Bianca: So here we are ladies and gentlemen, the culmination of many months of planning, culling burger lists left, right and centre, careful map planning by my go to Melbournian, Shancois. Eight places, one day, three people, one signature burger. Our bodies were ready!
In preparation, Alex and I hit the gym in the early morning, our clueless delusions that this would somehow offset the damage we were about to inflict. Compiling the list for the day was a combination of what was open, nearby and feasible in a span of 8 hours. I have included three other places I visited during the week to get a more accurate picture of our/my favourite burger. Keeping in mind there were so many other options that we just didn’t get around to, don’t worry guys, there will be a sequel. I was pretty upset I missed the quintessential Melbourne burger, the ‘Double Patty Smash Burger’ from Rockwell & Sons. Time just got away from me.
My nerdiness took over and spreadsheets got involved that’s how sad this quest became. I’ll start with the actual 8 places we hit on the Monday – Or B Day as we’ll now call it and then follow with the three places I also visited during the week.
No burger crawl can be without a suitable outfit and careful consideration went in to each of our chosen costumes, for myself: My Mistergee t-shirt, black, tight skinny jeans (bad move), espadrilles (can’t have no swollen feet on this quest). Alex: My borrowed Jimmy’s Burgers white tee (covered by a flanny, princess was embarrassed), stretchy skinny jeans and Nike Roshes (in case he had to run and call for an ambulance) and lastly Shancois: upon seeing her from afar, her baby blue dress led to a quick outcry that her clothing was anti-burgers, how can she indulge in such an ugly task in such an adorable dress? Two words alleviated my doubts -Maternity Dress! She had my full respect.
Scoring was divided into four main areas – appearance, patty taste/texture/grind, the bun and the burger as a whole. Each given a score out of 5, with a grand total score out of 20. As well as a ‘pickle’ rating for my friends over at the FBAS on Facebook. There was also a little space left for random burger musings or ‘notes’ as sane people would call them. Be forewarned this is a LONG post.
So let’s get right into it. First up on our list was:
- Hello Sam in South Yarra, one patty UNCLE SAM $13.50. Cafe – quiet (only patrons)
Bianca: Appearance = 4/5, Patty taste/texture = 3/5, bun = 5/5, burger as a whole = 3/5 for a total score of 15.5/20. Notes > the patty was overdone, way too small for the actual bun, collectively we all thought the bottom bun was way too thin and soaked up all the juices making for a soggy bun. Tasted exactly like a quarter pounder, which I love!
Alex: Appearance = 4/5, patty taste/texture = 3/5, bun = 4, burger as a whole 3.5/5 for a total score of 14.5/20. Notes > Nice golden bun, another quarter pounder reference.
Shancois: Appearance = 4/5, patty taste/texture = 4/5, bun = 3.5/5, burger as a whole = 3.5/5 for a total score of 15/20. Notes > No gristle in the patty, well-cooked which I prefer, bottom bun too thin, tasted and smelled like a Maccas cheeseburger. Solid effort but nothing original.
Grand total score of = 45/60. Pickle rating = 3.7/5
- Royale Brothers in Brighton, ROYALE WITH CHEESE, $12.00. (4 other patrons)
Bianca: Appearance = 3/5, patty taste/texture = 4/5, bun = 5/5, burger as a whole 4.5/5 for a total score of 16.5/20. Notes > Sauce was more unique tasting, nice char on patty and super happy with the cheese melt.
Alex: Appearance = 3/5, patty taste/texture = 4/5, bun = 5/5, burger as a whole 4.2/5 for a total score of 16.2/20. Notes > Very even burger, nice and sturdy. Oddly unique but still simple. Sauce helped in balancing out the char on the patty.
Shancois: Appearance = 3/5, patty taste/texture = 4.5/5, bun 5/5, burger as a whole 4.2/5 for a total score of 16.7/20. Notes > Nothing to fault, slight tang from the sauce but not too sickly.
Grand total score of = 49.4/60. Pickle rating = 4/5
- Andrews Hamburgers in Albert Park, RUSTY AMERICAN, $9.00. Very busy.
Bianca: Appearance = 3/5, patty taste/texture = 1/5, bun = 2/5, burger as a whole 1.5/5 for a total score of 7.5/20. Notes > Meat was quite bland and left a funny after-taste, I wouldn’t come back.
Alex: Appearance = 1.8/5, patty taste/texture = 1/5, bun 2/5, burger as a whole 1.5/5 for a total score of 6.3/20. Notes > Yucky, not nice. Standard chicken corner shop joint.
Shancois: Appearance = 2/5, patty taste/texture = 1.5/5, bun = 2.5/5 burger as a whole 2.3/5 for a total score of 8.3/20. Notes > Old school milk bar burger, didn’t like taste of the pattie, bun pleasant and toasty.
