Friday, February 24, 2012

Beatbox Kitchen Rooftop

Burger reviewed: Grass fed beef, cos lettuce, cheese, tomato, onion and stereo sauce.
Venue: Beatbox Kitchen
Date: 24/2/2012

The fellows journeyed down Swanston Street to the Beatbox Kitchen (located at the rooftop bar of Cookie) this week. Once arriving, due to the lack of available elevators we decided to ascend up 7 flights of stairs. Given the 30+ temperature of the day, it felt like the Kokoda trail, but who doesn’t mind burning a few calories? Just ask Stuart Dew and Lance Whitnall. The venue itself could not be more spectacular. It doesn’t get much better than sitting outside on a sunny day, 7 stories high looking out towards Melbourne’s skyline, while the d├ęcor was simple but good. The beer on tap – Little Creatures Bright Ale was as smooth as Scott Pendlebury’s skills.

Don’t be fooled. This venue is not meant to be renowned for its cooking. There is small kitchen and certainly no famous chef putting his name to it (ie Rockpool). You get the feeling the chefs are actually teenage kids from a popular John Hughes 1980s movie. The speed of service may not have been as quick Black Caviar, but you can’t complain about getting a Hay List.  

Ok to the burger itself, Beatbox should really take a bow for being able to create a burger that is simple but delicious. The patty is large and complimented by a soft bun, while the meat was cooked to a nice medium. I guess the grass fed beef gave the burger an extra taste but what really distinguishes this burger from its competitors are two simple features. Firstly the burger comes with “Stereo Sauce”. While this may not be the sauce you are familiar with at Stereosonic, this mayonnaise provides a tangy kick that gives the consumers a rare delight. Secondly the cheese literally melts in your mouth. All this provides for a very juicy burger which can pose problems when trying to keep your attire clean. If trying to impress the fairer sex that night, I recommend eating with caution.

The French fries were crisp and cooked to near perfection. I will never complain about a solid serving of well cooked shoe strings next to my burger. Annie’s homemade spicy relish which accompanies, the fries once again provided a unique tangy sensation.

Looking at the value, you may not be getting a Pinker Pinker price ($20 Cox Plate winner), but you are definitely getting your money’s worth. Burger and fries for $11, add a pint of Little Creatures and you’re looking at $20. For all you growing boys the double patty burger and chips goes for $15 and should see you sufficed for the rest of the day.

Overall there is not much you can say that is wrong about this burger. The fellows were mighty impressed by it. Beatbox concentrate on doing the simple things right. They don’t try to be flashy adding unnecessary ingredients but a few tricks here and there create a unique burger experience that cannot be found readily enough.  A lot like Lenny Hayes, who may not have all the superstar skills but is still regarded as a superstar player.

In conclusion try a burger at Beatbox, NOW.

Burger Friday Rating:  42.73/50

Beatbox Kitchen Rooftop on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Test Tube Burger - $290,000 Big Ones!

Crossing a whole heap of moral boundaries comes this news story about beef grown in a test tube. Regardless of your moral stance on whether this is right or wrong, our kudos go out to a man who is willing to spend that much time and money on developing a burger. The burger itself I am sure would lose points on our value section ($290k and no beer included), but regardless given the proposed chef being Heston Blumenthal I am sure it would score well on taste. Given that the burger has not yet been proven itself worthy and is already the most expensive burger in history we think this burger has a lot of the Tom Scully’s about it.

In case this wealthy individual funding this project sees this blog, we would like to make him an honorary Fellow of Burger Friday in the hope that he would feel the need to sponsor Burger Friday’s noble pursuit of finding the best burgers in town.

LURKING in a petri dish in a laboratory in the Netherlands is an unlikely contender for the future of food. The yellow-pink sliver is state-of-the-art in lab-grown meat and a milestone on the path to the world's first burger made from stem cells. Dr Mark Post, the head of physiology at Maastricht University, plans to unveil a complete burger - produced at a cost of more than $290,000 - this October. He hopes Heston Blumenthal, the chef and owner of the three Michelin-starred Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire, southern England, will cook the offering for a celebrity taster.

