This is not my first visit to Dandenong Pavilion. Interestingly, when I sat down in front of the menu, I was convinced that the burger I had on my first visit was no longer there. I thought it had been a standard cheeseburger, as per my rules. Apparently the rules weren’t in play in March, or possibly there was no such choice to be had. Disappointment.
These guys are rightly proud of their reputation. They have enjoyed serious acclaim from burger lovers and bloggers from Melbourne, regularly featuring on best burger lists. They weren’t afraid to point this out when presenting the menu either. There are 4 choices on their “secret” burger menu, and I chose the General. I now realise this is the same choice I made 7 months ago.
The presentation of the burger has changed slightly. The chips now come in a cup, but still feature the seasoning – this doesn’t add much flavour, and seriously messes up your hands. Otherwise things are pretty much status quo. The 2 patties are almost spot on. Perhaps a tad overcooked, but the taste and texture really hit the spot for me. This makes me happy. Otherwise, the burger is an average experience. The pickles were chopped. Sauces were a nice combination of ketchup and mustard. There was a neat layer of jalapenos below the patties, which were not really needed for my mind. Would have preferred if they had been substituted for lettuce and tomato.
Which leads me nicely into my main whinge: no standard cheeseburger. A big omission here. Instead they have opted for some more “gourmet” choices including such items as Swiss cheese, truffle mayo, horseradish sauce, or black Russian tomato. No way Jose! This is one area where their sister outlet – Grand Trailer Park Taverna – has got the burger game nailed: simplicity. The Dandenong experience has been “upmarketed” with some fancy stuff, perhaps to justify charging $21.50. In the end a solid experience – with near perfect patties – made all the more sweet by the fact that it was paid for by work.
It should be noted that I came here with a couple of international visitors – NZ’ers. I was a little embarrassed when Phil suggested we take our business visitors for a burger lunch, but they politely agreed. Due to the seductive nature of my burger obsession, those around me are naturally joining the craze. Not only that, often they insist that we go for burgers, despite my protestations. I’m not sure whether this is because my friends think that I would only be happy in a burger joint; or, whether they genuinely want to eat burgers with me? Either way I feel a little guilty. But, I get over it pretty quickly…