Friday, January 18, 2013
The Bridge Hotel
Burger reviewed: Wagyu Beef Burger
Venue: The Bridge Hotel
Date: 18 January 2013
The newly renovated Bridge Hotel in Richmond served us up the Luc Longley of burgers. Those accustomed to our burger to sportsperson/equine analogy might be asking – why Longley? This is one very large and uniquely Australian burger, and there are few bigger Australians than the former Boomer but more on this later because for those of you who haven’t been to the Bridge Hotel in the last few years will be pleasantly surprised.
Renovated isn’t really doing the Bridge justice, think bigger, this is the Optimus Prime of transformations. This pub typifies the best of Melbourne’s urban culture in what is an eclectic mixture of style and flare. If Andy Warhol were to design a pub, this would be it. That’s enough about the décor and onto the reason for our attendance – the burger.
The rustic wagyu burger is packed with bacon, egg, caramelised onion, lettuce, tomato, beetroot, cheese, relish & aioli – pierced together by a wooden skewer. I have previously aired my frustration at the increasing use of skewers as a substitute for the old-school sprig of parsley, but this was less of a culinary decoration and more of a necessity. Think late night kebab on Brunswick St and you’ll understand why a skewer can be important. Be warned though, this is the type of burger you can’t really put down for fear that it will fall apart.
Often when a burger tries to squeeze in as many ingredients as the Bridge it is bereft of any real sense of flavor. Not so here. This brings me to the central pillar of any burger – the synergy. There was nothing particularly impressive about the individual ingredients, the bacon could’ve done with a few more minutes on the grill and you can never have enough relish, but when all the ingredients are combined as a whole, it just works. I need to be clear here so as not to build unrealistic expectations; the burger doesn’t have the cohesion of the Brisbane Lions of ‘01-‘03 or even the Cats of ‘07, ‘09 & ’11 and is more akin to the workman-like Sydney Swans of the last decade.
As you would expect, a lot of our attention when reviewing any burger goes to the pattie. To be frank, I was a little underwhelmed with this. It’s not as if it had any inherent flaw, but it brought us to the question of whether bigger is better? This was without a doubt the thickest pattie we have come across to date and, as much as it surprises me to say it, was almost a bit of meat overkill. It’s not something that can’t be fixed though, as with Ronaldo in the 2010 world cup, just trim the fat and perhaps add a few spices and you should be on winner.
You couldn’t really fault the bun as it was fresh and toasted but it just lacked that bit of an X-Factor for mine. It is probably best likened to the vanilla of neopolitan ice-cream, it is a very safe choice when its competitors are offering things that have a bit more pizzazz. On the other side of the plate, the beer battered chips were cooked to a golden brown and seasoned generously. You can’t do much more than that.
Our main gripe was not so much the burger, but that its service was slower than Eric “the eel” Moussambini at the Sydney Olympics – we must take some responsibility for this as we did arrive in the middle of Friday peak hour. On the topic of service, it would be remiss of me not to mention our waiter who shared an uncanny resemblance to a man made famous on the mediocre AFL footballers of the 1990’s facebook fanpage; ex-Bulldog, Mark West. The doppelganger was about as good as it got for Westy as he failed to clasp his mitts around a pint glass when clearing the adjacent table and it fell shattering to the floor. It didn’t stop there though, as the old bloke in the corner decided to provide special comments that even captain obvious himself, Mark Waugh, would be proud of – “at least you know it’s made of glass not plastic now mate”. Not quite in the league of Junior Waugh’s summation of a third umpire review of a Brad Hodge run-out attempt during the week – “this one’s close, he is either going to be adjudged out or not out here”.
Don’t expect this burger to be a feature in The Age good food guide– it is too rustic for that; however, like Longley to the ‘94-96 Bulls dynasty of Jordan, Pippen, Rodman & Kukoc, it is a more than serviceable side-kick to what is a stellar venue. It is certainly the type of place where an afternoon burger could easily become beers into the late evening. A great venue for a beer and a solid burger.
Burger Friday Rating: 36.83/50