Eat here: Burger Project, Melbourne (burgers)

Burger Project
Shop 2.05, Level 2, St Collins Lane, 60 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

You certainly can’t complain about a lack of burger options in Melbourne. We have a horrendous hot dog shortage, but we’re good for burgers. I wrote last week that my fellow burger buddy and I were going to try out Burger Project, and try it out we did.

It’s perched atop the newly fancied up St Collins Lane on Collins Street, and going up the elevators, it kinda felt a bit Crown-casino like – big, la-di-da chandelier lighting, security guards doing laps outside designer stores, and a lot of suit-clad businessmen.

Getting to the top of the building and into Burger Project central really didn’t do much for me – it felt so white and clean and sterile. But the menu looked decent; Burger Project prides itself on quality, with their philosophies centering around sustainability and community support. They’ve sourced an impressive list of suppliers, including Cape Grim Beef (36 month grass fed Cape Grim beef chuck and brisket for the patties), Lilydale free range chicken, and Murray River Salt. And Mr Perry’s reputation for the infamous Rockpool Burger is obviously helpful when establishing little side ventures like this.

So, our orders. She got the CHEESE (grass fed beef patty, cheese, onion, pickles, tomato, lettuce and secret sauce, $9.90). Unfortunately, didn’t quite hit the mark – she likened it to a fish and chip shop burger. She did enjoy the chocolate thickshake, though!

As for me, it was the AMERICAN CHEESE (grass fed beef patty, cheese, onion, pickles, secret sauce and rose mayonnaise, $9.90) plus bacon, $2.00). I liked mine more, with the pros being the outstanding pickles, great sauces, patty cooked medium and nice salty bacon.

But, there were flaws:
– Wayyyyy too much sauce = soggy bottomed burger bun
– Cheese wasn’t melted. You cannot present a cheeseburger with unmelted cheese. Inexcusable.
– You can kinda make it out from the photo below, but patty to bun size ratio was way off, which, after the non-melted cheese, is my next biggest pet burger hate. The patty needs to extend out to the bun perimeter. It just has to. But this one didn’t  : (

Points for service, though – quick and friendly. And the food has potential, but honestly, I expected a hell of a lot better. When you’re in the CBD and competing with places like Royal Stacks and Grand Trailer Park Taverna, you gotta lift your game! Nice burger, not crap, but not amazing.

Burger Project Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: Royal Stacks, Melbourne (burgers)

Royal Stacks
800 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
470 Collins St, Melbourne CBD

Another day, another burger… My favourite food buddy and I are heading off to try Neil Perry’s efforts at Burger Project after work tonight, but before we get to that, let’s discuss another relatively newbie to the Melbourne burger scene: Royal Stacks.

I first tried Royal Stacks a few months ago, not long after they opened in the CBD, and absolutely loved their Shake Shack-style burgers – the burger I had really reminded me of the few Shake Shack burgers I got through while we were in America, simple and delicious, so I was pretty keen to get back again and bring husband along with me.

We found ourselves not far from the Brunswick location a few weekends ago, so we decided to drop in. Being that it was his first visit, husband got to choose, and he wisely went with the single stack (beef patty, tomato, butter lettuce, American cheddar cheese, their special burger sauce and pickles) + bacon, and the molten cheese smothered potato gems.

Immediately obvious is the similarity to Shake Shack, from the picture perfect presentation to the branding and logos, to the fact that they also do some incredible frozen custards for dessert. And the similarities don’t stop there – it’s a damn good burger. Well cooked patty, perfectly seasoned, lots of melty cheese, appropriate bun and lettuce, it’s all there. If anything, the tomato was sliced a little thick this time, but that’s not hard to remedy.

Potato gems – YES. Golden, crispy gems, lots of salt, and swimming in liquid gold that somewhat approximated the taste of melted cheese. It may not be natural or healthy, but God it’s good!! Husband loved it all, too – said it was comfortably as good as the Shack, which is a big call considering how much he loved their burgers. I’m stoked that one location is walking distance from the office and the other is around 10km from home; I’ll be back (again) very soon!



