork cut, nice and smokey and salty, lovely fat. Personally, I’d choose this over our bacon any day of the week. The salty, smokey crispy pork, played off well against the angus patty. The patty itself was well seasoned and juicy, with a nice grill flavour, not overly beefy in flavour, but nice enough. I really liked the  pickle elements, the quick pickled cabbage (Not quite sauerkraut), and actual pickles, added nice sharp not the balanced the sweet, cakey Brioche and cut through the rich smokey Kaiserfleisch and the fat of the meat and cheese. The crispy lettuce added texture and freshness. Overall, a lovely burger which I’d give a 7.5. Enjoyed with some great German Biers and great company you have yourself the makings of a nice afternoon.

Hophaus on Urbanspoon

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I was in the city for some lectures on the American revolution, and I decided to take a break and get something Americany (that might not be a word…) for lunch.  Fellow burger aficionado, Chris, just also happened to be having a lunch break – lucky coincidence I guess… Not far from where he works is a place called Son of a Burger, it seemed like a reasonable place to get some burger goodness, so off I tramped through the city to meet Chris and to grab a bite to eat. Son of a Burger is actually in a food court – this didn’t inspire me with a hell of a lot of confidence, and when pressed, Chris mentioned that he had actually been here before. His, well… I’ll let you make up your own mind, also didn’t leave me thinking I was about to have the best burger of my life. The Burgers here are slider sized, so always order two, there’s no point just getting one – get two. I ordered the mishmash, so you choose two sliders – I got the Texan BBQ brisket and the Chicken, and it comes with a side of really good French Fries. Sitting down to eat at a small table in a food court really doesn’t add to the dining experience – But who care we were there for food not ambiance… lets talk about the burger – sliders, tiny things, whatever they are…

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After quite a wait – Chris mentioned they take a while – two rather small buns come out. They’re almost hors d’oeuvre size if you were to cut it in half. Chris’s comment – you’d be pretty pleased to get one of those at a wedding, basically sumed them up for me – Next time I think I’d get 3… Apart from size, the shape is different, the bun is oval, rather than round. First bite and the bun is soft, slightly sweet and really fresh, the BBQ brisket was nice, but needed a bit more punch, there wasn’t enough BBQ for me. The one slice of brisket would have been better pulled and then sauce I think. The sweetness of the bun worked really well with the BBQ flavours though – just a shame there wasn’t more of them. The second bun was the Chicken, packed with fresh flavours – it seemed Thai inspired – I’d order this one again. I’m not sure where I sit with this place, it’s not a burger really – they don’t even do a traditional kind of beef so it’s hard to judge against other “burgers”. I would have say that I enjoyed it though, as an interesting take on finger foods. I’d give it a 7.

Son of a Burger on Urbanspoon

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Another Friday night, another burger hunt, this time with Jo and Damo. Trunk Bar and Restaurant is a place that has come up in conversations with friends on a number of occasions – it’s been recommended to me by at least three people, so the choice of venue for this weeks burger was a pretty easy one. Located in the CBD on the corner of Little Lonsdale st and Exhibition st, Trunk Bar and Restaurant is really two venues. You have a more upscale restaurant inside the old synagogue building that date’s back to the 1850’s, and then the “Diner” which is located outside under a huge tree. Apparently, Trunk is also home to Melbourne biggest beer Garden – which is a good thing as the place was packed when Jo and I arrived at 6:30pm. Thankfully we managed to snag a table out the front right under a heat lamp and protected by umbrellas (It rained a little bit so we were thankful for the protection).

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The Diner menu is an American inspired offering, with options such as chilli cheese dogs, Mac and Cheese and Ribs just to name a few. I dutifully ignored all of these and focused solely on the burger options. Jo decided to jump ship and went for the BBQ wings and the Chilli cheese fries – Faithful Damo stayed the course, and we both ordered burgers. Now when it comes to Burgers, Trunk have this choose your own adventure vibe going on. You have the choice of the standard burger which is described on the menu as – 175gram Fresh Ground Wagyu beef, grilled brioche, baby cos lettuce, thick cut tomato & house-made pickles – $10 but no sides and no cheese. (We ordered the Mac and Cheese with Bacon to go with it – very good!!) You can also supersize the burger which is double everything ($19). You then choose your cheese should you so desire it ($1.50), and extras such as bacon, caramelised onion etc… ($2.50). I decided that I was hungry so I went the supersize option, with monterey jack cheese, bacon and caramelised onions. My reaction when they brought out the burger was a little bit Steve Irwinesque – “Crikey she’s a beauty” would be an apt description. The thing towered over the plate – clearly impossible to eat unless you have the ability to dislocate your jaw…