The project, funded by a wealthy, anonymous, individual, aims to slash the number of cattle farmed for food and reduce one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. ''Meat demand is going to double in the next 40 years and right now we are using 70 per cent of all our agricultural capacity to grow meat through livestock,'' Dr Post said. ''You can easily calculate that we need alternatives. If you don't do anything meat will become a luxury food and be very, very expensive.'' Livestock contribute to global warming through unchecked releases of methane, a gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

At the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Vancouver, Dr Post said the burger would be a ''proof of concept'' to demonstrate that ''with in-vitro methods, out of stem cells we can make a product that looks like and feels and hopefully tastes like meat.'' Dr Post is focusing on making beef burgers from stem cells because cows are among the least efficient animals at converting the food they eat into food for humans.

Dr Post and his team have so far grown thin sheets of cow muscle measuring 3 centimetres long, 1.5 centimetres wide and half a millimetre thick. To make a burger will take 3000 pieces of muscle and a few hundred pieces of fatty tissue, that will be minced together and pressed into a patty. Each piece of muscle is made by extracting stem cells from cow muscle tissue and growing them in containers. The cells are grown in a culture medium containing foetal calf serum, which contains scores of nutrients the cells need to grow.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Ludlow Formation

Burger reviewed: Wagyu Burger, mahon cheese, istra bacon & Spanish mojo.
Venue: The Ludlow Formation
Date: 17 February 2012

This weeks burger adventure saw the Fellows on the pristine banks of the Yarra to sample Chef Marc Brown’s wagyu burger with mahon cheese, istra bacon and Spanish mojo.  One would have to work harder than Brad Haddin’s PR manager to find a better location for a meal.  The venue offers a mixture of seating arrangements, but this burger is best enjoyed on the terrace in full view of some of the finest eye candy running to and from ‘the tan’ - all against the backdrop of the city landscape.  This helped created an atmosphere where one would happily settle in for a few post-burger ales.

As any burger enthusiast would know, the burger experience is all about the pattie and while it was decent, it hardly set the world on fire.  In order to accommodate the afternoon rush, you got the sense that there was almost a rotisserie of burgers being processed with a focus in the kitchen of just finishing the task at hand and heading home– not at all dissimilar to the predicament that the Indian cricket team finds themselves in this summer.

As for the condiments, the Fellows were excited to sample the gastronomic experience that is ‘Spanish mojo’ and while we were disappointed the burger was not served by a Spanish Austin Powers, this spicy sauce provided an interesting kick to the burger.  This was complemented by a dollop of mayonnaise, and I mean dollop – you would have found it easier to get a bank loan in Greece than a sufficient supply of our beloved mayo.  I appreciate the societal push towards healthy eating, but seriously, do you think I really care about the notch on my belt when I sit down for a pint and burger? More mayo please!

The bun was about as seedy as Brendan Fevola after the 2009 brownlow, but this provided an interesting texture and surely enough fibre to pass the all-bran challenge.  To its credit, the bun provided some real structural integrity, a nice size and was able to withstand the journey without falling to bits.

The Ludlow Formation could do themselves a favour by heeding the famous words of Homer J Simpson – “You don’t make friends with salad”.  Based on the amount of greenery returning to the kitchen, I am not sure whether this was supposed to be salad or a garnish, but, whatever it was, the Ludlow Formation would be better off culling this unnecessary ingredient. A few polite souls were happy to shuffle the salad around their plate as if playing culinary air hockey, but all I can assume is that there is one very well fed rabbit out the back of the Ludlow Formation.

On the other side of the plate were some well-cooked and well-seasoned French fries.  There is a real lesson in that – simple but effective.  While I was disappointed there was no dipping sauce supplied at first instance, the waitress was more than accommodating to head back to the pantry to grab a side of some Heinz Big Red.

The burger itself could be likened to Andrew Krakeour, it clearly has a few issues to sought out, it had some patches of brilliance but also went missing in other areas.  Like Krakeour – a rookie listed player who played all but a handful of games in 2011 - this burger comes at the attractive price of $20 (including a pint of Carlton Draught) and, lets be honest, at that sort of price and despite the issues, you would be more than happy to take the gamble on it.