Royal Stacks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: Juanita Peaches, Melbourne (burgers & fried chicken)

Juanita Peaches
12-14 Edward St, Brunswick

So, I wrote earlier in the week about the epic Saturday morning breakfast date that turned into a full day outing; Juanita Peaches was one of our stops, for first lunch. Husband and I had both been wanting to try them out for a while, having been enormous fans of All Day Donuts (and all of Raph Rashid’s other ventures, for that matter) for quite a long time. And let’s be honest – anywhere you can get a cheeseburger, fried chicken and donuts has to be a good place.

We ordered a cheeseburger and 2 pieces of fried chicken to share. The fried chicken, at $4 a piece, was actually pretty good value considering how big  the pieces were. I have no idea what they were coated in, but it was probably the best fried chicken coating I’ve ever had. Flavours of amazing. They were also nice and crispy without being as oily as most other fried chicken I’ve had, which was another tick for me. And tender, white, juicy chicken. Trifecta.

The burger ($12) was a 120g grass fed beef affair, housed in a brioche bun, with double cheese, onion, mustard and pickles. My only fault with this was the excessive onion (which meant I couldn’t have more than a couple of little bites), which is no fault of the burger, but of my own stomach’s inability to handle fructose. Otherwise, fantastic cheeseburger. Perfectly seasoned patty, buttery delicious brioche bun, lots of tangy pickles, and all of the melty, molten cheese. Loved it!

They’re open daily from noon, and tonight they’re open until 10pm. Dinner sorted!


Juanita Peaches Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: Longhorn Saloon, Melbourne (American)

Longhorn Saloon
118 Elgin St, Carlton


The husband made it through another birthday last week. And while he doesn’t like to celebrate it, he does very much like good American BBQ, so (much like my birthday) we had a bit of an unbirthday dinner at Longhorn. Another brain child of the Balleau (Le Bon Ton) family, it’s got that gorgeous Southern feel to it, which was only helped along by the awesome playlist of Rebirth Brass Band and Trombone Shorty, that homely decor and the loveliest staff.


The birthday boy chose a few dishes to share and we sang along to Trombone and reminisced about the good times we’d had in New Orleans while we waited (which wasn’t very long). First up were the fried chicken tenders with a cheddar biscuit & cracked pepper white gravy, The chicken was crazy good – tender, white flesh coated in the most delicious crunchy coating. Plus a fluffy biscuit and creamy gravy; it’s really good stuff, and the birthday boy’s favourite.


Next up was the 5 Points Deli Brisket Reuben (on dark rye, with corned brisket, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing). It was one of the biggest sandwiches I’ve ever seen, and the brisket was delicious, especially the rendered, melty fat pockets in there. There was probably a bit much sauerkraut and dressing for my liking, so I pulled mine apart and ate all the meaty goodness. And the pickle was unreal.


Last up was the Le Bon Ton Cheeseburger (Wagyu beef patty, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, spicy ketchup, aioli), which I really liked. Good choice with the iceberg lettuce which kept things crunchy, perfectly cooked bacon with molten cheese on top – it’s what you want in a cheeseburger.


The service was quick and super friendly, the food was delicious, the setting was gorgeous, the tunes were on point – it was the perfect unbirthday dinner  : )  And if you can make it through another Monday today, you can treat yourself to dinner there tomorrow night!


Longhorn Saloon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Burgers & gelati! Eat here: The Beer & Burger Bar and Pidapipó, Melbourne

Summer in Melbourne. The perfect time of year to pull up a seat outside with a few friends and enjoy some good food. Burgers and gelati in particular scream Melbourne summer to me, and we’re blessed with some amazing options 🙂 These are two I tried for the first time this summer, and would definitely recommend adding them to your list, too…


The Beer and Burger Bar
112 Swan St, Richmond

I’d heard plenty about this place, but had never managed to make it in – Richmond isn’t the easiest area to get in and out of at peak times, so I generally avoid it. But, a few weeks ago I had a new tattoo added to my collection at Good Luck Tattoo in Richmond, and I decided that after a couple of hours under the needle, a nice, big burger was in order. A few minutes walk later, and I was finally ready to try this popular burg. I went with the cheeseburger – brioche bun with a beef pattie, cheese, tomato sauce, Dijon mustard, gherkins and aioli. Plus bacon. Obviously.