Grand total score of = 22.1/60. Pickle rating = 1.3/5
Segue into a touristy shot, we stopped at the Brighton Beach bathing boxes for a quick bit of sightseeing, purdy colours! We also stopped at Jocks for some Turkish delight ice-cream, don’t judge us!!
- Mr Burger (food truck) in Albert Park, MR BURGER, $10, quiet.
Bianca: Appearance = 4.5/5, patty taste/texture = 5/5, bun 5/5, burger as a whole 4.5/5 for a total score of 19/20. Notes > Patty cooked using the smash method, super charred crispy patty. We all picked up on citrus notes, possibly from the sauce. It all melded well together, highlight!!
Alex: Appearance = 4/5, patty taste/texture = 4/5, bun = 4/5, burger as a whole 4/5 for a total score of 16/20. Princess didn’t write any notes but this was a universal favourite.
Shancois: Appearance = 4.5/5, patty taste/texture = 5/5, bun 5/5, burger as a whole 4.7/5 for a total score of 19.2/20. Notes > perfect thickness, great char. Loved the tangy sauce, back notes of citrus flavours.
Grand total score of = 54.2/60. Pickle rating = 4.3/5
- Eat8Bit in Foostcray, DOUBLE DRAGON, AFTERBURNER and LOADED GEMS, $13.50, $9.50 and $8.50, busy.
Bianca: Appearance = 5/5, patty taste/texture = 3.5/5, bun 5/5, burger as a whole 3.8/5 for a total score of 17.3/20. Notes > Patty very thin, nice char. Meat was a bit too well done, loved the bacon. This was the one that left us feeling quite seedy. Loved the spicy loaded potato gems, could only manage a few bites but they were so good.
Alex: Appearance = 5/5, patty taste/texture = 3.5/5, bun 5/5, burger as a whole 3.2/5 for a total score of 16.7/20. Notes > Very loud!! Best looking burger of the day, nice flavour. Help me!!!
Shancois: Appearance = 5/5, patty taste/texture = 3.8/5, bun = 4.5/5, burger as a whole 4/5 for a total score of 17.3/20. No notes from Shancois but I’ll add that she locked herself in the bathroom in what I assume was a meat induced haze.
The afterburner turned out to be our favourite of the two, possibly because the ratios were a little more succinct. We may have been in the beginnings of the meat sweats. As the double dragon is one of their iconic burgs we only judged them on that one. The loaded gems were a particular favourite, it was a shame we couldn’t enjoy them as much as they rightly deserved.
Grand total score of = 51.3/60. Pickle rating = 4.1/5
- Huxtaburger in Collingwood, HUXTABURGER, $9.50, SMALL CHIPOTLE CHIPS $2.50. quiet (only patrons)
Bianca: Appearance = 3.5/5, patty taste/texture = 2.5, bun 5/5, burger as a whole = 3/5 for a total score of 14/20. Notes > First bite tasted like a cigarette butt. Bottom bun was way too thin, I would have liked a sharper cheese. The chips were amazing, which bumped up their score. I was in a haze so that swayed me.
Alex: Appearance = 3.5/5, patty taste/texture = 1/5, bun = 3/5, burger as a whole = 1/5 for a total score of 9/20. Notes > Disgusting, tasted like a cigarette.
Shancois: Appearance = 4/5, patty taste/texture = 2/5, bun 2.5/5, burger as a whole = 3/5 for a total score of 11.5/20. Notes > Cigarette comment again, bottom bun very thin. Chipotle chips were awesome
Grand total score of = 34.5/60. Pickle rating = 3/5
- The B.East in Brunswick, THE CLASSIC, $10.50, quiet (6 other patrons)
Bianca: Appearance = 3.5/5, patty taste/texture = 3/5, bun 2.5/5, burger as a whole = 3/5 for a total score of 12/20. Notes > Tasty but didn’t blow me away. Loved the melted cheese, really enjoyed the tomatoes (clearly I was really lacking vegetables at this point, I usually hate foliage on burgers). Banging music as well = BOWIE!
Alex: Appearance = 3.5/5, patty taste/texture = 2/5, bun = 2/5, burger as a whole 2/5 for a total score of 9.5/20. Alex managed one solitary bite and then whinged for 20 minutes about how I was ruining his life, suffice to say he didn’t write any notes.
Shancois: Appearance = 4/5, patty taste/texture = 5/5, bun 4.5/5, burger as a whole = 4.6/5 for a total score of 18.1/20. Notes > Perfect balance of flavour, lean meat. Tomato was very flavoursome, almost as if they seasoned it or added spices.
