Who does Melbourne's best burgers?
We all know about the Huxtaburger (or the crackburger, as these wildly popular wagyu and brioche versions of fast food buns have been affectionately dubbed). We're all aware of Neil Perry's David Blackmore wagyu burger with zuni pickles at Rockpool too. It's good, eat it. And we're preaching to the choir when we rave about Beatbox Kitchen's Raph burger – saving festival-goers lives for a good few years now. So we haven't mentioned them here (horror!). Instead we set out to discover who else is doing a meat sandwich worth investigating. Over three days, we road tested 20 of Melbourne’s most talked up burgers. Here are ten of the best, and some of the rest that you should get on your radar.
Need to summon an angry mob in a hurry? Talk smack about Andrew’s. This Albert Park joint has been churning out two-hands- required burgers for 70 years. The onions are cooked. The bread bun is lightly toasted. The lettuce is a crunchy iceberg-cabbage mix, and the fried egg is often cooked through. It’s packing grilled beef mixed with cooked onion for moisture and sweetness, double cheese, bacon, and plenty of tomato sauce (go stick your ketchup). Andrew’s, we salute you. Albert Park.
Live Bluegrass jams! Fiery bloody marys! Chicken wings! The B.East is a burger house ticking a lot of boxes. You want poutine or an ice-cream sandwich along with your meat sandwich? Done. Go for gluten-free buns, triple-sized or spiced-up burgers if you must, but we can’t go past the classic. The seeded brioche sops up the condiments and meat juices nicely and the organic beef is juicy, onions are pickled, and sweet tomato relish plays nice with crisp cos lettuce and sharp melted cheddar. Get it with a craft beer tinnie. Rock and roll. Brunswick East.
Brother Burger, we love your single-batch craft beers as much as we love your fresh bread baps. The beef patty here is a tangle of straight-up pure-breed wagyu mince. It’s halal too. The standard model is simple – it comes with slices of vinegary house pickles, thick-cut tomato, a slip of lettuce, ketchup and American mustard. But it’s all about accessorising here – add cheese, bacon and jalapeños, and you’ve got a banging burger with all your favourite bits. Fitzroy.
The Merrywell burger, crowning glory of this calorific American casino pub, is everything that’s right and wrong with the USA. Served with crunchy golden fries, it’s a $22 monster requiring a stack of napkins and maybe even a bib. Black Angus chuck steak and short rib form a thick patty that’s scorched, saddled with smoky bacon and cheese and then steamed till it all fuses into a hulking mass of protein. Pickles and tomato are somewhere within the saucy confines of the soft, flour-dusted bun – you just can’t see them. It’s a messy burger, and it ain't pretty, but hot damn, is it delicious. Southbank.
This burger house nails the old-school American diner theme as well as it nails a burger. The swivel chairs lining the well dented bar are squishy and arse-hugging, and malt shakes go heavy on trashy chocolate syrup. Given this place is pro-tequila and fried chicken, we’re surprised that the burger is also pro-salad – the well toasted bun lid is buoyed up on a puffy cloud of mixed leaf lettuce, tomato and a chunky spear of pickle. Still, a thick, charred patty all covered in cheddar cheese and ketchup is fatty enough to handle it. We guess the Parlour boys’ mamas just raised them right. Windsor.
It’s called the double patty smash and it’s a decided screw-you to your arteries. Two slender prime beef patties sandwich sticky salty sheets of Kraft cheese, tiny gherkins and special sauce that may or may not be ketchup mixed with mayo. It comes in the softest of sweet, buttery buns. So wrong. So right. ’Nuff said. Collingwood.
Trunk Diner is the laid-back sister to the adjoining bar and restaurant’s slick European styling. There’s only one burger and it’s all you need. Firm brioche holds a fairly unadulterated hunk of minced wagyu (chuck and shin, with good fat content keeping things juicy) that’s as thick as the bun. It comes with zucchini pickles and house-made ketchup, and cos lettuce, tomato and onion is served on the side for ignoring if you so wish. Supersize it and double everything and definitely pick a cheese to go on your patty. Thirsty? Spike your Golden Gaytime shake with Café Patron. Melbourne.
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