It was a sad day a few months ago when I first heard that Chado The Way of Tea was winding down. From the most exquisite teas, to precise and delicious Japanese meals, you couldn’t fault their commitment to quality produce and service.
But, as they say, one door closes and another one opens!
At the same time that Chado was closing down, there were whispers on Hobart’s foodie grapevine that an exciting new venture was being planned for the premises.
The new kids on the block? Tasman Quartermasters!
Burger review, or restaurant review? In this case it’s both! TQ have put themselves forward as (to my knowledge anyway) Hobart’s first, and only, burger and wine bar.
An interesting combination, and one that I’m sure will prove popular with Hobartians, particularly considering the quality of the meal that we experienced!
Open for less than two weeks when we paid them a lunch time visit, any new business could be excused for any teething problems. Not so at TQ! Right from the outset this place smacked of experience, confidence and professionalism, with a hint of irreverent humour thrown in for good measure!
I wouldn’t say that it’s the ideal venue for an intimate dinner date, but if you’re looking for a casual vibe, great food with great company, and you aren’t afraid to get a little bit messy, then TQ is for you!
As you would expect, burgers are the centrepiece here. If it’s a tapas style meal that you’re after, then a 72hr Charolais brisket or 24hr Berkshire pork belly slider (mini-burger) might hit the spot. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more traditional meal then you can’t go past their regular burgers!
I use the word ‘regular’ very loosely here, because these burgers are anything but ordinary!!
Was it to be the Charolais beef burger, dry-aged for 14 days?
Or perhaps St Peter’s Pass venison or wallaby burger?
With the interests of fairness at the front of my mind, I decided to go with the Charolais beef burger, so as to give the closest point of comparison to the numerous other burgers I’ve tried in the pursuit of Hobart’s best burger.
All of TQ’s burgers come with pickles, greens and their own special TQ sauce, on a brioche bun and served with your choice of side dish. Furthermore, they give you the option of adding some delicious extras to your burger, including Berkshire bacon, raclette cheese (instead of the standard cheddar), black truffle salsa or adzuki chilli!
For me, while I would have loved to have had one of everything (guts that I am!!), I showed restraint and chose the bacon and raclette, while Karen went for the black truffle salsa (also on a beef burger).
We were offered a knife and fork, but after some careful consideration we both declined the offer!
It was a good choice in the end. The brioche bun was soft in the middle, yet its exterior was tough enough to give your fingers good purchase on the burger, allowing you to compress it down to size nicely!
It only took one mouthful for the smiles to appear on our faces! These burgers were exceptionally good!
The beef was cooked to perfection, with the centre just the tiniest smidgeon past pink and unbelievably juicy, while the raclette added an aromatic, slightly nutty flavour. The sliced pickles provided a hint of sourness, offset by the sweetness of the well balanced TQ sauce and the well rounded smokiness of the Berkshire bacon rashers.
An interesting thing happened though while munching my way through this feast. As I took perhaps my third bite, I noticed that the meat was breaking away in slightly regular chunks. In fact, the closer I looked the more convinced I was that the patty had been constructed using concentric circles of beef mince. WTF?!!
Lost in thought, it was at that point that I was interrupted by the proprietor (Stuart Addison) commenting that, “You seem to be deep in contemplation?”. Replying in the affirmative, I asked Stuart what was going on with this bizarre burger?!
Without giving too many secrets away, Stuart explained that they grind the meat for the burger themselves using a ‘double pass’ method, whereby the mince is passed through the mincer twice. This results in a much more finely grained mince than you would see in your local supermarket, or even in most restaurants.
An accentuated myosin reaction of course!!
It all comes down to chemistry, but I’ll try and keep it simple!
Myosin is a protein that exists in meat, and it’s myosin that determines how ‘tough’ a particular piece of meat will be.
When you heat a piece of meat above 55°C for a sufficient amount of time, the heat causes the myosin to ‘denature’ and break down, resulting in the meat becoming a whole lot more tender than it was before cooking. Apparently the ‘double pass’ technique enhances this process, resulting in one seriously tender patty!
As an added bonus, Stuart assured me that this also has the added benefit of removing the need for them to add any fillers or binding agents to the meat.
Whether you can get your head around the science or not, the meat tasted bloody good and I encourage each and every one of you to transport yourselves to TQ so that you too can indulge in this most exquisite of burgers!!
(there’s always a ‘but’ in these reviews isn’t there?)
This burger wasn’t perfect. I only have two recommendations for how the burger could be improved, the first significant, and the other, minor.
First up, while discussing the meal we had just eaten, Karen and I both made the same observation regarding the way in which the beef patty had been cooked. It was missing that awesome toasty charcoal flavour that comes from caramelisation of the exterior of the patty over a grill! A little bit of post-meal research found that TQ actually use a blow torch to finish off the patty. Visually impressive, but to me it just wasn’t quite the same.
The other minor thing was the pickles. We both thought that they had been sliced just a little bit too thin, resulting in only the slightest of sour notes creeping into the total flavour of the burger. It’s probably a personal preference, but we both would have preferred that the pickles take a much more prominent position.
Taste – 4.5/5
Patty – 4.5/5
Bun – 5/5
Ingredients – 4.5/5
Condiments – 4/5
Presentation – 5/5
Stuffable* – Yes
Value – 5/5
Overall – 4.5/5
*Can you stuff it in your face without a knife and fork?
Burger Challenge Round-up
So how does Tasman Quartermasters compare to our other contenders?
Before I answer, after much deliberation I’ve decided that a tweak to the Burger Challenge is required!!
The more burgers I try around town, the more it’s becoming apparent that it just isn’t possible to make a fair comparison between a fast food burger and a gourmet burger.
To remedy this, I’ve decided to break the challenge into two distinct categories (initially anyway…until I see if it works or not!) based on burger price. The magic cut-off is going to be $10, with anything under $10 being classified as a Blue Collar Burger, and anything greater than $10 being classified as White Collar Burger.
So with that in mind, I think it’s fairly obvious that at $15 for the base burger, and $2-$3 per extra topping, the burgers from TQ will be placed in the White Collar category, and is our new leader in that category.
(as a side note, this will also push the Chrome Coffee Lounge and Burger Got Soul into the same category)
So we now have the following rankings: