Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Kermond's Hamburgers

Burger reviewed: Burger with the lot with extra cheese

Venue: Kermond's Hamburgers (Warrnambool)

Date: 22/4/2014

Today's burger adventure saw the Fellows venture down to God's Country - South-Western Victoria - to sample the burger treats at Kermond's Hamburgers. A local institution, Kermond's has been operating since 1949 and specialises in an honest-to-goodness fish and chip shop style burger which has served as the savior of many an inebriated man. Kermond's is your typical country fast food establishment with its retro coke memorabilia and large selection of spiders and thick shakes to choose from (how good are spiders?!). But we were here to sample the burger so we promptly ordered the burger with the lot with extra cheese and got ready to nosh.

The burger came out in a flash and was piping hot - in a Burger Friday first, we actually had to let this burger cool a bit before tucking into it. But I am happy to cop the second degree burns to my mouth, lips and feet (I was wearing thongs and some of the juice squirted down onto my feet when I took the first bite - I was a tad unlucky to burn myself there I thought) to know that the burger was not sitting on a bench for 15 minutes getting cold and wilted prior to delivery.

Let's break the burger down into its parts. 

The patty was thinner than a lot of the burgers we have tried in the past but it was tender, juicy and cooked well. Kermond's employ a technique used by fish and chip shop owners for generations which is to fry some brown onion into the patty during the cooking process. The sweetness of the caramelised onion shards complemented the bitterness of the charred burger patty for an opening partnership which would rival Davey Warner and Bucky Rogers - despite being on opposite ends of the flavour spectrum, somehow it just works.  

The toppings were plentiful and all played their part. The bacon was crisp, the egg was creamy and cooked to a point where the yolk still maintained its glorious ooze, and the Aussie slice of beetroot provided a hint of acidity and tang which cut through the richness of the other ingredients. I have never understood what is so quintessentially Australian about putting beetroot on a burger. The only people that harp on about beetroot on a burger being Australian seems to be the McDonald's advertising team when they reintroduce the McOz burger every six months despite it still being on the menu the entire time. Anyways. 

To be honest I imagine that not all burger enthusiasts would enjoy this burger for what it is - which is the holy grail of late night pissed food - as there were a couple of minor drawbacks that are not everyone's cup of tea. The first being the structural integrity. As the patty and the toppings were so plentiful, the bun was not big enough to contain everything meaning that the paper bag that the burger was served in was required to do the heavy lifting from a structural integrity stand point. The second gripe is the aftertaste associated with the chips. I am not sure if it is the type of oil that the chips were fried in but they had an unusual after taste (which was not dissimilar to the flavour of the animal fat on a steak or chop that has not been properly rendered). A good squeeze of Heinz Big Red was required to mask this after taste. 

Overall, the Kermond's burger is a glorious mess of comfort food made from quality country ingredients and ripping value at $18.50 with chips (I am convinced that inflation is a principle that has only been applied to Metropolitan areas). As such, we are naming this burger after another South-Western Victorian icon in Jonathan Brown. A brut of a man that is made from all the right stuff (JB's old man Brian played league footy for Fitzroy) who all 17 other AFL clubs would love to have on their list. Not to mention Jonathan Brown's known love of a beer - a Kermond's and tinny would be a match made in heaven.

If you are in the area and are looking for a good burger, look no further than Kermond's. But if you are looking for more of a foodies getaway, head down the coast to Timboon for some of the finest produce in the district. 

Score - 40/50

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Burger Bistro

Burger reviewed: The beef big smoke

Venue: Burger Bistro (Perth)

Date: 7/3/2014

The Burger Friday fellows begun their 2014 campaign by venturing to Shafto Lane in Perth's CBD to try out Burger Bistro - another one of Perth's pseudo burger chains. We promptly ordered the beef big smoke burger and hoped that the big smoke would be as flamboyant as the "big show" Glenn Maxwell, but without the annoying persona. The burger arrived in quicker than a Mitchell Johnson short ball and had the overall performance to match. But to explain the big smoke, we need to break it down into its parts. 

The patty was made from quality Western Australian ground beef and was cooked to a perfect medium. What was most pleasing was that the grill plate in the kitchen was clearly set at the appropriate temperature as the outside of the patty was charred to perfection which provided a nice bitter undertone to the burger. 

The bun was made of San Franciscan sourdough and was of high quality. Much like former San Francisco Giants Pitcher Brian Wilson, this bun had a somewhat hardened exterior but was softer on the inside. Structural integrity and burger management was a non-issue as this bun provided a structurally sound base while also adding the extra flare of that lightly sour flavour of a quality sourdough.  

The highlight of the toppings came from the perfectly crispy slice of pancetta. It provided a different texture and was a tad saltier than your traditional bacon rasher but not so much that it left you feeling thirsty. My only gripe was that there was only one slice of pancetta on the burger meaning that the gloriousness it provided was not in every bite. Some would liken the pancetta to that of Scott Gumbleton - you saw enough of it to know that it has talent but it just hasn't stayed on the park for long enough.

The big smoke used a perfectly melted slice of emmental cheese. The downfall of using emmental cheese (a variety of Swiss cheese) is that it is known as a fairly savoury cheese with very little sharpness. This meant that the subtle flavours of the cheese were overpowered by the stronger flavours of the other elements of the burger.   

The sauce of choice was a fairly run-of-the-mill BBQ sauce. Whilst this sauce did not detract from the burger, it lacked the typical smokiness of a BBQ sauce which really would have complimented the  other flavours. I recommend changing to some Masterfoods Smokey BBQ sauce - I love that stuff. I would genuinely spread it on my Weet Bix in the morning if it was socially acceptable.

The chips were crispy and plentiful for only a couple of bucks extra. However, a choice of condiments was lacking and we were forced to resort to using the chips to soak up the burger juices to add moisture. 

All in all, this was a solid burger made of the right stuff. As such, an appropriate comparison would be to former South African cricket captain Graeme Smith. A man who despite his technical deficiencies and lack of flare, will go down of one of the better cricketers in his countries history due to his consistency and fighting qualities. Much like Smith, there is elements of this burger that you would change (the sauce, Smith's slightly closed bat face whilst playing straight or his inability to open his mouth without sounding like a complete jouster), this burger is one you would want on your side before a hard days slog.

We recommend this burger if you are after a safe option. But we here at Burger Friday believe that burgers are like Pokemon - gotta eat 'em all! So maybe venture out for some obscurity.

Score - 39/50