I'm always on the lookout for a great burger. With something as simple as a hamburger, you would think that they would be easy to make, but it doesn't work out that way. I mean, how hard can it be to combine a meat patty with some salad and a bun? Plenty hard, especially when I try to make a good burger at home! I've been trying to find the best burger around and recently found a brilliant one in Brisbane (see post here) and a seriously good burger in Perth last year when I was there for Eat Drink Blog 4. Knowing that Melbourne sees itself as the food mecca of the country, I was sure I'd be able to find a great burger on my Melbourne food safari - but I only had time to fit one burger joint in, so it had to be a good one.
I had pretty much every step of our food safari worked out, except the burger place. Looking around online and trying to get a handle on where we should have visited was a little more difficult that seeking out a fine dining restaurant. We'd just been to visit the James Bond exhibition at the Melbourne Museum, which had been super, so we were in the north east of the CBD and Collingwood was nearby. Feeling pumped from looking at the gadgets and gizmos of Bond, James Bond we decided to go for a walk around from the museum and having never been to Collingwood before, thought that Huxtaburger could be the go.
I'd had another couple of burger places in mind, most notably Andrew's Hamburger, but just the name Huxtaburger sounded really cool and it seemed the goods on Urbanspoon. We were early for lunch so walked up Gertrude Street between Fitzroy and Collingwood and stumbled across a couple of interesting places. Firstly, we came across Cutler & Co, a three hat restaurant we were booked into for dinner the following night and a little further up the street, we came across a pub that had a Mr Burger pop-up. SC had heard about Mr Burger and wanted to check it out, but I'd got the idea of Huxtaburger firmly in mind and we pressed on.
We meandered around the streets of Fitzroy and then Collingwood as we slowly made our way to Huxtaburger and before too long we were walking up Smith Street and keeping an eye out for our lunch destination. We found the burger joint mainly by the seating outside, but also a large sign that said 'cold beer', and as we stepped through the front door, we were assaulted by that greasy smell that lets you know that good tucker is nearby.
There was a very short list of burgers listed out on the 'diamond' display board behind the counter and surprisingly I had more trouble deciding on what to eat than if there had been a more extensive list. With a choice of six burgers, well, five if you take away the tofu burger, I found myself almost stuck for a choice. There were only two burgers that really stood out for me and since SC had already ordered one of them, I decided that I would check out the other.
The burger that I really wanted was the Bills, which came with the standard beef pattie, mustard, mayo, tomato sauce, tomato, cheese, lettuce and pickles of a Huxtaburger but also had beetroot, egg, pineapple and bacon. The burger that was delivered was huge, I mean seriously tall and I wondered how SC would possibly get her mouth around the lot without dislocating her jaw. The bread bun was soft and sweet, perhaps a little too sweet and the cheese was melted wonderfully over the meat pattie and was dripping slowly onto the plate. After a few serious attempts at eating the burger and getting about a third of the burger down, SC had to give up. It was just too messy, and pretty much fell apart. There were some good flavours in the burger, the meat pattie was seasoned well but there were too many sauces on the burger which made it a bit unpleasant to eat.
I went a different rout with my burger and went for a double pattie bad boy called the Theo, which had double beef, double bacon and double cheese, as well as lettuce and tomato and smothered in BBQ sauce. Again the burger came out looking huge, with lots of melting cheese just oozing all over the place. By the look of it, I thought I was really going to enjoy the burger and after the first bite, I actually thought it was great. However, this was one of those items that got worse with every bite. The cheese became overpowering and the BBQ sauce and mayo just started to take over the taste of the burger. I also found the meat patties to be over cooked, which gave it a bit of a burnt flavour. I have a real preference for meat patties to be cooked medium rare in a burger.
This was one of those situations where you have ordered something and get halfway through and realise you are not going to finish. We both gave our burgers a good crack, but in the end we just didn't like them so much.
There is no doubt that the little burger joint in Collingwood had a great little vibe, in a kind or rough-around-the-edges way but there needs to be a whole lot more going on for it to be a hit. I've come to have high expectations after our trip to NYC and all the great burger places there (see post here). There is a real art to making a hamburger and while it sounds easy, it's actually very difficult to get the balance of flavours and ingredients right. In the case of our Huxtaburger experience, the burgers just didn't measure up.
|The two burgers were massive and looked pretty good - that was until we started to munch on them|
|Maybe the beer was better?|
|We left most of our burgers behind|
|Diamonds seemed to be the theme - I guess black and white is |
appropriate for a Collingwood burger joint?