Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Duke

Burger Reviewed: The Duke Burger

Venue: The Duke of Wellington Hotel

Date: 26/4/2013

On a glorious post ANZAC day lunch, the BF crew headed to the Duke of Wellington Hotel on the corner of Flinders St and Russell St. The Duke of Wellington, known simply as the Duke, was established in 1853, making it one Melbourne’s oldest hotels and somewhat of an inner city icon. Having been closed for extensive renovations, the Duke recently reopened with quite impressive results. From what was a tired and weathered pub, the Duke is now fresh and modern. 

Consisting of a stylish wooden interior finished with a fine polish, complemented by the huge windows allowing for maximum natural light, and a number of TV screens, this is a perfect spot a pre or post game feed given its proximity to the Melbourne sporting precinct. 

The burger reviewed today was the signature Duke Burger, priced at about an even $20. Comprising of a house ground beef pattie, cheddar cheese, lettuce, bacon, tomato, mayo and dill pickles sandwiched between a golden brioche bun, this burger had all the elements to be a belter.  Unfortunately, despite having all the makings of a champion, it didn’t quite wow us.

The burger was certainly well proportioned and pretty as a picture, but it just seemed to miss some X factor. The pattie was cooked well and clearly homemade judging by its tendency to fall apart. Although this caused significant structural integrity issues, we are prepared to forgive this as it goes a long way to proving it was not of the pre-packaged polystyrene Woolworths variety.

Contributing to the lack of X-factor was an absolute clanger from the kitchen. This one skimmed right off the side of the boot as one of our burgers ordered was missing its pickles. This meant that one burger didn’t have the zest  to provide that sharp contrast in flavours for one poor fellow. This was an ode to Tom Scully who currently leads the AFL in the damning statistic of clangers.

The sides of thick chips/wedges were well salted and in decent supply, although they could have perhaps been deep fried for a tad longer to achieve that real deep crunch to elevate them above average. Accompaniments of El Yucateco, HP and ketchup earned huge brownie points amongst the group; although they were far from the main attraction on the day, like 3rd string San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills, they pitched in well when required, however were usually watching on idly.

Putting aside that it lacked X factor, the Duke Burger was an overall enjoyable experience; a neat and solid burger, served in an iconic Melbourne venue. On the Duke website, it boldly claims to have the greatest burger you could ever eat. This kind of Chael Sonnen style trash talking definitively encouraged us to step up the plate and give it a crack. To be fair, you are not going to proclaim on your website that you are selling just an average burger, so they can be excused for the hyperbole. While it wasn’t as good as it claimed to be, it was still a very solid and tasty burger.

Given the above, we liken this burger to its namesake Mark ‘the Duke’ Viduka. Starting out his career in the A-league’s predecessor, the NSL, Viduka quickly made a name for himself and secured a move to Europe. After bouncing around Croatia and Scotland, the big Duke finally found a home in the English Premier League. Whilst a champion of Australian soccer, in relative terms the Duke was an above average performer in the international football world, and didn’t mind engaging in a bit of trash talking. And that’s about where we think the Duke burger sits, above average.  

The Burger Friday team would like to congratulate the Duke of Wellington for a highly successful re-opening and on an excellent refit. If you are in the area, it’s worth the visit.

Burger Friday Rating: 36.25/50

The Duke on Urbanspoon

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