The humble hamburger has seen a great renaissance over the past couple of years – not that it ever went away. The new wave of burgers are a breed apart from their mass-produced forebears – organic, free-range patties, golden brioche buns, house-made pickles and flavour to spare. One constant is these delicious meals can be held in your two hands. Do you want fries with that? Of course, you do.
There seems to be a trend away from old school burgers to burgers that incorporate more gourmet and quality ingredients. The trend is away from the huge burger to something almost stylish and smaller – yet packs a punch.
Do you prefer nouveau burgers or traditional burger?
Here are Melbourne’s ultimate burgers, plus a recommendation for vegetarians who don’t want to miss out on the fun. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to summon your stretchy pants.
The creators of Changz Hot Sauce are now slinging burgers after making it big in burger joints around Australia.
Burgers aren’t crazy monstrosities that make for impossible eating, but perfectly charred, medium-rare and without tomato and lettuce adornments, letting the Changz sauces and house pickles do their own magic between the Casa Dolce buns. Upgrade your cheeseburger to a chilli cheeseburger for a complex, sweet and lingering version of the house standard.
Fries are spot on extra crispy and generous for the large size. And the Crispy Chicken burger lives up to its name.
When word of mouth spread about a humble burger truck in Northcote, owner Son Nguyen knew he was onto something. In 2015, he purchased a permanent residency for his recipe and has delivered premium patties to the masses ever since.
The name 1090 comes from a winning ratio – 10% fat and 90% meat – used to cook his Black Angus beef which is locally sourced from Mount Beauty. It’s topped with a nine-ingredient marinade (which is so secret only two people know the recipe) then served on a brioche bun.
FAT (Fried And Tasty)
You know what you’re going to get at F.A.T when you read the sign. Fried and tasty food, and done well. F.A.T Fried & Tasty specialises in southern fried chicken and American burgers Melbourne style. At F.A.T you can get everything from buckets of chicken, waffles, salads, sides, and sensational burgers stacked with their special fried chicken.
Balwyn Canteen – Balwyn
Many say this is the best burger joint in Melbourne with many of the ingredients made in house. Get it on with quality Gippsland Grassfed Beef blend for the beef patties and you can tell the difference. Juicy melt in your mouth beef for our Double beef and bacon (added) Senoir burger. Cheese melt on point as is perfectly cooked bacon and zesty pickles. Also a winner Canteen sauce.
The free-range birds arrive at Juanita whole, to be joined by Rashid and his crew. This way, the wings actually get a decent bit of meat on them. As with the doughnuts, this will be some of the best-fried chicken you’ve eaten in Melbourne. It’s moist, zesty and actually tastes like chicken, rather than last week’s oil. It almost doesn’t need the optional honey mustard, chilli vinegar or horseradish cream. But you definitely should try it with them.
Despite this focus, the go-to dish for many is simply named “cheeseburger”. That’s a 120-gram, hand-formed, coffee-rubbed, grass-fed beef patty, confit shallots, American cheese, dill pickles and mustard mayo. It’s served in a steamed potato bun that doesn’t fall apart.
In supporting roles there are fries, burritos and sandwiches. The short breakfast menu includes rice bubbles, tortillas with lamb bacon and a grilled market greens sandwich.
Kustom Burgers have a simple selection of classic burgers which focus on super high-quality patties. Throw in some of their deep-fried pickles on the side and you’re in for a real treat.
They have burgers for those people who love their buns stuffed to the absolute max with toppings. Make your own unique bun or go for one of their barely credible creations which are simply off the charts.
Inspired by the burger scene in The United States, Royal Stacks serves an amazing burger.
Of course, there’s the classic beef burger, but there’s also an incredible fried chicken burger. We can’t go past their mac & cheese croquette; add one for an extra treat.
Find them at several locations in Melbourne; our fave is their location in the city centre.
Their shops and trucks have a passionate local following who love them for their amazing burgers, shakes and fries. Keep an eye on their social media to see where their beautifully designed trucks will be next.
It serves some of the most amazing creations you are ever likely to see. You’d better book a gym session after one of these burgers but it’ll be worth every single bite.
PHAT Pizza Burger – Elwood
If you’ve got an outrageous request – they’ll make it happen. Whether you want three burgers morphed into one, triple patties loaded with fries and mac’n’cheese bites, or fried chicken wedged between oozing patties in a fluorescent red bun – they’ll make it happen.
They also have great options for vegetarians, meaning you can forget limp, sad veggie patties. My favourite is the super crunchy and delicious zucchini fritter burger with grilled halloumi and spicy mayo, beetroot, tomato, onion and lettuce.
Owner Kemal Barut also owners the 15-year-old Anatolian establishment next door, Lezzet, meaning he has some serious nouse when it comes to what Melburnians love.
Betty’s Burgers and Concrete Co
Betty’s has been the quiet achiever sneaking through the back door to claim some serious burger cred over the last year. Things are more fun than fancy, which only adds to the deliciousness of Betty’s burgers.
The low price point means that Betty’s is always full, but their product certainly doesn’t suffer from demand. The beef burgers come straightforward with the usual suspects and pickle-free, so the serious eaters may need to play with some extras.
