Posts Tagged ‘South Melbourne’

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Any place that has Black pudding on it’s brunch menu gets bonus points in my book. There’s just something to be said for a good blood sausage to get the day going.

As Katie and I were in South Melbourne to pick up some baby related things that Katie had bought off EBay, we decided to grab some brunch at Dead Man Espresso. I didn’t know anything about the place, but Katie had heard some good things. We got there at about 12ish, so a little bit after the normal brunch rush and grabbed a seat inside. The one issue I have with a lot of café’s is that their tables are just too cramped. With Katie being 39 weeks along, it was pretty hard to navigate through the tables let alone sit down at the cramped bench table- although the waitress was very friendly and helpful. Once we had finished with the human Tetris process and had finally squeezed in, we ordered our tea and coffee and browsed the menu. When I saw the Campfire hotplate item on the menu had Black pudding I was pretty sure I knew what I was getting – it came with bacon, potato and kale hash, mushrooms, tomato’s, toast & fried eggs along with the Black pud ($22.50 from memory). Katie opted for the Potato & kale hash which came with grilled kaiserfleisch & fried eggs($19.50). Neither of the items were on the cheap side, but I guess these are more interesting than your usual fare so I figure it’s worth the slight premium.

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My Brunch came out on a sizzling skillet – great idea… Except on the tiny table, which was already overflowing with my tea pot and tea cup, Katie’s coffee and the water jug, glasses etc… the skillet becomes this dangerous burning plate of pain. I scalded myself a couple of times… but it was worth it. The plate was overflowing with food – the toast didn’t even fit, and the hash and black pudding were hiding underneath. It started to look like value for money to be honest. The black pudding was lovely, well spiced with a slight sweet note to counter the richness. The bacon was good quality, smokey and thickly cut – but they only gave me the short cut, would have been nice to get the streaky section. The Potato and Kale hash was also delicious, and with the mushrooms and tomato’s rounding out the dish I think we have a winner here.  Yes, there are a lot of great brunch options in South Melbourne, but I tell you what, I wouldn’t be complaining if I found myself at Dead Man Espresso for Brunch again.

Dead Man Espresso on Urbanspoon

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So I’ve had a few burgers this year and visited a number of fantastic and not so fantastic purveyors of burgery goodness. In fact, I’ve blogged about and rated about 64 Different burgers throughout 2014! Hmm, no wonder I put on a few pounds.

Well lets have a little bit of a retrospective shall we. I’ve put together a little highlights package so to speak, of the year, with some of my favourite burgers, and some of the absolute disasters.

Lets start with the best of 2014:

Stout – 1544 N Cahuenga Blvd Hollywood, LA, USA

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One of my all time favourite burgers. A hot day in LA spent exploring the sites – this was an amazing burger. A patty that is hand ground each day from a selection of grass feed Angus beef, Brisket and Chuck cuts with Blue Cheese, Emi Gruyere, Rosemary Bacon, Caramelized Onion, Horseradish Cream, Roasted Tomatoes. At the time I gave it a 9.5, I’m not sure if I should have given it a 10

Rockpool Bar and Grill – Crown Complex Southbank

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Chris and I went back for lunch here recently and had the burger again. It had lost none of it lustre. It was still an amazing burger from start to finish. Everything about it was quality. I particularly love their house made Pickles.

Tuckshop Takeaway, 273 Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield North VIC

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I’ve since gone back to Tuck shop and again this is a burger that continues to perform. One of the best going around without a doubt. Their sodas and milk shakes are unbelievable as well. At the time I gave it a 9, but honestly it’s a good as the others in it’s own way.

Spotted Mallard, 314 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC

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This burger calls out to me. It’s the burger I always want to go back for but haven’t gotten around to just yet. I didn’t have a ranking system in place at the time, but I’d say it would have been at least an 8.5 possibly a 9. I just loved their sauce and the bun.

Beat Box Kitchen – Food Van

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This was one of the first burgers on the hunt. I still recall this burger, everything was fresh and delicious. A quality burger through and though. I loved the stereo sauce, and the name – the Double Ralph! Again, no ratings system at the time, but it’s up there close to a 9.

Nevermind, Awesome Bar and Eatery – 927 E. Cape Coral Pkwy, Cape Coral, FL – USA 

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When I think bacon cheeseburger – this is what I think of. Amazing burger that I had in the states off the back of a tip from a waiter.

Three Crowns Hotel – 365 Victoria St West Melbourne – VIC

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Another place I’ve been to a couple of times now. It’s help up to repeat visits and I think it’s gotten even better. A quality American style burger!

Trunk Bar and Restaurant – 275 Exhibition St, Melbourne

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This burger was a little silly – I ordered a double but had to take the extra patty out just to eat it. Once again, quality ingredients from start to finish make for a quality burger. It’s not rocket science! I gave this an 8.5 at the time.

Chew Burger – 147 Plenty Rd Preston – VIC

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A really solid burger up in the northern part of town. Another Damo suggestion. Great value as well – I gave it an 8.5 at the time and I’d be back.

