Sandfly a distant memory as the lush grass of Vince’s Saddle rushed by in a sea of green, the twists and turns of the hard asphalt a twin to Mountain River, snaking its way past Crabtree and up to Sleeping Beauty; serene backdrop to one of Tasmania’s most beautiful and evocative panoramas, the Huon Valley.
With icy ciders and vittles of supreme quality the usual lure for visitors to this part of the world, oddly enough I had burgers and man-dates on my mind, from Ranelagh of all places!
The silent clown in this online affair was predisposed and so I found myself sharing knowing gazes with a bearded nurse, across a table more reminiscent of a Midlands Highway work site than a backdrop to a burger and fries. The only difference being, the Midlands roadworks never end!
The Ranelagh General Store is somewhat of an enigma, aiming far higher than your average country store. Where others spruik dimmies, potato cakes (scallops?) and bain marie nightmares, the Ranelagh General Store do burgers. But not just any old burgers! The menu is extensive, ranging from their:
- ‘Breaky Burger‘ – $12.5 for egg, bacon, cheese, HASH BROWN!, mushroom, tomato, onion, mayo and ‘other bits and pieces’; to the,
- ‘El Gringo‘ – $13.5 for chicken, corn, avocado, salsa, chipotle mayo and jalapeno; and even a non-token nod to the vegetarian burger lovers among us (yes, they DO exist, don’t they Val?) with their,
- ‘Harrison‘ – $12.5 for grilled butternut pumpkin, kumera, honey brown mushrooms, pesto, relish and pea slaw!
Great minds and all that, in the spirit of the ongoing burger challenge we both ordered the most traditional option on the menu, the:
- ‘Royale‘ – $10.5 for a pork/beef patty, pickles, cheese, onion, mayo, tomato sauce and mustard.
And on the side we had a strangely alluring platter of chilli fries for $10, with chilli, coriander, palm sugar dressing, onion and ginger (sorry Kate!). They weren’t listed on the menu, but I’m sure that they were pomegranate seeds sprinkled liberally across the dish for a little bit of sweetness!
The patty may have looked a little anaemic, but it only took one bite to realise this burger was a good ‘un.
A superb balance between the earthy beef and slightly salty pork made for one very satisfying flavour combination. At nearly an inch thick, other than missing some char you can’t ask for much more than that!
I do prefer my onions fried and caramelised, but in this instance the fresh bite of the raw onion rings actually worked in really well with the two slices of dripping, melted cheese and a few perfectly shaved slices of pickled cucumber (not too thick, not too thin). Lashings of sweet mustard, mayo and tomato sauce topped it all off nicely.
As is so often the case, there’s always that little ‘something’ that detracts from perfection. In this case it was the bun. While the interior was a soft as you could ever want, the exterior was crunchy, flaky and lip-cuttingly bothersome. Such a shame.
If burgers aren’t your thing and you enjoy some spice in your life, then those chilli fries will satisfy like nothing else!! So many flavour explosions going on in every mouthful. A caution though, that chilli is hot! I like my spice, but by the time I got to the last chip my face was on fire. They didn’t skimp on the coriander either which was fantastic.
Overall thoughts on Ranelagh General Store?
Unless you’re a Hoonville resident, it’s not exactly what most of us would call our ‘local’. Nevertheless, the quality and value on offer should be plenty to lure more than a few Hobartians south past Willie Smiths Apple Shed, the cow pat riddled
cricket football pitch on which I hope never to set foot again, and past one of southern Tasmania’s premier wineries, Home Hill, to what is one of the finest burgers in Tasmania!
You’ll find their Facebook page here – Ranelagh General Store on Facebook
Monday – Friday: 7am – 8pm
Saturday – Sunday: 8am – 8pm
While you’re in the area it would make sense to drop by a few other excellent venues we’ve eaten at in the past, including:
- Cat’s Tongue Chocolatiers
- Red Velvet Lounge
- Jam and Bread (if you loop back to Hobart through Margate)
- Phuong’s Vietnamese (also on the loop back to Hobart through Electrona)
Taste – 4.5/5
Patty – 4/5
Bun – 2.5/5
Ingredients – 4/5
Condiments – 4/5
Presentation – 4.5/5
Stuffable* – Yes (despite the skewer)
Value – 4.5/5
*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 Standard – 4.5/5
3. The Winston – 4.5/5
4. Ranelagh General Store – 4/5
5. The Homestead – 4/5
6. Tasman Quartermasters – 4/5
7. Jack Greene – 4/5
8. Chrome – 3.5/5
9. Crumb Street Kitchen – 3/5
10. Moots in Kahoots at the Naked Bike Cafe – 3/5
11. pOp Cafe – 3/5
12. Burger Haus – 2.5/5
13. Burger Got Soul – 2/5
14. The Squire’s Bounty – 1.5/5
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 (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