Friday, 28 September 2012

Burger Theory, Ghetto Burger and Shizzle Burger

Burger Theory's 'art burger' is smart marketing. Each fornight Adelaide's burger cognoscenti are parting with their hard-earned pocket-cheese to be the first to sample Burger Theory's latest experiment. This is burger oneupmanship at its very finest. And I'm certainly not immune. Right now, my guiding purpose in life is to sample each and every art burger. And with good reason. These are burgers with imagination and flair.

Last fortnight, the art burger offering was the Ghetto Burger - chicken crackling, quick pickles, american cheese and truck sauce.


I like the way that Burger Theory think - but they didn't quite pull this one off. It seemed somehow confused. Don't get me wrong - it was better than just about any other burger going in Adelaide. Fried chicken skin? Hell yeah! Quick pickles? Delish! American cheese? Bring the fatty flavour! Truck sauce? Errrmm... I just don't think it was the right choice on this occasion. I envisaged the Ghetto Burger as super rich (beef + melty cheese + chicken skin) and seriously crunchy (chicken skin + pickle) with acid (from the pickle) to cut through all the flabbyness. These individual elements all worked but the truck sauce just didn't pull the whole thing together. I wonder if kewpie mayo or blue cheese might have worked better. What I'm trying to say is that it seems to my that Burger Theory usually highlight the funky beefyness of their patties and that didn't seem to happen this time. Part of the problem may have been the fact that my patty was squashed so flat that about half of it hung out of the arse of my bun and threw off of the bun-to-patty-to-filling ratio.

The offering this fortnight is the Shizzle Burger - guacamole, pickled red onions and iceberg lettuce. Distinct from rich and funky burgers I usually like, this burger is fresh'n'zingy and perfect for eating on warm Spring days.


I'm pleased to see the little pots of truck sauce on the side have returned!

The Shizzle is a well balanced and excecuted burger. Salty, zingy guac and sour pickled onion cut through the rich beef while the iceburg lettuce brings the crunch. And the patty was the right size this time too!
I love that Burger Theory are willing to experiment and have fun with their burgers and I'm really pumped for the remaining art burgers.
Burger Theory on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Burger Theory, Be Friendly Burger

I needed to cleanse my body and soul after my last disastrous burger experience. Only a Burger Theory burger had the power to restore my faith in burger-dom.

If you follow Burger Theory on either Facebook or Twitter you probably already know they're offering limited edition art burgers. They rotate every two weeks and the first and current offering is the Be Friendly Burger - apple-slaw, chipotle mayo and crispy sugar-cured bacon. 


This is complex and textural burger. Crispy bacon and the crunch of fresh apple offsets the savoury, fattiness of the melty-cheese-topped-patty while chipotle mayo adds a warm richness that brings the whole burger together. And 3 bucks for bacon may seem a little steep but you've probably never had bacon this crispy before.


If the Be Friendly burger is anything to judge by, the rest of the art burgers are going to be amaze-balls! Word on the street is that future art burgers will include deli meat, Mexican, and native fruit themes. Apparently next weeks burger will include CHICKEN SKIN!! SQWEEEE!!

And I'd love to see Burger Theory rock a lamb burger just to give Maccas a short sharp poke in the eye.

Burger Theory on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 6 September 2012

McDonald's, Serious Lamb Burger

Sam Kekovich is a lamb loving legend. When he tells me to eat lamb - I do. Mr Kekovich is currently spruiking the McDonald's serious lamb burger, which meant I had to give it a go.


I can see what McDonald's are trying for here. They're trying to replicate the kind of backyard burger you might find at an Aussie BBQ. Egg, beetroot, tomato sauce. Typically Australian burger fillings. Fine. Good. No problems there. But there are serious problems was with the patty. It didn't taste of lamb. In fact, it doesn't taste of anything much. The rosemary, parsley and oregano was completely lost. The garlic was utterly absent. There were chunks of 'real onion' through the patty but other than attempt to replicate a homestyle burger I struggle to find a sensible rationale for their existence.


I was halfway through when I realised something else about the patty. It was GREY! Seriously grey. As though the burger had been constructed out of some sort of sanitised lamb offcut slurry (which it probably has been and probably explains the lack of lamb flavour).


By way of comparison, below is a snap of the lamb sausages I had for dinner that night. Ignoring the fried onion and sauce on top (yes, that is tomato sauce, mustard AND mayonnaise. Try it. So delicious. You're welcome.) look at the colour of the sausage. Sausage meat probably isn't the best quality meat but it isn't grey. There are shades of red and brown. I shudder to think what McDonald's have done to the meat to turn that unappetising grey colour.


I seriously think that this lamb burger is damaging to the good name of Australian lamb and also to Mr Kekovich's brand. In future, Sam should be more careful about which cart he hitches his waggon to.

Would I order a serious lamb burger again? No. Was it better than most of the crap they dished up for the Olympics? Yes. Would I like to see Burger Theory have a crack a lamb burger? You betcha!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

La Cantina Co, Taco Madness

By now you'd know that La Cantina Co has launched. Despite some teething problems with Truck Norris it was well worth the wait. I checked out the van for taco madness on their launch day and have since been a regular repeat customer.


On launch day La Cantina Co offered a 3 taco and jarritos combo for $16. An expensive lunch but but a great way of trying virtually everything on the menu. And despite a few little hitches (the van ran out of small change and making quesadillas tied up valuable taco making resources) day one seemed to go quite smoothly.

