Meat in the Middle

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I’ve been so busy lately that I’m struggling to keep up with the posts. Not too busy to eat burgers though. Just happened to be driving past Glen Waverley, and remembered that I had seen Meat in the Middle on a previous burger adventure.

I’m not sure whether this can be classed as a proper burger. They have cheated a little, by adding pork to the patty. It was served very pink – which I love – and the flavour was pretty good, I must admit. There is a lot going on here, and the maple bacon is a clear standout in this combination. Disappointingly, for such a large burger, the white bread bun struggled to hold it all in check. Another case of a good looking bun, that doesn’t back it up with the substance. There was a significant mess at the end of this session.

The pricing is right up there on the expensive side, although the care that was put into the preparation was evident. The menu was lacking a little for me. The choices were confusing. There was nothing simple. And the silly names were hard to remember when ordering (the menu was not easily visible from the order point).

I did really enjoy this. And I was really hungry at the time. I would definitely never actively try to stop someone from coming here for a burger, but there is something way more special down the road that will draw me in next time: YOMG.

Meat in the Middle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Burgerpalooza

Menu

Only a true fan of burgers would make a trip to Sydney for the sole purpose of attending a burger festival. Perhaps I’m not that big of a fan, because this was more of an excuse to catch up with my brother’s family.

There are two things that are closely associated with Uncle Kris in my nephews minds: burgers and beer. This festival had both, so it was the perfect foil for a visit. To prepare myself for an assault on the six burger vendors, I went out for a 2 hour MTB ride with my brother the day before. Gotta burn dem calories!

There were some suggestions from the organisers that you could try all six of the burgers on offer. Although they were smaller than your average burger, I had to stop myself after three. Even then I was feeling pretty full hours later. Given three burgers was pretty much the goal from the outset, I was pretty happy with my efforts.

So, the three burgers:

  1. “The Don” from Pub Life Kitchen

Pub Life Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

“14 day salt aged beef, black garlic and truffle aioli, American cheese, McClures pickles on a sesame bun”

This was a good start to the burger festival, although I think the description kind of oversold this creation. Seemed to be paying off for them though, as they were easily the busiest at the time of ordering. Great pickles, cheese and meat combo. Pity the black salt and truffles really didn’t shine through.

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2. “Old Boy” from Milk Bar by Cafe Ish

Milk Bar by Cafe Ish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

“Beef pattie, American cheddar, Bulgogi pork belly, kimchi, old boy sauce, crispy shallots on a sesame bun”

This one takes my award for the burger of the day – although I didn’t get to try them all. So much going on. The kimchi didn’t have too much funk, and it packed enough chili punch to be packed with flavour. the Bulgogi pork belly was delicious. I guess the only criticism would be that the burger didn’t really shine. There was a short burst of heavy rain just before I ordered this one. As they were running a production line of burgers to keep up with demand, the burger and cheese weren’t quite hot when I ate this one. But still, it was agreed that this was a clear winner on the day.

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3. “Son of Cock Fighter” from Bare Grill

Bare Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

“Southern fried chicken, guacamole, lettuce, cheese, bacon and big bare sauce”

The line was massive for this one. Although not a true burger (chicken “sandwich” is more accurate), this was a mighty popular choice. Perhaps they were too busy, as this was clearly the worst of the day. Too much sauce, and the whole thing was too hard to eat, slipping and sliding all over the place until it was just a mess in my hand. Failed on so many counts. Sorry, but low marks for this effort.

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I did wonder how a burger festival would go. I have been to beer festivals before. They make sense, as you can definitely taste many different beers. And they tend to give you small portions of each one to allow even more tastings. The burgers here were smaller than average, but still too big to be able to try all six on offer. I stuffed myself to a point beyond comfortable to get three in. That said, I love the concept, and the low entry price kind of made up for it. Given the popularity of the event, the organisers would be crazy to not do another one. I’m all for it!

The others:

“Lil Chester”

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“Baoburgers”

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Mum’s Burger Kitchen

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I’d seen Mum’s Burger Kitchen quite a few times in the short space of time since it’s opening. It is nestled in a small shopping complex in Boronia, right near Dan Murphy’s. Based on the name and the area, I’d decided that this probably wasn’t somewhere I would be rushing to visit. Oh how wrong I was!

