Posts Tagged ‘StKilda’

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Decided to meet up in St Kilda with Katie and Mum who had been out doing some baby stuff shopping. Katie had suggested Fitzrovia on Fitzroy street and I said I’d meet them there. I didn’t realise how much of a walk it would be so by the time I’d finished what turned out to be a 4km walk I was pretty hungry! Thankfully they had some quality refreshments on the menu which helped to quench my thirst. Originally I had planned to get some form of breakfast option, but when I saw the steak sandwich on the menu I changed my mind. I’m sometimes sceptical of the non-minced cousin of the hamburger. I find at times that they’re just too difficult to eat, you feel like you should be able to pick it up and eat it like a burger, but you end up knife and forking it halfway through. The bread is often too thick, the steak too chewy and the whole thing just devolves into this annoying farce. On this occasion though, the waiter did some serious selling on the steak sandwich – claiming it was the best in the southern hemisphere. With credentials like that I’d be stupid not to try it! Katie ordered the doorstop bacon sandwich, which we’d seen come past, and Mum got the Mussels which was another recommendation from our friendly waiter.

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Ok, so we were impressed when our plates arrived – all of the meals were pretty big – the steak sandwich, which was cut in half, could have left one half behind in the kitchen and still been a fair sized meal. Katie’s doorstop sandwich could easily have been used in the way the name implies, and Mum’s Mussels dish was also very generous. My Steak sandwich was pretty special, it came out on char-grilled sourdough, thick cut, with that smell of the grill. The bread made it for me, thick cut but soft and pliant, a nice smokey char on the outside adding to the flavour profile of the sandwich in a really good way. Next you get the caramelized onions – they added that sweet/savoury depth of flavour – really rounding out the sandwich. The fired egg, added a yolky richness that was cut nicely by the rocket and the beetroot. Oh yes – The beetroot remoulade, even though my feelings towards beetroot aren’t particularly positive in a general sense, it worked here. Finally the steak itself – 200g of scotch fillet, perfectly cooked to medium rare – tender and easy to eat. No major problems with the eatability of this steak sandwich.

Both Katie and Mum really enjoyed their meals as well,all three of us waddled out feeling quite satisfied with ourselves. Thankfully I had a life back home so I could enjoy the feeling of being pleasantly full.

Definitely a place I wouldn’t mind going back to.

Fitzrovia on Urbanspoon

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It seems as though Monday has replaced Friday as the burger night of choice for me. Not exactly sure why, but it seems like a pretty good way to start the week. Hell, every night can be burger night because, well, burger… Anyway, so Chris and I had liaised throughout the day shooting around ideas for a burger – there was some added pressure due to the run of pretty average burgers (And by that I mean some downright poor burgers) that had been consumed in the past month or so. This time around some proper research was conducted before the venue was selected. We settled on Ziggys because of the very high urban spoon rating and that rather tasty looking photos. Their website wasn’t much chop and almost put me off – but don’t worry, this place is worth a visit. Chris and I both ordered burgers – obviously – however, Chris opted for the special Cheeseburger (with added bacon) option, whilst I couldn’t go past the “Recovery” burger. Double beef, Double bacon, Double cheese… how could I say no?? I made it a meal with some added chips and a can of coke. Incidentally, their chips are cracking good, crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle – good solid chunky chips. But enough about the potato right, lets talk beef and bun. All burgers are served on a light brioche bun, nicely coated with sesame seeds, a soft to the touch bun with an ever so slight sweet taste. This paired well with their special sauce which has a nice heat to it, and the caramelised onion which added sugary/savoury note. The double lashings of bacon added a nice saltiness and the tomato and fancy lettuce played their part in freshening it all up.

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Of course, Ziggys wins no points from me for the lack of pickle, I still think its a compulsory addition to any burger… However they do win some points for the patties –  The beef is quality beef, well seasoned and cooked to a medium well – a very slight pink was present – which kept the patty nice and juicy. My one criticism was that the cheese wasn’t melted, as you can see in the photo – it’s still quite hard. I think it adds to the burger if you put the cheese on while you rest the meat allowing the juices to flow back into the patty and the cheese then acts to keep it all in – A small point, but I think it certainly makes a difference.

Both Chris and I did agree that our burgers very quite good – Chris was of the opinion that his Cheeseburger would work brilliantly as an “after the pub/big night out kind of burger”. His had a melted cheese sauce with a slight peppery back note – quite nice by all reports. We both felt pleased with our burgers after they had settled and agreed that if we had just stumbled in on a night out, these burgers would certainly add to a pleasant experience. I’d give Ziggys a 7.5.

