Warning: As this post isn’t by your usual mild-mannered author, this post is rated M for man.
No sissys or vegetarians allowed.
My name is Ash and this here blog post be bout burgers. So shove a burger in your gob and strap in.
As all my mates are well aware by now I like burgers – whenever I suggest places of the food eating variety for us to go, they are pretty much always burg places. I even got a random phone call recently from a mate asking recommendations for a good burg so at that point I think I became qualified to write this post.
Fat Bob’s Bar and Grill
80 Cochranes Road, Moorabin VIC 3189
Situated in the bleak industrial district of Moorabin, make your way through the neon sign littered archway heralding the old-school American inspired foodgasm you are about to enjoy. No surprises when you make your way inside, the outdoor decoration was an introductory taste of an interior entirely decked out in messy arrays of street signs and Americanisms – the greys of the exterior landscape temporarily left behind are rendered a distant memory. Fear the kitsch not, for Fat Bob will look after you – and if it’s not busy, serve up the burger of a lifetime.
Anyway enough with the word salad, let’s cut to the patty. I ordered a Jackie-O enticed by the saucy trinity of mustard, ketchup and Fat Bob’s sauce, hail. Standard with their burgers it contained a 180g patty, cooked to medium-rare perfection. 180g is a big boy patty, and for those not sure what that number means: unless you have a more voracious appetite than Fat Bob/me stick with a single patty and probably don’t eat for a little while beforehand. The oozing crown is an exotic fontina cheese which not only didn’t lead things astray but rather added a distinct yet complimentary flavour to the already bold burger. Of course we wouldn’t want to forget the salad now, cos lettuce, spanish onions and tomato – standard affair and used in moderation to add a bit of flavour but not interfere too much with the other tastes. Now we need somewhere to put all that,and eschewing the dernier cri of gourmet burgers in brioche buns, Fat Bob’s pays homage to the classics and uses white seeded buns that thankfully didn’t fall apart under all that heft (although that could also be due to being wrapped in silver foil, not something I’d recommend testing). All in all an excellent burger that while newschool in some ways (namely sauce and cheese) has not forgotten about a time when things – and burgers were simpler.
Now while the burger was more than enough to leave me full, we also ordered both french fries and more importantly ZUCCHINI FRIES. The zucchini fries were prepared and cooked similarly to standard fries (at least as far as I could tell) however the replacing of potato with zucchini was a welcome and super delicious change – don’t come here without giving these a go. I don’t actually remember what the milkshake was like but Mel informs me I finished it pretty zippy so that can’t be anything less than a good sign. On a more sour note, I did have a return visit here on a Friday night where it was admittedly hyper busy and ended up with a more average burger and also mega long wait times – but hey all the more reason to go on a weekday lunchtime!
60 Smith Street, Collingwood VIC 3066
Okay so a preface: I wasn’t really expecting much when I decided to go here at the end of PAX, but shit my expectations were more than shattered. This could literally be the single best burger I’ve had. It was an unpretentious affair: american cheese, lettuce, pickles, onion, Mr Scruff’s awesome awesome special sauce and a thick and tender medium rare patty that the bartender informed me was a real meaty 100% beef patty, and subsequently convinced me that I didn’t need to add bacon. Also if you paid attention to those ingredients you’ll notice I didn’t mention tomato – that’s not a typo folks. The conscious decision to exclude tomatoes aligns perfectly with my preferences too, as I’m always finding myself taking them out or asking waiters to hold the tomatoes. The construction was excellent and everything just worked. And after getting it in into my gob, not only could I not fault it in anyway but I was seriously considering ordering round two (however concious of the recent pounds packed on my waistline I resisted this temptation)
As for sides here, well who even cares when the burg is that damn good. But lets pretend we do care. The confit lamb ribs as seen above were ace! It wasn’t the usual USA-style sweet bbq sauce thing, in fact it wasn’t in anyway like that. Instead of being bbq’d, as conveyed by the name it was confit which means it was fried in its own fat at a low temp. Definitely an interesting little side. Mel has an obsession with poutine (pretty much chips in gravy and usually other shit too) so she ordered that, I’m not personally a fan but she said it was one of the best she’s tried, and I nicked a couple that weren’t drenched and they had the right amount of crunch so another thumbs up if that’s your thing. Also having since gone back with some mates on my recommendation, I can confirm everyone loved the beer-battered chips.
Now for most of this post I’ve ignored price because these bad boys aren’t usually cheap, however this place you can order a few different things without breaking the bank. Everything and I mean everything on the food menu is up to $11. The man of the hour, the burg being $9 and only 2 bucks more to make it double. Also rocks a rad ambience and a beer garden outback and great staff. Highly recommended in every aspect except why oh why isnt it closer to me???
Tuck Shop Take Away
273 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield North VIC 3161
As can be seen above, they have one of the most photogenic, eye-candy offerings. The main man, the burg seems to be at least partially based on some of Heston’s recipe(s) which can only bode well. This isn’t mere imitation though, rather Karina, the matriach has an esteemed resume that includes training under Heston himself at the Fat Duck! While her husband Clinton, not to be one-upped has worked at Vue de Monde. Anyway back to business, in the standard burg which are housed in Noisette sourced brioche buns along with the typical salads, there are patties designed by Clinton, made of three different cuts of beef, minced daily; american cheese which I believe is home-made with Karina’s own recipe and Tuck Shop sauce that consists of mayo, ketchup, and french’s mustard. Now I have a bit of a love affair with this place in no small part due to the superior quality and utmost care in every burger they make – no conveyor belt service here! And with those factors of course comes the scintillating taste. But what also helps is the fact that its less than a ten minute drive from my place!
location in this case is definitely a big plus for me. And so at this point Clinton knows my order which is that I always add their delicious bacon (perhaps the best iteration of the famed cured pork) and double cheese – yes their cheese is so good that one isn’t enough folks!