There has been some social media love going round for this new burger joint all the way out in outer east suburbia. The location may be a little confusing, but the burgers are not. I think the presentation says a lot about how much care goes in to the preparation of the burger, and this place makes a pretty picture on that wooden board.

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Based on the reviews I had seen, the “Pamela” seemed to be the way to go. Yes, there are two patties on board, but it didn’t look that big in the photos. Oh, how wrong I was. This is one massive burger!

The taste is amazing; let’s get that sorted from the get-go. Good ingredients make for a great experience. I’ve no doubt that the effort that goes into the presentation is equally matched by the effort to source and prepare the vital elements of the burgers. The brioche was soft, buttery, a little sweet, and delicious. It somehow managed to hold those plentiful ingredients in check. Maple bacon is a must to add to your burger. Do not go to Mum’s without adding the maple bacon. Divine.

Patties are monsters. Two is overkill. It was really difficult to keep them contained. The whole burger is way bigger than the opening in the front of my face, so attacking this beast was a challenge. Adding to the challenge was the crumbly texture of the patty. Highlights the care that must be taken in preparing these patties. Clearly little or no egg to hold them together. No fillers. Just meat and seasoning. Burgers done the right way. Perhaps a little more kneading work to help the proteins bind the mix would have held them together better, but I like the way they are thinking here.

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After scoffing the lot, I realised that perhaps the “Bob” with it’s single patty was more my speed. Not that I was disappointed with the Pamela. Just it was so big! Boronia, you have upped your burger game immeasurably. Let’s hope that the locals support this new business so I can keep coming back for more.

Mum's Burger Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Saki Souvlaki

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It’s near work, so why the hell not. Never one to expect much in the area (Moorabbin Airport), but always hopeful, we ventured here to check out what was going on. Word on the street is that the brioche is a recent innovation here, which is definitely something I like. Not sure about their eagerness to describe it as “Artisan,” but we’ll give it a go anyway.

There are some interesting things going on here for sure. For instance “Saki’s Brutal Death Sauce” is on offer for those that dare.  This burger joint also suffers from the inclusion of a burger challenge if you’re into that kind of thing. They certainly attracted a very hungry lunchtime crowd, and they were quite busy.

There are a few issues I have with this burger. The patty, at 200g, is a little too big for my liking. It was a little chewy, like it had been overworked, or perhaps it was made in a factory – God forbid. The cheese tasted a bit plastic. The red onion was a little too strong. And someone please explain to me why you would want to put honey mustard mayo on a burger?

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Overall, it was a decent effort. Nothing special. Would I go here again? Perhaps not. Coffee was on the average side of acceptable. Wait times were too long. The burger was too big for lunch. And the burger journey rolls on…

Saki Souvlaki Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Wonky Trolley

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Some considerable time has passed since my last burger, and I felt it was right to “come back” in the best way possible. Ok, so a couple of weeks is not the longest hiatus from burgers one can imagine, but you can feel I’m building a layer of excuses here, ready for something big!

I broke all the rules on my trip to Wonky Trolley. Keen observers will have already picked this from the photo. It’s staring you in the face. That double hit of cheese, barely covering up the 2 beef patties sandwiched between the bun.

Normally I would stick to my simple cheeseburger, single patty, with salad rule on a trip to a new burger joint. But a few recent fails have made me question that rule. Perhaps a review of the rules are in order. My Changz Canteen experience was ruined by the rules. That burger was never designed with salad inside. And, I get that it was all my fault. So now, perhaps this is the dawn of a new paradigm in burger selection. Enter the “3051” at Wonky Trolley…

Whilst I may not be able to make a direct comparison with most of my other burger experiences, I do feel justified in my choice, as this was an exceptional burger. The meat was a standout here. No surprise really, as there was twice as much of it. But these guys nailed the beef flavour I am looking for. Some nice caramelised flavours from the grill on the outside, with a creamy, pink centre. The cheese was in plentiful supply, but complemented, rather than overpowering the meat. Another nice complement was the condiment. The mayo sauce had a subtle spiciness that crept in after the meaty hit subsided. The bun was just a passenger on this ride. A vehicle for the meaty goodness. And I don’t mind that at all.

From recent evidence, North Melbourne has strong burger game. Three Crowns Hotel nailed it a few months back, and now this. Wonder if there are any more great burger places in this fine suburb..?

Wonky Trolley Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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