Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Uncle Joe's (Perth)

Today’s burger adventure saw a rag tag crew of burger lovers venture down to Uncle Joe’s Mess Hall in Perth’s CBD. Uncle Joe’s also doubles as a barber and is responsible for some of the freshest (and most expensive) salads that Perth has ever seen (the irony of this is explained below). The burger of choice was Uncle Joe’s Angus Beef Burger.

(not our photo - hence, the chips)

The patty was a bit like Steph Curry in the NBA Finals – it had all the talent to put the series away but came up short when it needed to be the MVP. How about you take a unanimous seat over there Steph and have a good hard unanimous look at yourself. But I digress. The burger struck me as something which was not hand made in that it had that hockey puck shape which is typically indicative of a burger straight from the packet. But the flavour was reasonable (a bit of extra herbage may have helped) and was cooked perfectly.

The bun was the highlight of the show for mine. When it came out I instantly thought I was in for an uber sweet brioche but it was actually a pretzel style bread and had the perfect amount of crust on the outside whilst maintaining the fluffy inside. The size of the bun in proportion to the patty was spot on such that burger management was never an issue. Although it does say a little something about the burger that the side kick, being the bun, was the star of the show – call it Draymond.

The salads on the burger were virtually none existent apart from a few sprigs of rocket – call them Harrison Barnes. Whilst the salads are not the main guy on the team, you notice their lack of presence if they go missing (2 for 20 from the field in games 5 and 6 – good luck in free agency young fella). I must admit that I was slightly disappointing that the most prevalent salads at Uncle Joe’s were situated on the scalps of the customers of Uncle Joe’s Barbers. Also of note, Uncle Joe’s employed the recently favoured technique of deconstructing the burger by serving a dollop of mayo, a pickle and a teaspoon of salsa on the side. This doesn’t do much for me. Just plonk this stuff on the burger and get on with it.

The sauce combination was actually very effective – with the aforementioned mayo and a delightful seeded mustard. The use of seeded mustard is quite seldom but given it goes smashingly well with a steak then it makes sense that it would go well with a burger. The benefit of the seeded mustard is the vinegar content and its ability to cut through and neutralise the char on the burger which can be overpowering if not done well – call the sauce combo Iggy.   

There is not much I can write about the chips because there weren’t any. Just a small section of grilled corn which played a role but not what was needed in the circumstances – call the lack of chips the “King Flopper” Anderson Varejao.

Overall, the burger worked quite well as a whole but was missing a piece or two to get the job done. The burger has been talked up big time and to add to this, every hipster and his dog is now on the Uncle Joe’s fresh-cut salad bandwagon (just like everyone is on the Steph Curry bandwagon – although a few people have unanimously left that train of recent times).

In light of the above, I am coining this burger the 2016 Golden State Warriors burger. Ironically, the architect of the Golden State Warriors is a guy by the name of Joe Lacob. Perhaps he owns Uncle Joe’s. Illuminati shit right there.

Score - 36

The Reveley (Perth)

Much like Sam Smith’s feeble attempt at a “Bond song” the writing was well and truly on the wall well before we ventured down to The Reveley located at Perth’s new Elizabeth Quay.

To start with, it was the first day of 2016 where it actually rained in Perth. Given this typically occurs only 10 times a year over in the West, it was an early sign that it was going to be a tough day out there for this young player. (For those Melbournians reading this review, the writer appreciates that just surviving New Years Day without rain is cause for celebration over East, nonetheless we weren’t happy with the rain in our parade even if it was the end of April).

The Reveley opened to much fanfare down at Betty’s Jetty and being the second CBD establishment of the owners of Stables Bar, this burger enthusiast had high hopes. The three storey venue is a great addition to the Perth foreshore and when the deserted Quay finally has a tenant or two it is sure to attract regular crowds on a Friday night for a cheeky frothy.

The burger served was a Wagyu Beef burger with bacon and a side of chips for the not so poultry sum of $26.

Unlike the writer of our previous review, this writer is not going to indulge in a selfish ego boosting monologue about whether or not bacon belongs on a burger. This writer acknowledges that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and those who are of the opinion that a burger requires bacon are simply wrong.

With that out of the way our attention is turned to the burger itself, initially the rating received was slightly higher than that which was landed on as some members of the voting panel made revisions to their scoring when the burger had failed to properly digest a number of hours later.

Starting with the biggest gripe of the reviewers – the patty. Advertising a Wagyu Beef patty is a sure fire way to get this lad salivating at the prospect of a big, juicy and fresh meat patty. The false advertising here was much like Coles’ attempt at “Fresh Baked Bread”. It may have contained some form of Wagyu beef but sourcing the patty from the Coles frozen food section and then serving it up at a fine establishment like this saw the ratings heading “down down” right from the start.

The bun was of sound size and freshness, and while the Bun should never steal the limelight in “The Burger Show” when the Melbourne Stars take the field, it certainly would help if there was a little bit of Cameron White excitement (e.g. some charcoal toasting) to add some flavour to the match. (A shout out to the hipster of hipster’s – The Big Show, who was kind enough to make time in his schedule to join us for this review).

The salads were a bit of a non-event – staying with the cricket theme here they were a bit like Luke Ronchi, promising so much on paper with the suggestion of some dill pickle and caramelised onions but falling for a duck with a forward defence that leaves a mighty big gap between bun and patty. Some advice is offered at this point: wash and dry the lettuce (especially if its iceberg). I guess the expensive fitout left the owners short of enough cash to invest in a salad spinner. Or maybe it was all invested in maintaining a fresh salad atop James Faulkner’s mug.

The caramelised onion was however a great addition, and the pickles good (although lacking in quantity). Those reviewers who appreciate bacon in the burger did comment that the maple smoked bacon was a good addition and could be great if given a little more love.

Finally, it was the lack of sauces which resulted in an expensive last 5 overs for The Reveley. It was always going to be an uphill battle when you’re taken out of the attack after starting the over with 3 full bungas from Dirk Nannes and forget the Mustard. But to replace it with Michael Beer who without any discernible turn (or in this case mayo or tomato sauce) meant it was going to be a very boring finish to the match.

The saving grace for this burger was the chips. Coming in at the end of a long batting line-up to save the day like David Hussey, the fries were crispy and well coated in salt with solid aioli and tomato dipping sauces. They simply did the job in terms of quantity and got enough runs on the board to put forward a competitive total.

Overall, this burger was a big let-down for a venue that promises so much. I should note that before signing off there were some members at the table who were very satisfied with their crumbed whiting fish and chips – a dish that this reviewer is known to get just a tad excited about from time to time.

Given the good looks, significant hype and advertising one cannot help but be reminded of Jack Watts when reflecting on this burger. Like the Melbourne coaching staff we are torn by the promise of the talent displayed by the owners at Stables Bar in the reserves (e.g. the 2008 Under 18s) but since making it onto the big stage the pressure seems to have become too much to handle. Let’s hope that The Reveley doesn’t take 8 years to find its way like our mate Jack who has only now decided in 2016 to get those fingernails dirty and win his own ball every now and again.

Score - 29.4