Posts Tagged ‘Pub Food’

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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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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After the more recent debacles on the Burger Hunt, Damo mentioned that he knew a pub that did a half decent burger, it just happened to be in walking distance from his place, and we’d be passing it on the way to the train station. Decision made and off we trotted to the Terminus Hotel. On arrival we were greeted by a friendly barman and an extensive selection of craft beers. Conversation ensued as to the merit of various craft beers and then on to locations around the world that have more expensive beers than Australia. We all agreed that there are perhaps only three or 4 location around the world where the beers are at least as expensive as they are here. God it sucks to have to pay such ridiculously expensive prices for a cool refreshing beverage in Melbourne… Ah well, anyway, so after ordering a cleansing libation, we moved on to food and ordered the burger. For $23.90 – yeah, we didn’t check the price before we ordered – you get a Wagyu beef burger, on the requisite Brioche bun, Dijon mustard, mayo, a sweet tomato relish, lettuce, cheese, tomato and some nice sharp pickles. You also get a side of nice pub chips. The Burger itself was a nice change from the rubbish I’ve been getting recently, and it was nice to get a patty that was made pretty much exclusively of Beef, well seasoned and juicy and pink. There is still hope out there! The patty was covered in a melted slice of cheese – not strong, probably a mild cheddar. The Sauces were good, and I particularly liked the mustard, which I’m pretty sure was a nice Dijon. There was also a pretty sweet tomato relish thing, which I’m sure could work, but with the very sweet and cakey brioche bun, the burger overall became just too sweet. Bacon and onion would really have rounded out the sweetness and improved the burger by quite a bit – the burger just lacked balance. If you are going to do such a simple burger you need to nail it. The brioche was a mistake on this burger. Still, I enjoyed the burger for the most part, with a few tweaks this could bit a great burger. I’d give it a 7.

Terminus Hotel on Urbanspoon

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As the working year winds down and the summer holidays beckon, my mind turns to the hunt, or more accurately the hunt for the holy grail (of Burgers). With the memories of grilled beef, pickles and cheese running through my mind I call out to my fellow burger hunters. They answer the call – Chris, Jo and Damo all keen to share in the thrill of the chase. I had heard of Grand Trailer Park Taverna through my cousin Meg, her husband Charlie (Who makes a damn good burger at his Fish and Chip shop – Old Salt) knows the guys who run Dandenong Pavilion and apparently they had decided to open up a burger bar in the city. My interest was well and truly piqued when I learned this little tidbit of information – I’m a fan of the Dandenong Pavilion so I knew that their burger bar would be top quality.

We arrived at around 7pm on the Friday night – as expected it was packed and there was a wait for a table. Thankfully there was some space out on the balcony where we could enjoy a drink while we waited. It gave us some time to think about the burger that we wanted to get. After about 40mins waiting we got a table – as I said, this place is popular, especially on a Friday night! Jo and I both ordered the “Mcdowell” ($15.50 +$2 for bacon) – a not so subtle nod to the Big Mac, of course we both added bacon, Chris ordered the “Atomic” ($16.50) – he likes spicy, and Damo went for “The Chunk Double Double” ($16.50 +$2 for bacon) – he might not look like it but he can put away a fair amount of food when he’s hungry. We also ordered sides, two large fries and two potato mac and cheese croquettes. We didn’t have a long wait for the food to come thankfully, we were all very hungry.

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My Burger arrived wrapped – I do like that, I think it “proves” the burger somewhat, nice size, looked good on first impression. The Mcdowell is clearly a riff on the Big Mac, double level, two patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese. We all love a good Big Mac if we are being honest… Anyway, so lets talk Mcdowell – The Bun was the first thing that grabbed my attention once I had unwrapped my burger, and I have to say, the middle bun section was too think for mind, and the top part a bit thin. Now you might think I’m being pedantic, which would be a fair assumption, but in this case the bun ratio was out and the burger fell apart on the last third. Not the end of the world, but structurally, there were some issues.

First bite, you get the sauce, this is good, sorry, great burger sauce. Jo thought it was better than Rockwell and Sons. That’s a big call, but I’d say it was pretty bloody good. It made the burger! The addition of bacon was a good move as you would expect, you just can’t go wrong with bacon. The patties were ok, thin, clearly good quality meat and cooked well so they were still juicy, however, the meat isn’t the star of the show in these burgers. Think good quality fast food style patties. The Mcdowell is a very cheese burger – they just got it spot on from a cheese perspective, ooey gooey, cheesy – my kind of burger. The lettuce was Butter lettuce which has a softer, sweeter flavour than Cos, but is more interesting than Iceberg – a good choice for these burgers. Overall this was a very tasty burger, but I felt the bun and the patties needed some work to take it into the great burger category – that sauce, wow, I’m still thinking about it right now. The other guys had different experiences – Damo wasn’t totally please with his burger, and he was the most critical of the patties – his were doubled up on top of each other and he felt that the patties felt a little overworked. Chris was very happy with his burger, but felt that a burger called Atomic should be hot, and he felt it lacked heat. The sides were a mixed bag, the fries were fine, however our croquettes were a bit on the bland side – not what we were expecting.