The buttery brioche bun was perfect for this kind of burger, toasted just enough to help hold it together against all the sauces and juicy pattie. And it was a juicy one – perfectly cooked to medium-rare, still pink inside. The cheese was just right and melted all over, bacon nice and crisp, but not the point of being like cardboard. The trio of Dijon, ketchup and aioli were on point, and to be perfectly honest, there’s really nothing I can complain about with this burger. It was really fantastic, much better than I expected it to be!

The Beer and Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Other burgers worth your calories this summer are:
– 1090
– Beatbox Kitchen
– Burger Boys
– Chew
– Easey’s
– Grand Trailer Park Taverna
– Huxtaburger
– Laurie Dees
– Mr Scruff’s
– Rockwell & Sons


Then, after a burger, you need dessert. And it’s gelati weather right now.

299 Lygon St, Carlton

I can’t believe I didn’t make it here last summer… To be fair, though, I did spend just over half of summer on the other side of the world, but it’s been a long time coming getting here. Lisa Valmorbida’s proper Italian gelateria came after years of experience in some of Melbourne’s best restaurants, a solid education at Carpigiani Gelati University, and a visit to her family’s home town in Vicenza, Italy, to eat real gelato with her Nonno. What she’s doing at Pidapipó (the name comes from a childhod game her Nonno made up to keep the kids entertained) is amazing, genuine, honest Italian gelati, and it’s phenomenal. I visited during cheese week, where they had their amazing formaggio flavour range available – three unique cheese-flavoured gelati, because Italians love cheese… and gelati!

Available flavours were:
– Parmesan, fig and honey
– Ricotta, cannoli and Nutella swirl
– and the one I knew I had to have, mascarpone, berry and biscuit crumble


Silky smooth, with just the right amount of mascarpone to remind you that there was in fact cheese in there. The berries and biscuit crumbles added the perfect sweetness and texture, and it showcased 100% the originality Lisa is bringing to the gelati game. This is the stuff Italians dream off, it’s worth lining up for, and it’s something you need to experience this summer.

Pidapipó Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Other ice cream to get your sticky paws into:
– Billy Van Creamy
– Dex2Rose Nitrogen Gelato
– Gelato Messina
– Il Melograno


While the sun is still shining, go grab a burger and ice cream, and enjoy the last few days of 2015! Hopefully most of you get the change to do that instead of being back at work this morning like me  >_<

Eat here: Easey’s, Melbourne (burgers)

48 Easey St, Collingwood, Melbourne

Burgers. I love ’em. You know this. I’ve eaten many and have high standards.

Easey’s have been all up in my Instagram feed for so long now, their burgers looked so good, and I SO wanted to love them…


I had a burger craving the other week. Favourite 1090 was still off the grid after having some truck issues, so we kept on going past Rucker’s Hill towards Collingwood. We decided to try Easey’s for 2 reasons: afore mentioned social media food porn, and proximity to Messina for dessert (the burger was probably gonna make me unwell anyway, may as well have lactose, too!)


We rolled up around 6pm on a Friday night, and it was already packed – we got a seat on the second floor (I so wanted to sit in the rooftop trains 😦 damn!), and ordered quickly, being pretty hungry. The wait time was actually very civilized for such a busy Friday night, only 20 minutes or so.

Husband ordered the Rowdy Double Cheeseburger (double beef, double American cheese, bacon, jalapenos, pickles, onion, ketchup and mustard):



I went with the Easey Cheesy (just the one patty with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, ketchup, mustard and mayo):



They looked SO good. Don’t they look lovely? And they were. But they were missing something which neither of us could put our fingers on. Individually, everything was great! Patties cooked medium, tick. Great choice of cheese, properly melted, tick. Appropriately crispy bacon, tick. Condiment selection, tick. It was all there, it should have been magic. But there were no fireworks… Don’t get me wrong, Easey’s does make a good burger (upon reflection, I’m thinking I wasted space with the lettuce and tomato and should have gone the double; the extra cheese and meat and bacon in lieu of healthy stuff may have helped..)! But for all the hype that came with it, I expected a little more… I think that’s one of the biggest social media dangers for food lovers – maybe my opinion would have been a little different without the expectations!

