I should have asked for the back story to The Hairy Giraffe Cafe in Margate.
In its absence the mind races…
By implication there must in fact be a hairless giraffe, a la the Sphynx cat or Xoloitzcuintli dog. Perhaps the lesser known companion to the thylacine, yet just as extinct? Or perhaps not extinct at all, but keen sun chasers (hairless won’t keep you warm at Dark Mofo!) and they simply hopped on the first post-colonisation boat to Ibiza…?
Damn pill-popping hippies with their long necks, swaying hair and thinking they’re ‘all dat’…they get all the chicks…
Whatever the story, the name of Tasmania’s latest cafe-in-a-church is unforgettable. Not that it’s needed, because the food alone made for a memorable experience.
House sitting transition mornings are always epic.
Early wake up. Coffee. Feed and water the pets. Clean bathrooms. Vacuum floors. Clean outside. Pack up gear. Mop floors. Rubbish disposed. Dust everything. Stoke the fire. Wipe down all surfaces. Cram everything into the car. Last minute nerves that we’ve forgotten something…
You’ll notice there’s no mention of food in that mix!
We were STARVING on arrival at The Hairy Giraffe.
It’s a great little menu they’ve got with heaps of vegetarian and gluten free options for those that are so inclined. Vegans also get a guernsey!
Karen stopped at ‘Pumpkin and Pesto’ ($18), whereas I was in need of meat…
Well, hello there ‘Hairy Giraffe Burger (not made from giraffes)’!!
Home made beef patty, bacon, cheese, greens, beetroot, home made relish and a splash of salsa ($16.50), all with a decent side serving of chips and a dish of the Giraffe’s own aioli.
It’s not cheap, but it’s worth every cent!
The patty is the absolute standout with this burger. If we hadn’t experienced the burger from Mohr and Smith I would have said this beef patty was the best in Tasmania, but it comes a very close second!
How they have managed to create such a tender interior, yet also get that crunchy caramelised surface is beyond me. My first mouthful was bliss! Packed full of flavour with perfectly seasoned juices threatening to burst free with every bite. Absolutely delicious!
As you may expect, the other ingredients tend to play second fiddle, but each fill their role admirably…bar one.
We’re already discussing one animal from the African continent, so let’s bring in another…
I’m probably going to ostrich-size a number of you but in any country other than Australia this wouldn’t even be an issue. For some reason there are people out there who think that beetroot deserves a place in the temple o’ burger.
No! Don’t do it!!
I don’t mind beetroot, and perhaps it would work well enough if sliced super thin (like Stevo’s Aussie burger), but in this instance it was the only element that didn’t work on what was otherwise the perfect burger. Too bold, too much of a distraction, too bad because top spot was up for grabs!
Regardless, this burger is really special and is more than worthy of the 30 minute drive to Margate!
Chips are so often an afterthought, but in this instance they too stood above the offerings of most other venues. It was the aoioli that did it. Much garlic, and with a truly astonishing depth of flavour. This condiment wouldn’t have been out of place on the plate of a very high end restaurant! Chips are good enough for me though…
The ‘Pumpkin and Pesto’ dish can’t go without a mention either. The eggs were warm and perfectly poached, with the rich yolk mixing nicely with the pesto and softening the house-made toasted corn bread. The addition of generous chunks of char-roasted pumpkin was well thought out and resulted in one very filling and satisfying meal.
On paying for our meal and asking that they pass on our thanks to the chef, I was given the opportunity to say g’day to the team behind this creation. It was so pleasing to see a young duo getting amongst it, clearly passionate about the quality food they are creating, skilled at what they do and all served up with a smile!
Margate isn’t exactly right next door for most of us, but the combination of a quirky church interior, delicious food and enthusiastic service should be more than enough to entice a few of you down the Channel Highway!
For more information, drop by their Facebook page here – The Hairy Giraffe
They’re open Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.
In a piece of very good news, they are looking to expand into dinners very soon as well, with tickets to their very first Italian Night (BYO) on sale now for $40. It’s booked in for Saturday, 2 July and tickets are more than half sold already, so if you’re interested get your skates on!!
Taste – 4/5
Patty – 5/5
Bun – 4/5
Ingredients – 4/5
Condiments – 4.5/5
Presentation – 4/5
Stuffable* – Yes
Value – 4/5
*Can you stuff it in your face without a knife and fork?
Burger Challenge Roundup
White Collar Burgers
1. Mohr and Smith – 5/5
2. The Winston – 4.5/5
3. The Standard – 4/5
4. Ranelagh General Store – 4/5
5. The Hairy Giraffe – 4/5
6. The Homestead – 4/5
7. Quartermasters Arms – 4/5
8. Jack Greene – 4/5
9. Chrome – 3.5/5
10. Moots in Kahoots at the Naked Bike Cafe – 3/5
11. Salamanca Wharf Cafe – 3/5
12. pOp Cafe – 3/5
13. Crumb Street Kitchen – 3/5 (now closed)
14. Burger Haus – 2.5/5
15. Burger Got Soul – 2/5
16. The Squire’s Bounty – 1.5/5 (now closed)
Blue Collar Burgers
1. Red Jaffa – 4.5/5 (these guys are my sentimental favourite, so they get the #1 gig!)
2. Albert Road Store – 4.5/5 (get the Two Clowns Burger!!)
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. Darcy’s Cafe – 3/5
9. Burger Me – 2.5/5
10. Atlantis Takeaway – 2.5/5
11. Gormanston Rd Takeaway – 1.5/5