I ordered a guava jarritos to sip in the warm winter sun while waiting for my tacos.I hadn't seen these 'little jars' before but apparently they are the number one soft drink in Mexico. Fizzy bubbly always tastes better out of an ice cold glass bottle and these had nostalgically sweet fruit flavours with a little more carbonation than usual. Perfect for cutting through the heat of a taco!


I ordered three different tacos on launch day - beef, chorizo and black bean; pork and pineapple; and smoked chicken.

By far the standout, the strong smoke flavour of the chicken taco was balanced out by a tangy guacamole and creamy fresh cheese. The beef chorizo was rich, meaty and studded with small salty chorizo bombs. Though sweet and aggressively peppered the pork and pineapple needed a little more work. There was curious rubbery-ness to the pork and compared to the other tacos the sauce was bland and watery.


A few days later I caught up with the taco van again. First to sample the taco I missed - the mushroom and zucchini - and secondly to see if the pork taco had improved. It had. The pork seemed somehow meatier and the sauce was thicker and more flavourful. I can understand why La Cantina Co offer a vego option but for those of us who are omnivorous (or even carnivorous) the animal protein tacos are the way forward - they just seem to have more flavour. Not that there is anything wrong with the mushroom and zucchini - it just seemed lacking somehow.


A couple of handy tacos hints - make sure you eat the tacos as soon as they're placed in your hot little hand. The tortillas have been toasted on the grill and you'll lose that extra crunch if you take them back to the office. Do help yourself to their great hot sauce selection - the suave sauce made with tamarind is a favourite of mine and adds a lovely hot'n'sour pucker! And be sure to order a jarritos - they're delicious.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Big Table, Adelaide Cental Markets

I feel like I'm better person when I order a salad at Big Table. Which is lucky - I'm actually a pretty awful person and need all the help I can get! Fresh veggies, legumes, seeds and nuts are a tonic for the body and supporting local business is a tonic for the soul.

Big Table make excellent coffee and fabulous rolls, sandwiches and wraps but the stand out for me are the salads. Masters of texture, Big Table seem to have the knack of devising salads that snap, crackle and pop.

I ordered a rainbow of salads including two of my favorites - soy bean and beetroot with lentil - and one I hadn't seen before - brown rice and pumpkin.


I ALWAYS order the soy bean salad. It's da bomb. Popping soy beans, broad beans and peas peppered with crunchy nuts and flecked with salty, creamy chunks of feta.

Beetroot and lentil is also a good 'un. Toothsome chunks of roast beetroot with the pop of lentils and the crunch of roast walnuts. Delish!


Almost like cold risotto the brown rice salad felt creamy with the pumpkin melted through it. Pumpkin seeds and fresh baby spinach provided crunch and a squeeze of lime gave a fresh finish.

Big Table are also justifiable famous for the breakfasts. Well priced and generous I'm a big fan of the BLT (with either house made pesto, mayo or both) and the green eggs (scrambled eggs with pesto) and ham.

After a weekend of sinning (or of you're just generally a bad person like me) Big Table is the place to go for a little slice of redemption.

Big Table on Urbanspoon

Hungry Jacks, Chicken Mini

Hungry Jacks have launched a new addition to their mini burger range - the chicken mini. You might remember that I was reasonably impressed with the rodeo mini - the onion rings retained their crunch and the smokey BBQ sauce was applied with a deft hand. I wish I could say something equally nice about the chicken mini - but I can't...

Eating a chicken mini is like eating a savoury pillow - identically cloying the whole way through. The formed chicken patty had exactly the same texture as the bun. I presume the lettuce and breading on the chicken patty was supposed to add some crunch - it unfortunately didn't. And the rich kewpie-style mayo, though pretty decent on its own, simply added to the underwhelming monotony of the burger.


I swapped out my fries for onion rings. Although the Hungry Jacks website describes them as "delicious onion rings in breadcrumbs" I'm still to be convinced that they contain any actual onion. Though crumb was a bit sad the rings were crunchy and onion-y but there was this weird unidentifiable fake flavour in the background.


My recommendation - skip the chicken mini, order the rodeo mini and stick with the chips.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Banana Leaf Indian Restaurant, Currie St

Speed. Price. Quality.

These are the three immutable variables of any given task - including having lunch. Usually, two of these variables can be delivered at the cost of a third. For example - you could have a really fast, amazingly delicious lunch but you'll probably pay a little more than you usually would.

I'm not sure that Banana Leaf Indian Restaurant have heard of this theory...

A friend and I passed by Banana Leaf on our way to lunch along Leigh St a few weeks ago. Outside Banana Leaf looks like any common-or-garden-variety Indian eatery - but the inside is a decorative Taj Mahal (light was awful for photos so don't have one - sorry. There are a few photos on their website though - ). Our interest was piqued and we resolved to return.

I ordered a cheese thosai (for those of you playing at home a thosai or sometimes dosa is a South Indian rice flour pancake) served with dhal, coconut sambal and chilli sauce (for just $8.50 which meets the price variable). And then I waited. And waited. And waited some more - and the opportunity to deliver on the speed variable rapidly past by.

According to my speed/price/quality lunch should therefore have been pretty tasty. It was actually rather ho hum. Not bad - just average.


I was expecting a thosai stuffed with soft Indian cheese - and received one with a rather mean sprinkle of cheddar cheese. The dhal was watery and tasteless but the coconut sambal and chilli sauce packed heaps of flavour.

I'm acutely conscious that I'm judging Banana Leaf on one dish on one day so please don't take my word as gospel but in my opinion you can better faster, cheaper, better curry from the Indian eateries in either the Southern Cross or China Town Food Courts. 

Banana Leaf Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon