Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Burger Reviewed: Beef burger with the lot
Venue: Grill Station - Fairfield
Date: 28 June 2013
On the burger continuum – with the contemporary, knife and fork, dare-not-pick-it-up style burger at one end – the Grill Station in Fairfield happily bucks the modern trend and parks itself as an ambassador of the humble and rustic burger. There is something particularly enjoyable about eating an unpretentious burger that doesn’t try to sell itself with ingredients that would not look out of place on a Jacques Reymond menu. A throw back to the good old days, we sampled the beef burger with the lot – lettuce, tomato, egg, bacon, onion and tomato sauce – which was a steal at $12.50 with chips and a can of soft drink.
As you would probably expect, the décor of the Grill Station was befitting the burger. Located a stones throw away from the train station, it was modest, down-to-earth and clean. You felt that the focus of the budget for the fit-out was selectively used to purchase the large screen plasma which was throwing out live images of the footy – no complaints here.
Being old-fashioned and understated is hardly a criticism. On the contrary – and this was never more evident than by the service we received at the venue; some of the best I have received from any on our burger journey. While speed is one thing, and Grill Station cannot be faulted there, as first time visitors to the Grill Station we all left feeling as though we had known the staff for years. Where your inner city venue might define the quality of service by the fancy jug they use to pour you a glass of water, the staff at Grill Station make you feel right at home. A real pleasure in a time where you are more accustom to dealing with a machine or an offshore service centre.
To the burger. The first thing you should notice about this is the size. It is a rare occasion, and perhaps I was having an off day, that I struggle to finish a burger (and I am proud to say that I am still undefeated) but this was one satisfying meal. The type of burger you crave when you’ve had a few too many sherbets the night before.
While the burger might have been enormous, my main gripe with this burger was the thickness of the pattie. On a burger that cries out for the prima donna of patties, it was unfortunately overshadowed by the myriad of ingredients that accompanied it. It must be noted that there is the option for additional patties, and maybe we’d consider upsizing in the future, but the robust flavours of the pattie seemed to get lost in the strength of the other flavours. What there was of the pattie was tender, handmade, juicy and expertly cooked and seasoned.
Although the pattie was more than capable of being the star of the show, there was a bit of Lance Picioane about the other accompaniments to the burger. For those of you not versed in Triple M’s football commentary team’s use of this man’s surname as a verb – a quick history lesson. Picioane, an honest but not great footballer, was renowned for making a concerted effort at the end of the match to spend as much time as possible speaking to the opposition star players with a view to getting a bit of airtime for himself. In burger circles, a Picioane is an ingredient that tries to dominate the wholesome flavor of the beef. In this instance, the egg and the bacon. Both were perfectly cooked, the bacon charred and the egg fried so that the yolk wouldn’t run, but their perfection overshadowed the pattie.
The lettuce, tomato and onion were all fresh and well-seasoned as you would expect. My preference would be for the onion to be sautéed slightly long, but lets not allow personal bias get in the way. The cheese was of the simple tasty variety, which did well to cover the entire length of the bun. While on the topic of the bun, this was fresh, toasted to a crunchy golden brown and big enough to wrap your mittens around. It was the type of roll you would expect from a bakery rather than the fancy brioche number – a safe option that is hard to fault.
The chips were thick and well cooked. They came out hot and crispy, but could’ve done with a pinch more salt – this wasn’t so noticeable as we were given a full bottle of refrigerated (let’s not go there again!) tomato sauce to use. While your amateur burger blogger may have read the label and taken the Heinz tomato ketchup on the label as gospel, this was clearly a refilled bottle of plain tomato sauce. Ketchup/tomato sauce? Six of one, half a dozen of the other – there is a difference though. Ketchup any day of the week for mine but when you consider that similar venues are charging you twenty cents for a sachet of sauce that is majority air, you’re not going to be to upset when you get to give the bottle a generous squirt.
To the favourite part of our blog – I am going to tag this as the Geoff Huegill burger. The man who prematurely retired from the Australian swimming team only to return two years later looking as if a couple of airbags had blown up inside him. While he was never quite able to make it to the elite category of swimmers, a 140kg bloke doing butterfly stroke when others of similar size would be happy to just float certainly endeared him to the Australian sporting public. Like Huegill, the Grill Station burger is massive, and while not quite at the top of our list, it is the type of place that you cannot help but warm to. George and his team, like Huegill, are certainly the type of blokes you would love to sit down and have a beer with.
A great rustic burger with top-notch service and outstanding value – you won’t be disappointed.
Burger Friday Score: 37/50