Racks Ribs Co. – 680A Glen Huntly Road Caulfield South – VIC

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I’ve been back to this place a couple of times and ordered the Sow and Cow – which is the normal amazing burger plus rib meat. Quality burger. I think I gave it an 8.5 at the time, but the addition of the rib meat really worked.

Merricks General Wine Store – 3460 Frankston-Flinders Rd Merricks VIC

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A recent burger, but a damn good one. Every ingredient was top quality – that’s all you need for burger goodness.

 

The not so great burgers:

Burger King – Shinjuku Japan

Check out my post on the Burger section for a clip and more information about the Burger experience!
This was gross – just gross. The squid ink and bamboo charcoal bun, the weird black sauce and the black shiny cheese. No thank you.

The Elsternwick Hotel – 259 Brighton Rd, Elwood “The Wick”

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The food here is much much better than it used to be. At the time, this was one of the worst burgers going around. These day’s it’s fairly edible (But probably still a 4.5 – 5)

Heads & Tails – 112 Ormond Rd Elwood Elwood – VIC

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A terrible effort from a local fish and chip shop. Stale, burnt bun that fell apart. Not a great experience. If you want a good fish and chip shop burger you should go to:

Tommy Ruff – Shop 3/1-3 Carre St Elsternwick VIC, or Old Salt – 246 Bay St, Port Melbourne VIC

Beer Deluxe – 329 Burwood Rd Hawthorn – VIC

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One of the worst burgers looks deceptively good… 3.5 Worst patties ever. I felt sick for 12hrs!

Final Thoughts

Anyway, it’s been an amazing year of Burger adventuring. I’ve had some great burger experiences on three different continents. I’ve also eaten a lot of overrated burgers! However I do think that I’ve found some of Victoria’s best burgers. Hope you have enjoyed coming along on the hunt with me.

Special thanks go out to the team –

  • Damo, who came along from the start and made so many fine suggestions. In fact, most of the good burgers were his suggestion…
  • Jo, who helped out and offered some sage words of burger wisdom. And put up with my burger ramblings.
  • Chris, who enjoyed some of the highs and  lows of the burger experience and who provided the idea for the Heaston cook off.
  • And finally, Katie, who put up with all my burger madness throughout the year.

Hope you all had a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Mum had offered to come up from Mornington and take Katie and I our for lunch in celebration of Katie’s recent graduation from her Masters of Design degree from Swinburne. Katie chose Chez Dré on the basis that they offer a pretty well regarded range of French “petits gateaux” (I don’t even know what that means…) and Macaroons (Which I can take or leave to be honest) – much to my dismay they don’t offer a burger, but then we had had our burger fix on Friday night so I shouldn’t really whinge. Ok, look it’s not all about me, but luckily they do brunch and not just sweets. Chez Dré is a French café and patisserie located in South Melbourne not far from the bustling South Melbourne Markets. This of course makes trying to find a park on a Sunday a bit of a head ache, but as they say, good things are worth the wait… They don’t take bookings on weekends, and the places was very busy but Katie managed to snag a table reasonable quickly and we were seated and ordering in no time. Katie and I order the “grand petit dejeuner”, I’m going to guess that it means big breakfast, but of course it sounds way better in French.

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For $21.50 you get toulouse sausage, ‘istra’ bacon, avocado, slow roasted tomato, herb potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, tomato relish and poached eggs on sourdough toast. It’s quite a lot of food so a good choice if you are hungry.

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Mum ordered the Duck Sandwich $23.50, which is a confit pulled duck sandwich with onion jam, red cabbage (Lightly pickled), grated apple & truffle mayonnaise. First things first – since Katie’s been pregnant she can’t look at a mushroom – which works for me since I’m like a hobbit when it comes to mushrooms! Normally I’d expect one or two mushrooms on a big breakfast plate, but not here – One serving of the lovely Portobello mushrooms is about 4, so I got  double – Winning! They had a great flavour – beautifully cooked with a nice hint of thyme. Just lovely on the sourdough toast. I swapped her the avocado (Never been a fan – apart from guacamole…). The Toulouse sausage was great, but cold by the time I found it – just so much food (And too much talking)! The one let down for me was the bacon – not really cooked – with lovely bacon like that it should be crispy, not soft – disappointing. Mum’s Duck sandwich was a talking point – a huge mound of confit duck, with a lightly pickled red cabbage, caramelised onion  and amazing seeded mustard and truffled mayo on sourdough – just stunning. Mum couldn’t get through it all, so we all had a bite. Of course after all that eating we had to try out the petits gateaux.

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I had the Caramel-Mandarin dome, which according to the menu was a “vanilla brûleé, mandarin jelly, pain de genes, valrhona ‘caramelia’ mousse” all of this for $9.50. Now I might not full appreciate what all of those things mean, but I do know that it tasted pretty damn good. Katie ordered the praline, apple & popcorn and Mum ordered the lemon – hazelnut tart. We couldn’t finish them all, not for want of trying, but in the end they were simply too big! There’s a reason this place is so popular – if you are looking for an amazing brunch with a French twist, I strongly recommend heading down.

Chez Dré 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