As for the sides, well they’re so interesting that that’s for another post but just briefly I’ll say they have one of the absolute best menus for a burger shop and whatever you order you won’t go wrong (order everything).
Varying locations – food trucks along with a few permanent stores – check their facebook for daily updates on locations & hours
Primarily sold through their ubiquitous food trucks and a few brick and mortar locations, Mr Burger aim to offer a limited menu that does one thing right as denoted by their name: burgers. Inspired a by trip to the USA the proprietors wanted to fill what they felt was an under-appreciated concept in Melbourne: food trucks. And find and fulfill their niche they did, from inception in 2012 to now they have expanded to at least six trucks and a few non-automotive locations for good measure. The idea is to serve up and perfect items from a limited menu and not be bogged down with the superfluous, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ or similar, well Mr Burger’s aim is the exact opposite. They have 3 burger options: Mr Burger, Mr Meat and Mr Hot as well as a vegetarian option Mr Veg. The idea is with each of the burgers is that they combine ingredients with taste matched sauces.
My go to choice here is the Mr Burger largely due to the presence of the holy trinity of sauce: mustard, ketchup and mayo – again with the idea being to perfect their few offerings, this now somewhat common combination is enacted here particularly well, being mega good and contributing to a delicious burger. Nothing fancy with the bun, a white seeded fella. The patties are made up of their propriety ratios of premium cuts, and is a big boy, meaning the handful of times I’ve ventured to get the double has made for a super filling meal. Melted on top the patty, is a sharp cheddar, adding more flavour than other more meek American slices. It is finished off with lettuce, onions, and tomatos, the latter of which I ask them to keep out. A super tasty burger which while perhaps not my very favourite, for the price of $10 you can’t go wrong. Also I would be remiss not to mention that in my books they certainly hold the crown for a consistently enjoyable burger with multiple locations in Melbourne.
The chips are quite good, but forget those, trucker chips is where it’s at. They made number six on Urbanlist’s fifty best fat feeds in Melb and for good reason! A sauce not dissimilar from the perhaps the aforementioned holy trinity (although I am probably wrong but it’s a starting point) and melted cheese
drizzled over drenches the fries and with added crispy bacon pieces. It is amazing and a must try side meal/option to share.
Following Mr Scruff’s, if they sell burgers and have “mr” in their name you’re probably in good hands.
Note: if going for the double Mr Burger ask for extra sauce as they seem to overlook that with more meat comes the requirement of more sauce. With extra sauce the double is just as great, if not better than the single.
The Royale Brothers
1 Church Street, Brighton VIC 3186
I don’t know about you, but if I go to a place enough and really enjoy it I may eventually get a little cray and order some werid shit I wouldn’t otherwise order. Being right outside my work, this is one such case. I decided I would get a vege burger; now i cant say whether it was a good or bad vege sandwich as I have no points of comparison, but I can say it tasted goddamn disgusting.
Actual review (that is what I’m meant to be doing here I think): Recently opened up as an extension to the booming Pantry, defying these high expectations they sometimes offer up what can only be described as a messy construction and under-/over-cook the bacon. No matter because on the other hand, their patty, which is of the patented Wagyu variety, is absolutely delectable and one of, if not the best I’ve had. Their cheese is a classic american cheese which is light on the cheesy taste but high on sensual gooey texture. The housing situation here is milk buns, which at least to my palate are similar to brioche and bloody delicious. Also of note they have a tendency to burn bacon by entirely forgetting to flip it so its completely black on one side – this happens regularly, see bottom left photo for example.
They also have a kickass range of man sandwiches, so if you aren’t in a standard burg mood, their pork jerk which has pulled pork and ‘slaw going on is fucking great as well. Chips are aight too, nothing to write home about though while their cookies and cream thickshake, the only flavour on offer wasn’t really my thing. Bottom line: just go here, you (probably) won’t regret it (unless you’re drunk/vego and order the vege sammich, in which case you’re drunk/vego, go home).
8 Whiteman Street, Southbank VIC 3006
Now this wouldnt be much of a burger post if it didn’t have burger of the year, every year – the vaunted Merrywell.
Merrywell’s burger of the year, the aforementioned Merrywell didnt do much for me so I won’t bother reviewing it in this sort of ‘best of’ post, SO LOOKS LIKE THIS WON’T BE MUCH OF A BURGER POST, on the otherhand, shit their American burger blew me away; so let’s talk about that instead.
So let’s start by introducing Mr Americano – he approaches the table with the combined weight of both a beef patty AND pulled pork and is accompanied by pickled onions, coleslaw,
delicious smoked cheese, the royal coupling of mustard and ketchup, and finally the (in my opinon) controversial addition of BBQ sauce. No greens here, no siree – only the good stuff. On the topic of BBQ sauce- I’m normally not too high on it in mah burgs however there’s an exception to every rule (i think?) and so here defying expectation it is a great match for the pulled pork – the one-two punch. Sadly the fries and onions rings don’t bring much to the table, in fact they are borderline bad so only get them if you’re jonesing for dem deep-fried sides.
The Americana burger was actually super amazing but its hard to compare it one like say the one from Mr Scruffs because it was a meaty testosterone-fuelled sorta deal that combined lots of things I
liked loved whereas the Scruff one was a simple one where the few ingredients were 10/10 but they missed a few fan-favourites (read: BACON). Because of that this one has more leeway on individual ingredient taste but delivers 10/10 on the combined taste in the overall package. Anyway fact is if you like burgers and you like pulled pork, you will definitely enjoy this winner.
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