Ziggys Eatery on Urbanspoon

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A spur of the moment dinning adventure with Katie led us to Abbey Road in St Kilda. We had been driving around town for a while as Katie has expressed the urgent need for some Thai food, unfortunately since it was quite early, all the places we drove past just didn’t seem to have a good “vibe” or meet some other undisclosed criteria that Katie was using to judge the appropriateness of the restaurants . After half an hour of this, I politely suggested that we might try Acland street in St.Kilda. Thankfully Katie agreed with my suggestion after 20 minutes of thinking it through…

Possibly because of the fact that we were both rather ravenous by this stage, we picked the first restaurant we walked past that wasn’t a francise or take-away place.  Abbey Road – named after one of my favourite albums – the timeless Abbey Road by the Beatles – we figured that with a name like that, surely it must be great place for a feed. We walked in a sat ourselves – it’s a big place and I don’t think the waiter noticed us, but we were served pretty quickly. We decided to jump straight into it and order our mains – no messing about tonight. Katie ordered a baked potato with Chilli, sour cream and cheese for the rather expensive price of $24! Although it must be said that it did come with a side garden salad, and I ordered the Abbey Road burger in an attempt to keep the costs down – although at $23 this wasn’t all that cheap either… StKilda in general is fairly expensive but this seemed a bit over priced to be honest. I had also ordered a light beer but for some reason they served me a full strength beer – no big deal in this case but really, that’s not cool if you’re driving and if you didn’t notice. Anyway, we didn’t have to wait too long for the food to arrive – the potato looked pretty good, however they had forgotten the cheese – I mentioned this to the waitress and they quickly brought over a little bowl of grated cheese so no problem there – and the salad that came with the baked potato was pretty decent as well – Katie quite enjoyed the meal, but we both felt it was probably a good $5 over priced at least. My burger was a fairly decent size with a generous side of thick cut chips – although I’d have to say that the chips were the “straight out of the packet” frozen variety – served with a side of generic tomato sauce. My burger was interesting, advertised as “juicy beef patty, cheese, caramelised onions, bacon, egg, pineapple, mushroom, lettuce and tomato” it had the feel of a local pub kind of burger. Very Australian feel, not like a fast food or American burger. Actually, if anything, it was similar in taste and feel to a fish and chip shop burger more than anything else. It arrived on a white bread roll that could have come from bakery section of Coles next door, the frozen preformed patty was not particularly juicy but tasted ok, although it had too much filler and had that sausage like texture. The egg was nicely cooked, still slightly running, which worked with the onions and bacon really nicely. The grilled pineapple was a nice touch, however I think they should drop the mushrooms. The lack of pickles and sauces really gives a plain, flat overall flavour which whilst inoffensive, is so bland that an hour later you have completely forgotten what the burger tasted like – A forgettable burger if ever there was one. I’d give it a 5 – Not really a place to go for a burger.

Abbey Road on Urbanspoon

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Generally speaking I’m not big on gimmicks, I kinda think, if you need a gimmick to get the punters through the door then you’re focusing on the wrong thing and not the food. On this occasion I was however, pleasantly surprised – you can have it both ways! So anyway, last Sunday night Chris and I had decided that we needed a burger, I’m not sure why I specified that it was Sunday night – you can get the urge for a burger at any time or day of the week. Is there ever a wrong time to grab a burger? I think not – Anyway, after driving around to find the place that we had originally intended to patronise closed, we decided to drive past Zombie burger and give it a go – I know Chris had his reservations, but we were hungry and it was open so the decision was made.  Located down a side street in busy StKilda, Zombie burger is more of a burger bar/take away place, although it does have some seating room. Chris and I elected to sit along the bar and watch the guys work their burger magic on the grill, the smells coming off the grill, I tell you, they certainly whet the appetite. I ordered the Zombie burger which is described on their menu as “Fire-grilled grass-fed beef, beer caramelized onions, melted American cheese, dill pickle, vine-ripened tomatoes, oakleaf lettuce, topped with American mustard, our special ZB ketchup, signature ZB mayo on a toasted brioche bun” all for a bargain $10.50, I got mine with an extra patty and bacon. Chris foolishly didn’t double up and only got the standard Boomstick burger, although he was wise enough to add bacon. Why you wouldn’t get bacon on a burger if it’s an option is beyond me. Everything is better with bacon. Everything.

