It’s that time again folks!!
Although on reflection I guess it’s always ‘that time’…I’ve simply learnt that enormously important life lesson called ‘restraint’. Others have been known to refer to it as, “Refraining from stuffing your face full of burgers every lunch break”.
I’m sure Karen would beg to differ, but I’d even be so bold as to say that, “I’m a big kid now!”
I was feeling peckish, I hadn’t brought any lunch to work (damn shame that…), and I was keen for a burger. I figured I needed to try something close to work, so I scanned my ever-growing list of burger establishment recommendations and remembered that someone had suggested Argyle Take Away on the corner of Argyle and Brisbane streets.
These types of places always fill me with trepidation!
Am I going to be faced with a bain-marie full of deep fried shite? What’s the incubation time for salmonella? Am I going to be standing shoulder to sweaty shoulder with 7ft construction workers and truck drivers? (not that there’s anything wrong with that of course! All that testosterone makes me feel a little bit less like a man though….)
Don’t they say, “Never ask a question to which you don’t know the answer.”??
And so it was that I stepped through the doors of ATA.
First impressions were way different to what I expected. It’s a fairly pokey floor space, with a narrow L-section running parallel to the windows where customers can browse the shelves or place their order. Yes, there WAS a bain-marie, and while it did contain a good variety of traditional deep fried snacks, it also held a few prime examples of what I had come here for. Burgers!
As I lifted my eyes from the numerous steak sandwiches and beef burgers stacked in front of me, it quickly became apparent that the room was small for good reason. In front of me was a doorway leading to what can only be called the engine room of ATA! At various benches I could see a small army of three or four people busily tending to their burger factory line with looks of intense concentration on their faces.
Neat rows of burgers lined up in various states of undress. Some totally naked begging for action (who ever thought I’d write that in a food review?!!), others with a layer of lettuce, then still others increasing in height as the various ingredients were piled on top!
In no time at all I found myself walking back to the car with a very tasty looking burger in my hot little hands!!
Not bad at all!!
They’ve crammed a lot of ingredients into this burger, yet they’ve still managed to keep it small enough to fit in your hands (and mouth) without significant effort. Full marks there!
In terms of taste I have to be honest and say that it was better than average…very good even. But not perfect.
The tomato had been generously peppered (massive points there!!), the lettuce was fresh and crunchy, and unlike almost every other burger I’ve tried, this one came with a slice of beetroot! I know a lot of people would frown at the thought of beetroot in their burger, but they’re just un-Australian! Personally I love the extra dimension that a tasty slice of beetroot brings to the melange of flavours. I just don’t like the massively increased likelihood of livid purple stains on my work pants! (I bet you’d never hear one of those 7ft tall construction workers saying that….)
The patty wasn’t too bad. It was obviously cooked from scratch, and while I couldn’t be sure, it tasted like they may have actually added a little bit of finely chopped onion to the mix, something I tend to do myself at home when making burgers. The texture though was a little bit dense for my liking, approaching, but not quite crossing (thank goodness!) the borderline of ‘rubbery’. Don’t get me wrong, it was a lot better than the one I had tried at Burger Got Soul, but it just wasn’t perfect.
The fried onion and slice of egg were also well cooked and full of flavour. The egg in particular was awesome!
BUT!! (there’s always a but)
It was on my second last bite that I finally realised what it was that had been nagging at me the whole time. There was no cheese!!
Now I would normally pick up on this in a flash (as with Chrome’s burger recently), but this time around it was a bit of a con job!! It was quite clever really. Instead of a slice of cheese they had actually included a smear of cream cheese on one of the buns! Successfully fooling my taste buds into thinking that this essential aspect of a burger had been faithfully included, I suspect it must have been the texture (or lack thereof) that was ringing alarm bells in my subconscious. However, before taking my last mouthful I performed a little excavation between the layers and to my surprise found that what I had originally thought to be a very bland and flavourless mayonnaise, was in fact a thin layer of cream cheese!
I can’t say whether this was a decision designed to enhance the flavour (it didn’t), reduce the size of the burger (it did), change the texture (it did), or save on cost (I can’t say, but I imagine it would). Regardless, I wasn’t impressed with this act of treacherous sorcery!!
Moving on from the cheese, the only other major ingredient was a large slice of bacon on top. Surprisingly, it was large in all three dimensions! Perfect in the horizontal plane, it was probably 3 or 4mm thick!! More like a ham really! While this could have been a massive winner, the fact that it hadn’t been fried long enough resulted in a piece of bacon that was limp, with a hint of Spam. It didn’t taste bad, but was a lost opportunity.
Taste – 4/5
Patty – 3.5/5
Bun – 5/5
Ingredients – 3.5/5
Condiments – 3.5/5
Presentation – 5/5
Stuffable* – Yes
Value – 5/5
Overall – 3.5/5
*Can you stuff it in your face without a knife and fork?
Burger Challenge Round-up
So how does Argyle Take Away compare to our other contenders?
After cleaning up one of these burgers you’ll walk away quite happy and only slightly lighter in the hip pocket ($5.90 I think?). These guys deserve full credit for making these burgers from scratch and with such evident passion, but for me it didn’t take things to the next level. While perfect as a quick lunch time meal, I probably won’t be back in the near future, as there are definitely better options out there (although if its beetroot you’re after then this could be incentive enough to come back more often!). It’s a shame really, because they’ve got the makings of a great burger here, with the unique addition of the beetroot and thick sliced bacon. They just need to execute a little better!
So this leaves Red Jaffa and Budgie Smuggler still on top, followed closely by Chrome and Argyle Take Away, with Burger Got Soul bringing up the rear.