I’m going to give the burgers here a 8 which is in the very good category – I have to say they achieved what they were trying to do which was good quality fast food, but even still there were still some issues that stop the burgers getting into the great category. Although the more I think about it the more I liked that sauce.. I give the sauce a 9.5 easily.

Grand Trailer Park Taverna on Urbanspoon

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!

Napier Hotel on Urbanspoon

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Needed to find a place to have a feed and watch the big Footy match between the Power and the Hawks. After a little bit of thinking, Paul and I came up with Bridie O’Reilly’s on Chapel St. Paul had a mates birthday party after the game and I was catching up with Friends north of the city, so it seemed like an ideal spot to get a bite to eat, enjoy a  cleansing libation or two and watch the game. I know from past experience that Bridie’s does fairly honest pub grub and they also have quite a few screens that you can watch the game on. We got there early and grabbed what we thought was a good spot to watch the game. Unfortunately, even though one of the waitresses had told us “of course they’ll turn the sound on for the game”, there was to be no sound for the game. When I enquired politely for the third time regarding the lack of sound, the answer was that apparently there was a function on upstairs at 5:30pm so they wouldn’t be turning the sound on… Not sure why they couldn’t have the sound on from 4:30 – 5:30 but whatever, it’s their pub. Disappointing considering they have about 15 screens all showing the game with no sound. Once Jo arrived we made the decision to head off to the College Lawn Hotel. Prior to all of this, Paul, Katie and I had ordered and devoured a late lunch – we had, after all arrived early to get good seats, oh well, the College Lawn was a good spot and we got there midway through the second quarter, so we only missed about 10 minutes of the game.

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Anyway, lets talk about the food – I really wanted to get a Parma – I know they’re half decent here and I was craving one – but for the sake of research purposes I felt that it would be wrong to pass up the Wagyu burger. Both Paul and I ordered burgers, whilst Katie just ordered an appetiser. We didn’t have to wait too long for our meals to arrive, which was good because we wanted to finish up with the food before the game started. Katie’s appetiser was actually really good – $15 for the potato skins with pulled pork – quite a lot of food for an appetiser, definitely a good choice if you are looking for a share option.

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The burgers arrive open – a very American approach, although I’m not sure of the reason in this case because the burger already comes sauced and there are no sauces on the table anyway. I suspect it’s more about presentation than about anything else. They come with melted Cheese (Swiss cheese in this case), lettuce, tomato, pickles, aioli, tomato relish and a big serve of decent pub chips – $20. The problem I had with this burger was the bun – as you go to take a bite, it smells sweet, like cake, its texture is cakey and there is just way too much bread to meat – the huge pile of pickles now makes sense, they’re obviously there to cut through all that sweetness – Unfortunately it doesn’t completely work.

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You can see in the photo above just how much bun there is, and that’s after it’s been compressed, it’s far too doughy – the sweet bun just dominates the burger.  Unfortunately you really don’t get all that much flavour from the patty. I think if they could get the bun right, they’d have a much better burger, as it stands, this one’s a miss. I’d give it a 5.5.

Bridie O'Reilly's on Urbanspoon

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Met up with some friends to celebrate the Australianifcation (Also known as citizenship ceremony) of Ang  (hooray Ang!). She’s a fair dinkum Aussie now – even though you still can’t understand a word she says after a few pints – That thick Scottish brogue is going nowhere. Still, I reckon she’s a grouse sheila. Anyway… a few of us met up after the ceremony at the Bridge Hotel in Richmond. I hadn’t been there is years – last time I was there I vaguely recall that it was rather trashy. These days the place looks fantastic, I love the outdoor laneway entrance as you walk in, and all the little nooks and private areas – it’s a great place to catch up with friends. Wednesday nights are $14 parma and steak nights. Unfortunaltely they had a burger on the menu so I had no choice but to give it a go. Katie opted for the steak, although I have no idea why – she had to get it well done since she pregnant. Waste of a good bit of meat if you ask me… She was disappointed, but then that was always going to happen fro someone who would normally eat their steak medium to medium rare… Poor thing – at least the condition is temporary – only 6 months to go!