We also ordered a side of chips with Changz perrinaise (so good!) and deep fried chicken bites. Perfectly done chips, happy days, but that chicken was the real winner – super tender and juicy inside, golden crispy perfection outside. LOVED these!


Collingwood has been inundated with burger options of late, so it’s a little hard to know where to go for the next one. Personally, I’d probably be more inclined to try Mr Scruff’s or go back for another Rockwell before returning to Easey’s, but I most likely will return – I want to try the double. And the potato cakes. Still kicking myself for missing that on the menu before ordering.


Click to add a blog post for Easey's on Zomato

My Burger Manifesto – what makes a great burger and my (current) top 10

There was a lot of chatter among the world’s burger aficionados when Momofuku mastermind Dave Change released his burger manifesto last week. I absolutely love this adorably dimpled evil genius and all he does, and if his crack pie didn’t win me over, his inappropriate banter with other insane favourite Anthony Bourdain during their trip to Crif Dogs and his adventures on the first season of The Mind of a Chef certainly did. The man knows his shit, he’s got a brilliant food mind, and he just seems like the kind of dude I’d want to hang out with over a few drinks.

All that said, back to his burger manifesto; it really got me thinking about my own burger manifesto, were I to write one. It’s something that I’ve thought about time and time again, and discussed ad nauseam with my favourite and most trusted burger buddy, the husband (though it must be said that we don’t always agree on what makes a perfect burger).

Chang’s manifesto can be summed up as follows (though I do recommend taking 5 minutes to read the lot):
“My ideal burger is bun, cheese, burger. Sometimes bacon. Ketchup on the side, so I can control it. Pickles—yes! Obviously. And the cheese thing has to be very clear: American cheese only.”
1. I do not like a burger with a bunch of shit on it.
2. I’m not a fan of salad on my burger (he refers to lettuce, tomato and onion here, stating the only acceptable lettuce is iceberg)
3. Another thing that’s a no-no on a hamburger is mustard – ketchup only
4. No pita bread or brioche as a bun
5. Grass-fed beef does not make burgers, in my opinion (he says that it’s too lean and fat content isn’t evenly distributed. Wagyu also a no-no because fat content is too high, around 70%
6. Australians fuck up burgers by putting fried eggs and tinned beetroot on them
7. A  medium-rare burger made with really good meat that has been properly ground up is a very wonderful thing

His final disclaimer being:
Do as I say, not as I do. When you catch me eating one of these kinds of burgers that I have spoken against, please know that I am the ultimate hypocrite and that I am probably enjoying the shit out of it. Hamburgers are pretty much all good.


Honestly, I agree with most of that. I especially agree with the fried egg and beetroot thing being a scourge on society. Syrupy, sticky tinned beetroot and a dry, overdone fried egg. It ain’t right. Other things I disagree with. Mustard on a burger is a fine thing (providing you use the right type of mustard, obviously). Anyway, time to compare; this is what my burger manifesto looks like comparatively…


My Burger Manifesto

1. Bun: I don’t care what anyone says, I like a brioche bun. Not the super sugary ones you find in the Bread Top bakeries (they do have their place, but it’s not holding my burger), just a regular, standard brioche. As long as it’s been toasted a little first on the cut sides – fresh brioche buns fall to mushy piles of crap when they’re holding a solid, juicy, greasy burger and they haven’t been toasted first. And if it’s a regular burger bun, that’s fine too, providing it’s actually fresh, fluffy and lightly toasted.

2. Beef: I’m not going to pretend to know the finer points of butchery and beef – I just want really good quality beef (and you CAN taste the difference between good quality and freshly ground versus frozen and defrosted supermarket quality crap), I want it to be a good thickness, and I want it cooked medium-rare. It needs to be a little juicy and pink when it’s bitten into. My only real exception to this rule is a smash patty a la Rockwell and Sons – I absolutely love the charred bits on the outside of the patty. If I’m going with the thinner smash patties though, my burger then needs to be a double instead of a regular single thick patty. Best case scenario is a single thick patty that’s a little charred from the grill and STILL pink and juicy on the inside. And just a bit of salt and pepper to season it, thanks.

3. Meat-to-bun ratio: This is an important point of contention to me, and it’s an absolute must to get right. I don’t want all this extra bread at the end, nor do I want my burger innards flailing about all naked with not enough cover half way through.

4. Condiments: I like the trinity of ketchup, American mustard and mayo, in relatively equal proportion, and not too much (ie. not dripping all over the place and pooling in the plate half way through). And if I can get Kewpie mayo instead of regular mayo, I’m a really happy girl.

5. Salads: Lettuce – not a necessity, but if you are going to use it, make it crispy cos or iceberg, or just don’t bother. No one likes warm, limp, wilted lettuce. Tomato – one of two slice, but not too thick. Onion – I like a few thin slices of raw red onion, but a nice pile of caramelised onion certainly has it’s place as well. If you are using caramelised onion, though, don’t use the lettuce or tomato.

6. Cheese: Make it sturdy but melty. American cheese, pepperjack, Kraft singles, that’s all good. Don’t get all fancy and use blue cheese, Havarti, fior di latte or anything like that. Just no. And for the love of all things good, make sure it is melted all over that patty – there is nothing more disappointing than getting a burger with unmelted cheese!!!

7. Additions: Bacon and pickles. That bacon had better be browned off and a little crispy (read: not still soft and pink, not burnt to a blackened crisp), and the pickles need to be sliced thinly enough so as not to make the burger any harder to eat than necessary (no little cute whole pickles, just sliced ones, like your tomato). I wholeheartedly agree that the beetroot and fried egg is completely shit. The only burger I’ve ever eaten with an egg was at Au Cheval, and it was gently cooked so that the yolk spilt out and acted as a sauce. That was magical perfection, but if it’s not like that, don’t add the egg. Especially if it’s one of those backyard BBQ, chalky overcooked yolk, overly oily from sitting on the grill for an hour eggs. That’s nasty.

8. Burger VS Sandwich: If it’s fried chicken (it’s very delicious, but) it’s not a burger. If it’s pulled pork (as much as I love this stuff), it’s not a burger. If it’s made from tofu or mushroom or lentils, it’s not a burger. Those are sandwiches, and lots of them are perfectly lovely. But if it’s not centered around a beef patty, it is absolutely and unequivocally NOT A BURGER!

9. General feel: This may sound strange, but to have that certain je ne sais quoi, it’s gotta just be a bit of a hot dirty, greasy, juicy mess. When I’m holding onto that lightly toasted bun with a big juicy meat patty, nestled between crispy bacon and melted cheese and all the rest of it, I don’t want it to be nice and clean. It should be a little messy. It should be oily and greasy. It should give me reason to lick my fingers as I go. It should cause the paper holding it to turn a little translucent. I’m not saying I want the thing dipped in grease and deep fried but I also don’t want it all neat and tidy; it’s hard to explain, but if you get what I mean, you’ll probably get why it’s a big deciding factor on what, to me, constitutes a really great burger. If I want clean eating, I’ll get the salad.

So I guess that’s it. That’s my burger manifesto. And much like David Chang, you’ll almost certainly find me eating other burgers that don’t entirely fit that bill, and I’ll do so happily with greasy cheese smeared over my freckled face and bright yellow mustard staining my sleeves. Because burgers, for the most part, are good.

But some are better than others. And I’d know; I’ve eaten a disturbing amount in my time. Allow me to now take a moment to pay homage to what I currently rate as my top 10, in order of favouritism, as of July 2015 (review excepts below, click the link to go to the full review) …


1. The 1090 with bacon from 1090, Melbourne


With beautiful looking burgers come high expectations, and I’ve lost count of the amount of pretty burgers I’ve eaten that have tasted like crap, so I tried not to get my hopes up. Totally unnecessarily so. This was the burger of my dreams. It was all the best parts of my favourite burgers combined. The holy trinity of mustard, mayo and ketchup was perfectly proportioned, and didn’t lead to soggy buns (thankfully, because the burger bun was perfectly soft with just enough crispness to hold it together). Flavour of the beef was just about perfect, cheese was melted magnificently and the bacon was crisp and so very good. Just the right amount of lettuce and tomato, and I know it seems like a random point, but best onion I’ve had in any burger. I don’t know what it was or where it came from, I just know it was several types of delicious.