The interesting thing about the Burger apart from the size is that Burger comes somewhat unassembled – by that I mean that the salad items and sauces are all on the side – so the burger that arrived was just the meats, cheese and caramelised onion in the bun.
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If you wanted sauce , the salad items, pickle etc… you have to assemble that yourself. For ease of eating I removed the top patty and ate that separately, I added the lettuce and pickle (Which was really good), and started from there. I’ve got to say, that by not going with any condiments to start with, you really give the patty nowhere to hide – and boy am I glad.
I mean, sometimes you just have to let the beef do the talking – no fancy sauces, not crazy condiments – just good quality Beef. That’s what the burgers at Trunk are all about. Possibly the best beef patty I’ve had so far on the burger hunt. It was juicy and beefy, perfectly cooked, pink in the middle. You knew that this was top quality beef, no filler, no spices to hide behind, just grade A beef.

About halfway though Damo convinced me to try some of the spicy Habanero sauce with the burger – why I listen to this guy I will never know. This is the same friend who when we were in year 10 decided that it would be “fun” if we brought the hottest chilli from the supermarket and then ate them whole. I recall he told me just before we put them in our mouths, “It’s fine I’ve done it before – you’ll experience some mild discomfort at most – make sure you chew the seeds…” Mild discomfort! How about lava like heat for an hour – running home to mum screaming, every breath like the fires hell kind of discomfort and you get about 10% of the picture. Anyway, so I put some of the Habanero sauce on my burger, not bad, but damn spicy… But really, these burgers don’t need fancy sauces, the quality of the meat and the smokey notes from the bacon, the sweetness from the onions, the creamy cheese and the sharpness from the pickle, the freshness from the salad all combine to make one hell of a burger. My one gripe was probably the bun – in this case you get a lightly toasted Brioche, but it’s a little on the sweet and cakey side, which just didn’t work as well with the really beefy patty, perhaps if I’d added a BBQ sauce it might have worked. Honestly though, I’m just being overly critical. Anyway, do yourself a favour and go and get one next time you are in the area – I’d give this burger an 8.5.

Trunk Diner on Urbanspoon

So I decided that I needed to do another burger joint on the weekend, partially because The Merrywell was a bit of a let down and partially because, hey, I like burgers, do I need an excuse… Anyway, my partner in crime this time was Chris C. He had the amazing suggestion that I should have some form of tasting notes to use – he even sent though a template, how very professional.
Gloria SwanstonWe had tickets to the Nine Inch Nails, QOTSA gig at Rod Laver that night (It rocked big time) so I did a bit of research about burger places that were close by and open. Two options came up, the Mr Burger van and Gloria Swanstons. Since it was raining we opted to eat inside at Gloria’s. I hadn’t really been  to the Lounge for a few years now, however I used to go quite a bit back in my student days and I had never considered eating there, it was a bit of a divey night club/bar so I never associated it with food. However the pics looked good and the reviews were favourable so the decision was made to give this place a try. And boy am I glade we went – one of the tastier burgers I’ve had. The Kick Arse Burger as it was aptly named was$16 with chips (Tuesday lunch it’s $8!!). Great value, and they had pabst blue ribbons pints for $8, which is expensive if you’re in the states, but damn cheap if you’re in downtown Melbourne, trust me. The burger was a good size and quite pleasing to the eye. A simple affair with bacon, onion, tomato, cheese and a special sauce. The bun they use is a brioche style, really, really good – especially as a follow up to the damper bun from the previous evening. The only let down was the patty, it was over cooked. It was clearly a good grade of meat, and it had a really nice beefy flavour, however it was over done. I also didn’t care for the cheese that they paired with the burger – it was plasticy, and didn’t add to the experience. If they could get those two elements right this would have been pretty much the best I’ve had. As it is, this is still a damn fine burger. If you are in the area, I would highly recommend you stop by.

Gloria Swanston's Kitchen on Urbanspoon