I was under no such restrictions, but I still felt obliged to order the Burger that they have on the menu – $20 for the “Black Angus Beef Burger” – The menu states you get Bacon, egg, caramelised onion, lettuce, tomato, cheese, relish and aioli. On arrival the burger looks pretty standard for a good pub burger in Melbourne these days – Brioche bun, with a scattering of seeds, smallish but a good sized beef patty visible, weirdly they put the cheese beneath the patty and above the salad – but apart from that it looked the part. First bite in and it’s clear the bun is a bit stale -the brioche style can get that way pretty quickly, the crumpled appearance is a tell tale sign – the counter this, the chef had tried to toast both sides on the bottom, but the end result was that it just started to fall apart at the end. Flavour wise it was ok, but a stale bun is a big no-no for me. The patty was very tough and didn’t have a great flavour, it felt chewy and broke apart into small balls of meat. The egg was over cooked and dry and thus detracted from the burger, and instead of adding a nice saucy yolk it dried it all out. The mound of caramelised onion added some sweetness but seemed like it had been sitting around for a while. The bacon, whilst tasty, was a chewy – thick cut, almost speck like variety, which combined with the dry chewy patty to create a really hard to eat burger. I’m going to say the cheese on the bottom was a mistake, I didn’t like the effect – It didn’t add a lot to the burger… Moving on the salad elements and once more with this burger I was disappointed – The lettuce seemed to be the bagged gourmet leafy greens that you get from the supermarket – one of the greens was a baby spinach leaf – just didn’t work for me. The tomato was not totally ripe and was quite small and so didn’t add a lot either. The end result felt like a burger made by someone who had been shown a really good burger recipe but wasn’t a person that ate burgers normally. Almost like it was made by a chef who had never thought of the burger as something that could work outside of a McDonalds.  As a result the product at the end lacked that element of care and pride.  I was really disappointed by the food here – the place seems like a great pub, but the food I had was not good at all. I’d give it a 4.5.

Bridge Hotel on Urbanspoon

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God, it was a hot and steamy day on the 4th of July that lead us to walk through the doors of McConnell’s Irish Pub on Duval street. By hot and steamy, I mean, I was literally dripping sweat, every pore in my body appeared to be doing it’s best to cover me in salty water – because obviously that would make me feel more comfortable right? Stupid body…. Anyway, Katie and I had been adventuring around Key West for the better part of the day – I say adventuring because we had just been though the awesome Mel Fisher museum – what a great story! If you ever get the chance to go to Key West, give Mel Fishers a visit, well worth the time and effort to learn about their quest for Spanish treasures that were taken from the new world and ship wrecked on the journey back to Spain in the early 17th century.

Anyway, as a result of our cultural adventuring, we had built up a bit of an appetite and I had told Kate about another restaurant on Duval street that did what looked like a pretty interesting Burger. Unfortunately after carrying our sweaty, tired selves to the destination in mind we were greeted with the lovely sight of a closed restaurant (Closed for 4th of July). Katie was not pleased with my planning and so a decision was made to walk back to the nearest place that sold cold beverages and food. McConnell’s was our lucky destination. Unbeknownst to us at the time, the Brasil vs. Columbia world cup clash was about to start. We got there about 40mins before kick off and just before a rush of people poured into the pub, thus we got our orders in, some cool beverages and a great spot to watch the match. On the match – seriously, did the ref loose his yellow/red cards, or swallow his whistle – Neymar gets a a knee in the back and a broken vertebrae – but that’s an ok challenge?? I felt the better side won – But anyway, I’ll end my rant there, we are here to talk food.

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So obviously, with low expectations, but not really caring at this stage, I ordered the burger, and Katie ordered the fish taco’s… The burger was actually really quite good. I ordered mine with Bacon and a fried egg, and I ordered the patty medium. On this occasion they actually cooked the patty medium which was a nice surprise! The burger bun was a nice soft Kaiser bun, it did it’s best to contain the huge burger, but fell apart a bit simply because I could not get this behemoth in my mouth in one bite – I had to go around the edges and cut angles to make an impression on the burger. Soft buns work best on these types of burgers, but it’s always a challenge when the burger gets to high to fit in your mouth. This was also what I cal a two hander, so it was a pretty generous meal.  Once again I had to sauce the burger myself, I cut up the pickle spear and added the ketchup and mustard that was provided on the table, the runny egg yolk combined with the sauces and melted cheese to create a lovely saucy feel – a little bit messy to eat, but as you know, I reckon a good burger should leave you with sauce all over you fingers – paper towel was provided! The burger came with your choice of cheese – I chose cheddar, then you get, tomato, lettuce and red onion and I added Bacon as well. The only let down was the meat – it wasn’t seasoned well enough and so it lacked any real beefy punch, it was a bit soft and tasted a little washed out, overpowered by everything else instead of being the star of the show. Look, at the end of the meal I was left feeling pretty satisfied – This was a solid Pub burger, all the elements seemed to be well done and fresh. You really can’t complain if you are just walking in to watch a football match and take some shelter from the heat with a nice cleansing libation. I’d give it a 7.

McConnell's Irish PUB on Urbanspoon