Burger Friday Rating:  30.25/50 The Ludlow Formation on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 16, 2012 - For people who love burgers! - For people who love burgers! Get around it

Only in America - man falls ill eating Heart Attack Burger

From the could only happen in America files, we saw this article and had to laugh. Somehow I don't think this type of restaurant would fly in Australia. It is questionable how it would score on our rating system. Presumably points get detracted if the burger is life threateningly bad for your health. Surviving eating this burger would probably leave you looking like you had been on the Dean Rioli turtle diet during the offseason. Imagine if the bloke had the Quadruple Bypass Burger instead!

Laughing tourists were either cynical or confused about whether a man was really suffering a medical episode amid the "doctor," ''nurses" and health warnings at the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, a restaurant owner said Wednesday. "It was no joke," said Jon Basso, who promotes himself "Doctor Jon," his scantily-clad waitresses as nurses and customers as patients. Basso said he could tell right away the man in his 40s eating a Triple Bypass burger was having trouble. He was sweating, shaking and could barely talk. Paramedics were called Saturday night, fire spokesman Tim Szymanski said, and the man was hospitalized. His name and information about his condition weren't made public. Giggles can be heard on the soundtrack of amateur video showing the man on a stretcher being wheeled out of the restaurant where patrons pass an antique ambulance at the door and a sign: "Caution! This establishment is bad for your health." Eaters are given surgical gowns as they choose from a calorically extravagant menu offering "Bypass" burgers, "Flatliner" fries, buttermilk shakes and free meals to folks over 350 pounds. Basso said he hopes the man is OK, and added that he felt bad for him because tourists treated his misfortune like a joke. "We would never pull a stunt like that," he said.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mmm-mmmm. That is a tasty burger

Pulp Fiction - Burger Scene from tl2xlc on Vimeo.
One of the best movie burger scenes of all time. If Big Kahuna Burgers existed, we would definitely go rate them on a Friday

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Boatbuilders Yard

Burger reviewed: Wagyu burger, eggplant relish, pancetta, cheese, lettuce, tomato and chips.
Venue: Boat Builders Yard.
Date: 10/02/2012

This week’s Burger Friday bought the Fellows to the Boat Builders Yard on South Wharf. A location that can only be described by teaching our readership a new word – gentrified. The word gentrification can basically be described as a property face lift. The scenery around South Wharf just gives off that pharmaceutically enhanced feel – where a once run down area of Melbourne has had fancy new buildings constructed on it simply because it is by the water. So although the area is quite pleasing to the eye, it does not give off that homely feel that warms the very cockles of your heart.

But who gives a shit about the scenery, we are here to critique a burger!

We rocked up at the Boat Builders Yard on a slightly blustery afternoon and had no trouble finding a table. The majority of the tables are outside so you would want a pair of brass balls if you planned on going there between April and October. The burger and a pint of draught cost $28 (getting up towards Rockpool territory in terms of price). The waitress handed us our UFO which would signal when our burgers were ready (deduct a point for having to get the burgers yourself). The UFO had on it the number 51 – a number made famous by such sporting superstars as Adelaide Crows key position player Randall Bone and the Chicago Bears Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus (pronounced Butt-Kiss). 

All penis jokes aside, a point of great amusement occurred when we looked over to the table beside us, of all things, we saw a pirate! A man that is granted automatic shotgun under the widely accepted shotgun rules.
The burger itself was not great – a mere pass I would say. The bun was a bit greasy (yeah the bun, not the burger), the bun fell apart at the bottom and the patty was a little overcooked and slightly dry. However, the patty was clearly handmade, as it contained a large number of little additives, one of which being chilli – which was completely unexpected but a real winner in this burger leaving that slight tingly feeling on the tongue afterwards. The burger had bacon, plenty of tomato, lovely caramelised onions and a really tasty slice of cheese (another winner). But the eggplant relish was virtually unnoticeable, meaning that the burger lacked that great sauce to bring it all together (a bit like Jobe Watson lacks all the necessary skills to be a great footballer). Each of the fellows even resorted to dipping the burger in our chip dipping sauce – so not only do you have to pick up the burger yourself, you have to dress it as well. 

