Not excited by the prospect of a fillet-o-fish on Good Friday, the Fellows unanimously elected to invoke the operation of clause 37 of the constitution and bring forward our traditional Wagyu burger to Thursday. In doing so, the Fellows ventured off to the corner of King St to the Melbourne landmark that is the Waterside Hotel. As with any trip to King St, there is a certain expectation of satisfaction and this journey was no different (albeit that the manly table service that we received was not quite what we have come to expect from this former industrial precinct).
Like the great Scotty Palmer, the Fellows are not ones to hold back on their punches and the Waterside Hotel is certainly not going to win any awards for beauty. It's a venue in which you are more likely to run into Danny Southern or Mark Zanotti than one where you might find Shawn Hampson cuddling up to Megan Gale. While this might not be the venue to take the lovely lady for an anniversary or valentines day, let's not forget that this is not Coxy's Big Break and the Fellows are here to judge burgers, and a great burger at that.
A bit sick of the gourmet 'knife and fork' style burgers that we have started to become accustomed to, the Fellows were delighted to get their hands on a uniquely Australian-style burger. This was a burger that brought back memories of munching on a rustic burger from the local Fish-N-Chip shop while watching Wayne Carey put on a clinic in the early 90s.
As the photo can attest, the Russian judge is surely going to give it a whack for presentation but who cares when it tastes that good. Accompanied by crispy bacon, a sunny side down egg, beetroot and the usual salads, this was a hearty burger with all the trimmings and represented exceptional value for money. Although the patty was a tad small, and the burger had some serious structural issues, this was overlooked because the burger as a whole just worked. If anything, this burger epitomised synergy - while the sum of its parts may not have been great, as one, it was something to behold.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the quality of the chips. They were an equally impressive sidekick, which, like Scottie Pippen, probably don't receive as much kudos as they probably deserve given the quality of what surrounds them. The chips were thick, golden, fluffy and well seasoned, and a welcome break from the standard French Fry which has crept its way onto many burger menus of late.
A number of names were canvassed on our amble back to the office, but this burger is most appropriately likened to 2011 Grand Final captain, Cameron Ling. It's not pretty but highly effective. As Ling aged, he became a more robust and rudimentary footballer, who continually got the job done on seemingly more skilful, quicker and arguably better opponents. However, his persistence to perfect the little things, saw him take many scalps in his prized career - none more so than Brownlow medallist Dane Swan in the 2011 Grand Final. This burger is know different - it does the little things right without the need to be flashy.
While we may not rush to the Waterside for our next date, don't be surprised if you run into a few of the Fellows indulging in the $12 burger and pot special before wandering over to Etihad stadium. A great burger and a bargain at this price.
Burger Friday Rating: 36.25/50