Thursday, May 23, 2013


Burger reviewed: The Footy Meal Deals Burger

Venue: Cotta at Crown

Date: 17 May 2013

Our weekly sojourn continued this week to Cotta, located on level one at the west end of the Crown casino complex.  As is often the way when trying to navigate through the labyrinth that is Packer’s palace, Cotta was about as easy to find as a Melbourne supporter after the three quarter time siren.  If you do eventually find Cotta, you will notice that the venue has been furnished in a manner that is consistent with the broader Crown redevelopment.  It is a sleek, yet somehow quaint, café with a mixture of contemporary and retro fittings.  The type of café that would not look out of place in Carlton or Richmond and quite a pleasant surprise to find in the middle of a gaming floor.  

You would expect that a modern café surrounded by the glitz and glamour of the adjacent poker machines and card tables to provide enough noise and excitement, but Cotta was the site of an impromptu and uncharacteristic debate.  Our loyal readership might come to expect the topic to be along the lines of who was the better sibling – Anthony or Mark Minichiello, Brendan or Michael Gale, Adrian or Gilbert McAdam – but, surprisingly, our heated discussion (excuse the pun) was whether tomato sauce should be refrigerated.  The overwhelming majority voted, contrary to the instructions on the packaging, in favour of keeping the sauce in the pantry.  To the sole naysayer, and those that accord to the theory of chilled ketchup, you need to have a good hard look at yourself… there is a reason you don’t see people dipping their hot chips into a bowl of Gazpacho. It’s just not right.

While on the topic of sauce, the burger had both sweet tomato chutney and an off-the-shelf mayonnaise.  A bit like the Richmond Football Club’s run of being the bubble boy of the AFL, the sauces, although not demonstrably wrong, seemed to lack that extra bit of spice to move into the next echelon. A plethora of crappy clichés spring to mind – ‘do it right, do it once’, ‘less is more’, ‘quality over quantity’ – but the simple principle is that you’re better off mastering one thing before branching out.  If you have to have two sauces, perhaps a lesson can be learned from Trunk Diner which gives you the choice of either of their homemade tomato or BBQ sauces.  To their credit though, Cotta didn’t overload the burger with sauce (if anything, it could have done with some more chutney) and they also got the hierarchy right (mayo on the bottom underneath the lettuce and the chutney on top).

The other accompaniments to the burger were your usual lettuce, tomato and cheese combo.  Nothing to fault there, the lettuce was crisp and the tomato fresh.  The choice of tasty cheese was a safe option but, in continuing with their theme of duplication, I was surprised to see two slices of cheese atop the burger.  Heart foundation tick? Unlikely.  However, this was one of the bigger burgers you will wrap your mittens around so the extra cheese wasn’t so much of an issue.

When it came to sides, Cotta clearly knew who their target audience for the Footy Meal Deal was and didn’t bother filling up half the plate with salad.  Rather, they used this space to provide a generous amount of shoestring fries which were well cooked but could have done with some salt.   Alas, some semifreddo tomato sauce had to suffice.

To the star of the show, the pattie.  It was handmade, thick and juicy yet it tasted more like a rissole than the type of burger you would expect off the barbeque.  It was well cooked but was good without being great.   The Brock McLean of patties if you will –  heavyset and workman-like.  You’re certainly not going to be disappointed with it, but it probably lacks a few of the tricks that puts you into the A-grade level.

This week we have chosen to take a break from routine of likening the burger to a professional athlete and instead we take privilege in labeling the Cotta burger the inaugural Burger Friday ‘cash cow’.  The ‘cash cow’ is a term which was popularised by the Boston Consulting Group in its BCG growth-share matrix and has featured in many management textbooks worldwide, but ultimately it has found its home in fantasy football vernacular to denote a player who generates a substantial amount of cash relative to his price tag.  A coveted icon on the website, it has proudly been adorned by the likes of Ed Curnow (2010), Jonathon Giles (2012) and more recently by Jaeger O’Meara and Brett Goodes. Clearly these are not the biggest names in the AFL, at least not yet anyway, but in the competitive world of fantasy football, these are the names that are the most treasured.  After months spent deliberating which rookies will be included in your supercoach squad come round one, there is no better prize than a player that simply outperforms his pricetag. 

The Cotta burger is no different and is a genuine diamond in the rough.  At the generous price of just $9.90 for a burger, fries and pot of Carlton Draught, you will struggle to find a burger which provides more value for money.  As with Curnow and Giles not being the biggest names in the AFL, this is not to say that this will be the best burger you will ever eat but at that price it is hard to be too disappointed.

Burger Friday Rating: 36.5/50

Cotta on Urbanspoon

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