The chips were exceptional – a nice crunch yet light and fluffy on the inside. As you fetched your meal from the pickup point you were presented with a large array of sauces to which there was no limit on consumption (which was good because you used half of it on the burger).

Another thing I didn’t quite like was the abundance of rocket in the burger when it clearly called for the more watery iceberg lettuce. 

The AFL metaphor I will use to sum up this burger is that of Nick Reiwoldt kicking for goal – clearly too much going on in his head and really needs to work on the basics to be a successful set shot. What I mean by that is that the chefs put so much time into concocting the perfect patty spice mixture that they forgot to get the basics of the burger down pat – such as having a good sauce and cooking the burger to a juicy medium rare. 

Altogether, the burger had good and bad elements and not surprisingly didn’t really work well as a whole.

Burger Friday Rating: 29.33/50 

The Boatbuilders Yard on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rockpool Bar & Grill

Burger reviewed: David Blackmore’s full blood wagyu hamburger with bacon, gruyere cheese and zuni pickle.
Venue: Rockpool Bar & Grill
Date: 3/2/2012

The infamous Lao Tzu once said “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”. For the Fellows of Burger Friday, the inaugural Burger Friday journey of a thousand burgers begins with a single delicious bite. To start our path of enlightenment towards finding the best spots in Melbourne to enjoy a Burger on a Friday we decided to start at the top, with the venue of choice to celebrate this momentous occasion being Rockpool, the home of Steven Seagal look alike Neil Perry. While I may have a problem with a white man in his 40’s with a ponytail who dresses in Chinese pajamas, one cannot help but tip their hat to the man who has brought to Australia a burger of the highest quality.

Let’s get this clear from the start, the Rockpool burger is a star in its own right. While Neil Perry may have dreams of crouching tigers and hidden dragons, the burger comes without any superfluous elements. The ingredients of gruyere cheese, pickles, bacon and tomato relish are simple and work together as smoothly as the Black Caviar strides racetracks. My one gripe is the cos lettuce and slices of tomato on the side of the plate. We all know that cooking in a kitchen is hard work, but can’t the chefs just put them in the burger already for you? As lazy as the Indian cricket teams efforts at fielding.

For the quality of the ingredients and the location inside Jamie Packers Pensioner wonderland called Crown Casino, the burger comes at a premium price at $26 without any sides. Just a burger and plate, and a couple pieces of rabbit food on the side (shakes fist at lazy chefs). Once you add some onion rings or fries and a beer, the burger loses a fair few points in the value stakes as your per head price is looking at a pineapple for coverage. You wouldn't be smashing this burger too often at that price. The chips we ordered came with a good tomato relish and while they were good, they were a little too Boof Lehman in the middle, not enough Arnold Schwarzenegger in the crunch factor.

All in all the burger was perfectly cooked to a juicy medium rare, has a balance of crunch, saltiness, tang and a great whack of freshness from the pickles. Hard to argue, but simple ingredients make the best burgers. And this is definitely one of the best.

This burger is like a silky smooth Kevin Bartlett – has been around for a number of years now and flat out refuses to handball out any sides (some chips on the side would be nice) for some cheap goals.  Like KB, it makes no excuses for this. But what it does hold itself out to do is a bloody brilliant burger, and it does this very well.  

Burger Friday Rating:  42/50
Rockpool Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Burger Friday Constitution