2. The Manly burger from Umami, Los Angeles


The Manly was another level of burger, and any time we discuss our top 5 burgers ever, The Manly is ALWAYS up there. Just think about it – perfectly booked pattie. Brioche bun. Crispy, golden onion rings. Chunky bacon cooked in fat to bring out a bacon flavour I didn’t know existed. And melted cheese. Seriously. Nothing more needs to be said about this burger; it’s as close to the perfect burger as I think I’ve ever had. Those bacon lardons… omg…


3. The double patty smash burger from Rockwell & Sons, Melbourne


Bun – perfect, buttery, toasty enough to hold it all it sans sog, soft enough to melt on your mouth.
Special sauce – really f#^$@ng special. Really.
Kraft cheese – historically my cheese of choice on home made burgers. Couldn’t have been happier!
Patties – this smashed patty business is something else (google it – I had to!). Crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside, perfectly seasoned for my liking.


4. The Raph from Beatbox, Melbourne


They’re plain, simple, and the flavour of the patties are flawless.


5. Double cheeseburger with egg from Au Cheval, Chicago


A perfectly toasted bun help the double pattie and cheese business on one end, and a creamy aioli-like sauce, chopped raw red onion, pickles and a perfectly fried and soft-yolked, chive-sprinkled egg on the other. Meat was perfectly cooked and seasoned with a little crust happening and a still-pink centre. Good bun-to-pattie ratio, great cheese, and the egg yolk was the best sauce you never knew you needed with it.


6. The Original from 5 Napkin Burger, New York City


I’m stoked I ordered it medium rare; cooked to absolute perfection and made all the difference in taking it from a good burger to a great one. The gruyere and caramelised onion were perfect accompaniments, and just the right amount of aioli. Couldn’t fault this one bit; it was a surprisingly amazing burger.


7. Bad Boy Burger from Bad Boys, Melbourne


I was absolutely stoked to discover the promise of “crispy” bacon was not actually an empty one, like so many burgers I’ve had before. Crispy bacon usually ends up being half-cooked, barely browned bacon. This bacon was genuine crispy, and it was GOOD! The burger pattie itself was fantastic, one of the best I’ve had, actually! The outside of the patties were crispy and had a great charred flavour, the insides were still pink and a perfect medium-rare.


8. Double Laurie Dee with bacon from Laurie Dees, Melbourne


The double smash patties were perfect, they had the best charred crust, and were all sorts of greasy delicious. The addition of the bacon was the best decision of the night, it was actually crispy, and the Special D sauce was similar to the Big Mac special sauce, but a whole lot better!


9. The Chew from Chew Burgers, Melbourne


My burger was bloody fantastic, but did require several (5 in total) napkins for the extreme juice factor. The patty was soft enough to crumble when you bit it, but held together really well, and had a simple but really nice flavour. Great burger patty-to-bun ratio, and the bun was really nicely toasted, so it really didn’t go soggy (amazing feat considering the juiciness!!). Simple but delicious and noticeably fresh accompaniments of lettuce and tomato, and the aioli was unreal.


10. The Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger from Wendy’s, San Bruno (San Francisco)


Finally, this one I actually never blogged, and it was completely unexpected, but dear God this abomination was DELICIOUS and I still think of it oh so fondly…


Special mentions to Burger Boys, Huxtaburger, Grand Trailer Park Taverna, Le Bon Ton (cheeseburger not included in this review),  Nieuw Amsterdam (cheeseburger not included in this review), and Shake Shack, all of which are absolutely fantastic burgers. I think next time I do this it’ll have to be a top 20… it’s like choosing between children..

Inclusions on my current “to eat” list include Mr Scruffs, 8bit, Lazerpig off the top of my head – more suggestions are invited!! Anyone else care to share their burger manifesto and/or top 10?!