Yo yo it’s Ash again, back for burgs.
I have some infatuation with American food places so every time I hear of an American place I drag a group and/or Mel along and 9 times out of 10, I’m deeply disappointed and feel cheated to say the least. The gleam of the proud red, white and blue in these places is not present in the food they serve. Then I go to the next American place and the exact same thing happens. Goddamn. Maybe I should just actually go to America.
Although somewhat American diner style, Merrywell does not appear in this post for two reasons: 1) it is only subtly American compared to the kitsch of say Misty’s and Captain America’s 2) they make a goddamn good burger and get to hang with some greats instead of the dregs* of burgerland discussed here.
As I have a better memory for tastes I do enjoy, I don’t have much to say about um let’s say ‘lesser tastes’, and so rather than give my usual verbose analysis on those, I’ll just give the quick and dirty.
*Not all the places mentioned here are ‘dregs’ just most of them!!
103-105 High Street, Prahran VIC 3181
Captain America’s Hamburger Heaven
38 Forest Road, Ferntree Gully VIC 3156
Soda Rock Diner
257 Toorak Road, South Yarra VIC 3141
189-191 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
You will note that they are called ‘Panned Pizza’ not ‘Wrapped Hamburger’, and so taking this on board if you inexplicably find yourself here, give the burgs a miss and instead give their recreation of NYC-style pizza a whirl. Originally they only sold pizza and a few sides but then they moved to a bigger and more central location and massively expanded their menu, namely including a full range of American burgs. So you’d think they’d be awesome at least doing pizza, let alone burgs, but really the pizza only rates as good, not great. And let’s not even talk any further about the burgs.
64 Chapel Street, Windsor VIC 3181
Being unsatisfied, I nagged Mel to go back and ended up switching things up entirely and ordered some of the least appealing bbq ribs ever and no beef patty sandwich. I mean shit, tomato based sauce on my ‘murican bbq? no thanks. I ended up turning to the available Dr Pepper bbq sauce which I was not only keen to try based on my love for Dr Pepper but also to drench the ribs in. Apparently it was little more than a prop for added Americaness, because when I asked the attendant (aka the owner) how it goes with the ribs I distinctly recall him answering thus “I wouldn’t put that in my stomach”. Anyway the sauce was sweet n tasty, overwhelmingly sweet in fact, but for a cheap soft drink-turned sauce it is what it is and did its job of drowning out the tomato-based sauce. Also, on this visit we were able to nab the elusive curly fries!! The old-school style fries were a treat, if not due to an exceptional flavour compared to the regular cuts, but the novelty alone. Although being wary of their milkshakes due to my previous experience, but having seen glowing commendations of their oldschool choc malt shake, I was willing to give them a second chance. I was rewarded for being a true believer with one of the best shakes I’d ever had, mmm dat shake.
Here we have a locally available burger that isn’t quite off the zombie conveyor belt aka the big yellow arches, but nor is it up to the (high) standards of Mr Burger. So let us take a wee looksie. Inexplicably they only put some, rather than all of their burgers in brioche buns, so the obvious solution here is no matter which one you order, request brioche. Combining the sugary notes of brioche with the sweet/bitter Jack Daniel BBQ sauce made for a more than palatable experience. On the downside the lettuce towers their chefs seem fond of aren’t great, but I’ve never met a burger salad that a good picking apart can’t solve. Not the same quality as the good stuff but defo cromulent. With 7 locations around Victoria and more around the rest of Australia, wherever you are (well not everywhere but at least 7 places!!), TGI can fulfil your passable American diner burg needs.
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So there you have it peeps, the bad, the ugly and some more bad and then a couple half cromulent American diner burgs. Also turns out writing these burg posts are hard-work especially compared to just snapping and eating them, so inevitably these burgs will almost always appear well in-advance on my instagram.