Burger Friday Constitution

The 3rd day of the month of February 2012

1.       A quorum consists of two or more Fellows of the Burger Friday
2.       The responsibility of writing the Burger Friday Burview (Burger/Review) should be rotated to encourage variety, humour and competitiveness.
3.       The Burview should follow the Burview standard protocol, including the following factors:
a.       Venue
b.       Rating
c.        Photo
d.       Funny write up
e.        Each burger shall be likened to a sportsperson or animal (in the light of The Fuse’s affinity towards Black Caviar and other equines) or other topical subject of the day.  
f.        Recommendation
4.       The capacity for honorary Fellows of the Burger Friday to "sit in" will be allowed on the acceptance of two existing members of the Fellows.
5.       To become a member of the Fellows, one must pass the membership requirements as determined by the majority of the Fellows.
6.       Each Fellow of the Burger Friday is to complete the Burger Friday Rating System.  The average of the quorum for that day should constitute a rating.
7.       A Burger should be only eaten with the hands.
8.       Anonymity of the Fellows should remain at all times.
9.       An annual Burger Friday Burger Bonanza will occur on the first Friday of the Fifth month of the year.
10.    Veggies Burgers will not be accepted and the Fellow of the Burger Friday who suggested the venue with be required to shout each Fellow their next Burger Friday
11.    Burger Friday venue location should be rotated weekly.
12.    Selection of eatery (also known as the Summer Bay Diner Rule) - The right of selection of the following weeks eatery should be bequeathed to the individual responsible for the previous weeks blog.
13.    The appellate jurisdiction - in the event of any dispute whatsoever, the matter shall be escalated to the appellate jurisdiction of the Fellowships of the Burger, whereby the majority consensus shall prevail.
14.    Power to amend the constitution - Following the agreeance of the constitution of the Founding Fellows, any constitutional amendments must be agreed upon by majority of the Fellows.  Any constitutional amendments must be made in writing and accompanied with a six-pack of Lager/Draught which will form the basis of constitutional debate.
15.    Punishment for missing an entire months worth of Burger Fridays - shouting each Fellow their next Burger Friday.
16.    In order to become a Fellow of the Burger Friday, you must either be the son of a Fellow of the Burger Friday, or save the life of a Fellow of the Burger Friday.
17.    If there are even numbers of Fellows of the Burger Friday, if there is a split in opinion, and if no clear decision emerges from debate, a two-man sack race will be held on consecutive Sundays until a decision can be made.
18.    Never leave a Burger Friday Fellow on his own wearing a funny hat or costume.
19.    Always be a team player.
20.    The default font for Burger Friday is Times New Roman.
21.    Eat plentiful and digest your food.
22.    If you are going to be late for a Burger Friday, you must inform your Fellows and not leaving them hanging in the office for longer than 15 minutes waiting for you.  Failure to notify your Fellows will result in shouting a round of beers to all the Fellows you left waiting.  
23.    Contemporaneous records of the review of the Burger must be kept and collated by the person completing the weekly Burview.
24.    The default punishment for breach of a rule is to buy a round of beers for all Fellows.
25.    If a rule contains its own punishment then that will assume priority over the default punishment.
26.    If in doubt the meat Hierarchy is Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Pork, Fish.
27.    Shoes say a lot about a man.
28.    The rules of the Fellows are sacred. Respect them.
29.    Have fun. It’s why you are here.
30.    Blog must be submitted by the Monday following the Burger Friday at 9am.
31.    Expulsion from the Fellows of Burger Friday can be done only on the agreeance of 75% of Fellow members.
32.    Do not divulge the secrets of the Fellows.
33.    If a Fellow eats a burger at the same venue as the other Fellows, but is part of a different dining group, so long as he eats the same burger and provides contemporaneous rating, his review will be included in the weekly Burview.
34.    On the first Friday of the months March, June, August, November the payment of the entire bill of Burger Friday will be decided by Credit Card Roulette.
35.    Burger consumption will commence simultaneously. No fellow may begin consuming a burger before his fellow Fellows. Etiquette is sexy.
36.    Fellows shalt respect the sanctity of their Learned Fellows chips and shall refrain from taking fries.  To the extent any Fries are taken, the Learned Fellow who suffers said loss is entitled to recoup double of the quantity loss.  Failure to have sufficient supply of said Fries is punishable by a round of beers.
37.    To the extent that a Gazetted public holiday falls on a Friday, it will be at the discretion of the majority of the Fellows to shift Burger Friday to an alternate date in that week.  Any such shift requires 5 days notice to all Fellows.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Burger Friday - The Journey Begins

Is there a better way to celebrate the approaching weekend than to eat a burger on a Friday? We certainly think not. In recognition of the time honoured tradition of burger consumption on a Friday, Burger Friday was born. If you like to eat a Burger on a Friday or any other day of the week, then this blog will hopefully tickle your tastebuds, warm your cockles and enlighten you about the best Burgers going around.