Grand total score of = 39.6/60. Pickle rating = 3.2/5
- Gloria Swanstons in Melbourne CBD, KICK ARSE BURGER W/FRIES $16,50. Moderately busy.
And finally, the last stop of the day, well behind schedule we were well and truly pooped at this point. There were many a slurred words, random grunting. I applaud Shancois for remaining incredibly positive throughout the day. Alex, not so much. He gets negative 1 gold star.
Bianca: Appearance = 5/5, patty taste/texture = 3/5, bun = 2.5/5, burger as a whole = 3.5/5 for a total score of 14/20. Notes > Patty/bun ratio way off. The patty was way too large for the bun. Tasted like a Hungry Jacks burger. Loved the bacon, which was a rare occurrence throughout the day, just to change the flavour up.
Alex: Appearance = 4.3/5, patty taste/texture = 2.8/5, bun = 2/5, burger as a whole = 3/5 for a total score of 9/20. Notes > Lettuce leaves tasted like tabouli, bacon was nice.
Shancois: Appearance = 4.2/5, patty taste/texture = 3.5/5, bun = 3/5, burger as a whole 3.5/5 for a total score of 14.2/20. Notes > Good quality meat, no gristle. Lacked seasoning and patty way too thick. Great fries.
Grand total score of = 37.2/60. Pickle rating = 3.1/5
And a final tally for the Melbourne burger crawl:
- Mr Burger with 54.2/60
- EAT8BIT with 51.3/60
- Royale brothers with 49.4/60
- Hello Sam with 45/60
- The B.East with 39.6/60
- Gloria Swanstons with 37.2/60
- Huxtaburger with 34.5/60
- Andrews Hamburgers with 22.1/60
Taste is such a subjective thing but it was quite interesting to see just how close we scored each burger to each other.
As an added bonus I thought I’d throw in the other three burgers I ate on my Melbourne trip and will rate them as above.
*The Merrywell, Crown Casino South Bank, THE MERRYWELL BURGER W/FRIES. $29.00, very busy.
Appearance = 2/5, patty taste/texture = 3.5/5, bun = 2/5, burger as a whole = 3.5/5 for a total of 11/20. Pickle rating = 2.9/5. Now I don’t want to be harsh but how exactly was this rated Melbourne’s best burger in 2012 & 2013? It was good but not great. I was expecting big things and it did not deliver. The patty was a strong point, great char on the outside and a perfect medium rare on the inside. I feel it was really let down by the choice of bun, a brioche or milk bun would have been a more suitable choice as it would work well against the saltiness of the patty and the bacon. The proportions all felt a little wrong.
*Grand Trailer Park Taverna, Melbourne CBD, FRANCIS UNDERWOOD, $16.00
Appearance = 5/5, patty taste/texture = 4/5, bun = 4.5/5, burger as a whole 4.8/5 for a total score of 18.3/20. Pickle rating = 4.7/5. First up, this place is freaking cool. Set up like a trailer park, with sections of actual caravans used as tables/seating. Swayed by the mac & cheese croquette the Francis Underwood had my name all over it. Simply ingenious, I’ve never had anything like it. It really tipped it over the edge to something special. I implore everybody to move this burger to the top of their Melbourne burger lists. The Vesuvius amount of sauce was just an added bonus.
*Dude Food Man, Essendon, THE DUDE BURGER w/ a side of Mac and cheese slappers!
Appearance = 5/5, patty taste/texture = 3.5/5, bun = 5/5, burger as a whole 4.5/5 for a total of 18/20. Pickle rating = 4.6/5. Alex and I were expecting big things from Dude food man and they delivered, I’m pretty sure I’ve killed any enjoyment Alex had from eating burgers so he only managed a few bites – that my friends is what we call a pussy. The patty had a perfect char with a medium to well patty but the taste was bang on, the bacon was a strong highlight as was the melted cheese. But really, the show was stolen by those mac and cheese slappers, ideally my perfect day would revolve around ogling a shirtless Taylor Kitsch tossing around a football, in between hand feeding me a dozen or so of these.
So we had a clear winner on the burger crawl, that being Mr Burger but taking into account the other places we checked out, Grand Trailer Park and Dude Food Man just pip them at the post. However the grand poo-bah of burgers still remains Mister Gee’s Truffe Burger, sorry guys!!
To my pal Mark who said 8 places in one day was impossible, I’d like to throw-down a huge “I told you so!!!”
All in all a rather successful Melbourne holiday – with the prospect of early onset diabetes, cardiovascular disease let’s just say this was a rare adventure but one I’m glad I shared with Shannon and Alex.
Photos by Alex (unless they’re crappola i.e Grand Trailer Park)