Monday, June 24, 2013

Lord of the Fries

Burger Reviewed: The Original Melbourne 

Venue: Lord of the Fries 

Date: 14/6/2013 

Today the Burger Friday fellows ventured to the hustle and bustle of the corner of Elizabeth St and Flinders St to visit arguably the flagship store of Lord of the Fries (LOTF). 

Having started in 2004, on the back of a group of friends mutual love of fries, LOTF should perhaps be credited with kick starting the food truck revolution in Melbourne. It was LOTF that started in a van driving around the country selling fries, until they eventually graduated to get a permanent spot in the Melbourne city, expanded their menu to include burgers, onion rings and hot dogs, and the rest as they say in the classics is history. 

Since starting, LOTF has crafted itself a nice niche in the Melbourne food industry in that it serves not only vegetarian food, but also Kosher and Halal; which, in the fast food business, is as rare as trying to find a Melbourne supporter during the opening weekend of the ski season. Having eaten our way through pounds of meat on our journey to find burger nirvana, it was nice to be able to change it up by trying a vegetarian burger.

As is the Burger Friday tradition where possible, the fellows had the signature burger, being the Original Melbourne. The Original Melbourne burger comes with a special LOTF burger patty, grated cheese, pickles, onions, lettuce, Belgian mayo, mustard and ketchup on a freshly baked bun. Being a vegetarian burger, we were as clueless as a camel that had inexplicable found itself at the North Pole, but the combination of flavors was what really surprised.

While The triumvirate of sauces on the beautifully crunchy bun was a winner. There is something to be said for the commitment to bake the buns daily, as this really elevated this burger. And the inclusion of mayo, mustard and ketchup went as well together as well as Bob, Jack and Lou used to in the old days on Wide World of Sport. The pickles on the burger were provided a bit of tang to the burger. The grated cheese was plentiful and provided some bite and texture, but I think the burger would have benefitted had the cheese been melted on the burger.  

Talking about texture, it provides a good segue to talk about the patty. Made from a textured vegetable protein, the patty was surprisingly good and a more than reasonable substitute for meat. Undeniably the best judge of any substitute is the blindfold test – would you notice the difference if you were blindfolded – and I would have to imagine there are many late night patrons who have purchased a burger from LOTF with their beer goggles on and have left fully satisfied not knowing that they have actually been dining on a meat substitute.

If I was to have one gripe, it would be that the pattie was perhaps just a little too soft in that it melted into the rest of the burger. I would have liked to have seen something with a little more crispiness/chargrill to it to emphasize its substance and prove that it should be the star of the show.

Talking about stars, the real ones of this show were the ones which the store was named after. Crispy, double fried, and presented with an array of sauces – these were fantastic. Kudos to the Lord on these glorious things.

Overall this was a very tasty burger and would gladly give a few more of the burgers on the menu a crack. While it is the first vegetarian burger we have tried, we were pleasantly surprised (particularly in light of our known carnivorous bias).

In honour of its vegetarian status, I am going to dub the LOTF Burger – the David Zabriskie. Zabriskie is a professional cyclist and also a vegan. He is known for his quirky nature, including singing before stages and the interviews he does with fellow riders in the peloton. Besides all that, he is a very good rider, and practically the Lord of the US time trials, winning the US national title 7 times. The fact that he is a little bit different resonates well with Lord of the Fries and its originality.

If you are a vegetarian, or if you are not, it is worth giving this burger a go as it will definitively open your eyes to some new horizons. Although we advocate burgers are made for a Friday afternoon, we are also fans of a bargain – so why not head down on a Monday afternoon for a LOTF two-for-one special (all Mondays in July – subscribe to their twitter account for other deals) and try something a little different.

Burger Friday rating: 32/50

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