We recommend going for the Shroom burger which sees the main attraction as a slab of melted gouda and gruyere sandwiched between two field mushrooms, crumbed and fried inside a sweet, toasted brioche bun and kicked up a notch by a mustardy secret sauce studded with chopped white onion.
BurgerLove, South Melbourne
BurgerLove serves the kinds of phat delicacies that look like they could send someone into a food coma.
You know… the kind with double, triple, quad patty towers sitting between oozes of cheese, pickles, tomato and multiple sauces? This was also one of the first venues in the country to offer the famous Beyond Meat Burger, featuring a plant-based vegan patty, vegan cheese and all the rest.
Food comas are encouraged, so wear elastic pants and arrive with an empty stomach.
Moorabbin isn’t the first location you’d think of when looking for American burgers in Melbourne, but once you happen upon Fat Bob’s your opinion will change straight away. Inspired by U.S diners and set in an industrial area, Fat Bob’s Bar & Grill is serving up their classic foil-wrapped burgers to hungry crowds from all around.
Try the Jack-O with a 180gm beef pattie, tomato, red onion, fontina cheese, cos lettuce, mustard, and a slathering of Fat Bob’s sauce. They’re also offering one of the best-pulled pork burgers Melbourne has ever tasted, which is without a doubt worth the drive alone.
Rude Boy Burger – Brunswick West
Rude Boy Burger is a revelation in Brunswick West – worth a drive from anywhere in Melbourne for a full burger experience we think.
Already Rude Boy Burger is an award-winning burger joint and is still running hot, always evolving, and keeping to its values including top-notch ingredients.
It’s fun coming here as the owners are great hospitality people full of passion and have skills in executing awesome burgers.
Franco has a background in fine dining which he applies in getting the little touches right – both the meat and chicken here are of the highest quality.
You may want to try the epic The Big Cheese burger with 2 x 150g Wagyu patty, 4 x cheese, pickles, red onion, and Rude sauce. This is a burger triumph for those who love a double burger and a hit of quality beef. The cheese game is spot on with instant appeal when you see the oozy cheese dripping down.
The rude sauce is no slouch as far as sauces go and despite its massive size, this is a well-balanced burger.
Regulars at Andrew’s don’t have time for burgers that come with descriptions such as “gourmet” or “healthy”. They prefer their meat sandwiches the old-school way, like your local fish ‘n’ chip shop used to do. Andrew’s has had them covered since 1939, long before wasabi mayo, guacamole and other fancy fillings had ever reached our shores.
These days the store is owned by Greg Pappas, the nephew of founder Andrew Georghiou. He can be seen working the grill most days, or else smiling from the photo-clad walls, with his arm around the many celebrities who’ve dropped in for a burger.
The menu’s mainstays are chicken, steak and the classic minced beef, seasoned only with salt and pepper. Add your choice of egg, bacon, onion, tomato, cheese, pineapple or beetroot, and you’re all set. For $12 or less, too. Unless of course you’re tempted by souvlaki or a classic side, such as potato cakes, dim sims and spring rolls. The only concessions to the “gourmet” crowd are veggie patties and gluten-free buns.
St. Burgs, Maribyrnong and Caroline Springs
Venture a little further from the CBD and you’ll be rewarded with a burger so mouth-wateringly disorienting, you may just forget how to drive home.
St Burgs serve grass-fed beef patties cooked to perfection, and fried chicken thigh fillets served with slaw and sriracha mayo. Vegetarians rejoice at the cheese-stuffed, crumbed field mushroom iteration packed with a smokey sauce.
The Railway Club Hotel
Most people come here for the super high-end cuts of steak, but as you’d expect with chefs so good at handling beef they also do a mean burger. Come on a Sunday for their burger and a pot deal.
This is by far one of the cosiest venues in Melbourne, and the perfect setting to devour some dude food. Their beef burger is on point, but they also have fried chicken and some vegan-friendly options.
St Collins Lane may be one of the quietest food halls in the city, but it does mean speedy service of your self-branded “slow food” burger.
The ethos of this burger is from the core of its produce-driven creator, Neil Perry; beef is from Cape Grim and the chickens are Lilydale – we wouldn’t expect anything less. So how does it stack up against those who don’t disclose the provenance of their produce? Pretty well, most of the time.
BP claims to serve its patties medium, which in turn, produces a pretty juicy burger fixed with house-made pickles, white onion and the freshest lettuce we’ve come across, under a foil of sweet, secret sauce
What makes a perfect burger?
What makes a perfect burger is the flavour of the beef, and the freshness of the bun, and the toppings. A burger should develop a nice sear to trap all the juices inside. Pressing a burger releases all of its flavours and makes the burger dry and ends up crumbling. The toppings are just as important as the cooking process.
Using fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and onions help bring a crisp texture and flavour depth that makes your burger scream fresh. To add more depth a spread or sauce needs to compliment the other toppings without making the burger too messy or all you have is excessive use of napkins.
Innovative burger toppings just make the flavour depth more interesting you just need to keep them in check because there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.”