Do you want to know a secret?
We all have our guilty little pleasures, and as a pair of (alleged) adults in our late 30s, it may come as a surprise to some to know that ours is a love of Big Brother. No, not the protagonist of Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ (although that is pretty awesome!), but the voyeuristic ‘social experiment’ that kicked off on Australian television screens way back in 2001.
I still remember first hearing about the Big Brother concept back in the late ’90s, and as someone who prefers to observe humanity from its fringes, it resonated strongly. In fact, I still recall the very first glimpse I had of a Big Brother episode, chilling out on New Years day in the honeymoon suite of the Leviathan Hotel in Dunedin. It was an episode from one of the European countries, the Netherlands perhaps? Fights, laughs, hookups, tears, nudity, threats…it had the lot!! A microcosm of humanity crammed into four tiny walls, under the watchful gaze of a dozen cameras and a fascinated public. Together with a slightly sinister link back to one of the most mind-expanding novels of my youth, I was hooked.
No one really knew the direction the show would take, particularly in that very first series. There was a certain naivety in both the Housemates and the production crew that was simultaneously endearing and exciting. Remember, this was pre-Facebook. Twitter hadn’t yet been invented and voting was still over the phone. How quaint! The rules were few and far between, and it was clear that no one really knew where the boundaries lay.
The last truly amazing series of the show was that from 2003. Remember Chrissie Swan, who went on to host Can of Worms and more recently joined, and left, the MIX FM radio team? How about Saxon, the guy that cried for his mum when he got nominated once too many times, before going on to enter into a relationship with BB host Gretel Killeen, 19 years his senior?! Of all the housemates though, the one that most Australian viewers will remember with great fondness was Reggie Bird. She went on to win Big Brother that year, on the back of an endearingly twangy (some may say annoying) Aussie drawl, a genuine cluelessness regarding life in general (so why not gift her with $250k!), and some of the funniest quotes to ever grace our TV screens.
What many of you may not realise is that before she appeared on BB, Reggie ran a fish and chip shop in Cambridge, Tasmania. I’d always known she was involved in the fast food industry, but it was only after moving to Tasmania and building a house only 10 minutes up the road that we realised how close we were to such an iconic (to us anyway) venue!
Sadly, Reggie moved on after her brush with fame, and the fish and chip shop has changed hands a number of times. Now known as the Cambridge Kitchen, for the last few years they’ve been serving up fast food, sushi and sandwiches to the passing tourists and the ever-growing business populace over at the Cambridge commercial district.
I’d received a recommendation from someone, and as I was passing through on my way to a meeting over at the Cambridge office I thought I’d stop by and see what all the fuss was about.
Visually, you couldn’t fault it. It was begging to be eaten!
It was only after taking a bite that an unexpected, yet slightly uncanny link to Big Brother began to emerge.
After 11 series and almost 200 housemates, one thing has become very clear. White and middle class is the flavour of the day. It ultimately makes for boring, unsustainable television, and yet on some level the formula must work.
And so it was with the burger from Cambridge Kitchen. Everything about it screams ‘safe’, ‘traditional’ and ‘trusted’. The ingredients are stock standard; beef patty, bacon, onion, lettuce, tomato, cheese. The bun can be found in just about every takeaway joint in town. The price was on par with the going rate (around $7.50 from memory?). It tasted good, but where was that little something special to lift it above the pack? It filled my hamburger shaped hole, and nothing else.
If you’re a Volvo driver, then the burger with the lot from Cambridge Kitchen might just be your thing.
But if you’re looking for something special, I’d suggest investigating a few of the better options currently available around Hobart. I’ve provided some links below if you’re interested.
On the other hand, if you’re a mad keen BB fan then a Haj-like pilgrimage to the spiritual home of Reggie should be No.1 on your bucket list!!
That is all.
Taste – 3/5
Patty – 3.5/5
Bun – 4/5
Ingredients – 3/5
Condiments – 2.5/5
Presentation – 5/5
Stuffable* – Yes
Value – 3.5/5
Overall – 3/5
*Can you stuff it in your face without a knife and fork?
White Collar Burgers
1. The Standard – 5/5
2. The Winston – 5/5
3. Tasman Quartermasters – 4.5/5
4. Chrome – 4/5
5. Crumb Street Kitchen – 3.5/5
6. pOp Cafe – 3.5/5
7. Burger Haus – 3/5
8. Burger Got Soul – 2.5/5
9. The Squire’s Bounty – 2/5
Blue Collar Burgers
1. Red Jaffa – 4.5/5 (these guys are my sentimental favourite, so they get the #1 gig, despite the equal scores!)
2. Albert Road Store – 4.5/5
3. Budgie Smugglers – 4.5/5
4. Stevo’s Takeaway – 4/5
5. Devil’s Kitchen Cafe – 3.5/5
6. Argyle Take Away – 3.5/5
7. Langridge Store – 3/5
8. Cambridge Kitchen – 3/5
9. Darcy’s Cafe – 3/5
10. Burger Me – 2.5/5
11. Atlantis Takeaway – 2.5/5