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After waiting for what seemed like the longest 10 minutes ever – remember we could see them cooking the burgers and smell the beefy goodness, it was so hard not to jump over the counter and demand they just hand over all the patties… The burgers arrive in a nice cardboard take-away container, the buns look great, nice and soft to the touch, lightly toasted and well sprinkled with sesame seeds – these are the sort of buns that I want on my burgers, really the quintessential burger bun. So this burger adventure starts well, picking up the burger and taking the first bite I knew I’d made the right decision, two patties are better than one. The patties themselves are more a traditional American fast food style in flavour although at the top of the quality scale, they are beefy and juicy but don’t have that buttery, rich Wagyu steak flavour you get in some of the top end burgers around town. It’s more of a strong beef flavour. When you add in the American cheese it really does remind me of a traditional fast food American burger.
The Burger itself is well balanced as a double, with a nice freshness from the salad elements still coming though, the sauce keeps everything moist while the onions add richness. You still get the pickle there and the bacon and cheese add a rich saltiness that brings it all together. Both Chris and I were quite impressed – this is a really good burger. I’d give it an 8 – Know I’ll be back.

Zombie Burger on Urbanspoon

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Gee I love ribs – I mean I really love ribs! Unfortunately it’s so hard to get good ribs in Australia. After returning from a BBQ tour in Texas, just around Austin, I had thought about doing a blog hunt focused on ribs in Melbourne. However, I realised pretty quickly that it would simply be expensive disappointment after expensive disappointment. But I tell you what – If I had started off with Joe’s then I might just have been convinced to give it a shot. As you can see from the lovely photo taken by Jo (My sister Jo that is), the Ribs look pretty darn good here. I mean, you know it’s got to be good when you get hit in the face with a strong smell of BBQ wood smoke if you walk near the kitchen… Anyway, I should mention that this was actually an official burger hunt mission, Jo and Katie had kindly offered to lend their support and culinary expertise to the hunt. Joe’s Bar and Dining Hall had been in the back of my mind for a while so the call was made to give St Kilda a try after to so much focus north of the city. Jo and I had met up early and had sampled a few cold beverages along Ackland street – Jo was particular impressed with the $10 Espresso Martini at the Vineyard bar. Katie had agreed to meet us at the restaurant a little later, so Jo and I ordered a round of buffalo wings to begin with. Word of advice on the wings – ignore the waiters friendly advice that 12 is enough, 12 is never enough, go the 16 delicious smoked and spicy wings for $19. I mean, sure 12 might have been ok if Katie hadn’t arrive while there were still wings left and then we had to share them. I probably liked these wings more than the wings at the Collection.I loved the fact that they were smoked first – just added a lovely Smokey note that cut through the spicy/sharp buffalo wing sauce. The dipping sauce that came with the wings was delicious as well. Next we ordered the mains – Jo got a full rack of ribs ($38) (she wanted the half rack – but I convinced her otherwise!), and Katie and I ordered the Burger Royale ($13). None of the mains come with sides so we got some curly fries ($6) and some sweet potato fries ($8). Both sides were really good, the sweet potato fries came with the same dipping sauce as the wings which really worked well.

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Ok, so I really should address the burgers – I mean it was an official Burger hunt mission. First up, let me make this clear – if you go to Joes, get the ribs. They are amazing! Thankfully I had about half of Jo’s ribs, thanks Sis! The Burger Royale comes with smoked bacon, caramelised onion, cheese, lettuce, pickles, mustard and BBQ sauce. At $13 it’s reasonably cheap, however when it arrive I realised why – it’s one of those “smaller” sized burgers, what I call that annoying size between a slider and a real burger. Don’t order the burger if you’re hungry – or make sure you have a big side of the wings… Anyway, so the burger is framed by a nice brioche style bun, soft and spongy, the slight sweetness works really well with the BBQ sauce. The pattie is nothing out of the ordinary, good, not great. It does the job, a nice beefy flavour, juicy and cooked well. The one problem I have with the burger apart from the size is the fact that they over use the caramelised onions. There’s just too much of the onions and so they overpower the burger and you don’t get full value out of the other elements. I didn’t really get a lot of the smokey bacon coming though, nor did I really get much out of the cheese. The lettuce did the job of freshening up the whole thing, and the pickles added some sharpness to cut through all the sweet flavours that were coming through. Overall, a nice burger, but let’s be honest – if you come to Joes, you’re here for the ribs and wings and not the burgers. I’d give it a 7.

Joe's Bar and Dining Hall on Urbanspoon