St Burgs hits the spot



St Burgs, 41-45 Edgewater Boulevard, Maribyrnong. Phone: 9317 7460

There’s two new burger joints about to open right in Footscray central.

Where is it going to end?

Will it ever end?

Melbourne’s rather rabid fondness for new-school burger joints seems to know no limits.

There seems to one or more opening every week, all this activity attended by a plethora of media stories, blog posts and click-bait lists.

Truth to tell, I have been a foot-dragging participant in our visit to St Burgs.

I feel a bit a burger fatigue but have been worn down by Bennie’s persistent requests.




The tipping point came during our visit to try the fine Turkish fare at Platinum Cafe in North Melbourne.

There, Bennie asked of Nat Stockley, noted burger fan and expert: “So what is your favourite burger place?”

St Burgs is the first establishment he mentions.

So off we go …

St Burgs is unusually located … in an apartment block down the hill from the Edgewater shopping/eating precinct.

There is no parking, forcing punters to walk from the parking spots at the shops.

And, so far as I can see, there are no toilets.




The burger shop is tiny in terms of in-house eating, with most of seating outdoors.

Thankfully, on the Sunday we visit the weather is fine.

And whatever the challenges St Burgs presents, there is certainly no lack of punters when we arrive soon after noon.

The service is good and wait time not too long.

My Western Fried Chicken burger ($12) is very good.

Joining coleslaw, cheese and Sriracha mayo is a fat, juicy and deep-fried hunk of very flavoursome chook breast.




Bennie absolutely adores his Double D burger ($14)!

It’s pretty much the St Burgs’ version of “with the lot”.

I ask Bennie: “But isn’t it much the same as what you get at Dude Food Man or 8bit?”

His reply: “No – this is better!”

So there you go – the verdict is in.




I find our regular chips ($5) to be disappointing – a bit limp, not very hot and liberally anointed with indifferent seasoning.

Bennie agrees.

We reckon deep-fried potato + salt = excellent.



The chook burger wins



Manok, 351 Somerville Road, Yarraville. Phone: 9315 1440

As previously reported right here on CTS, Manok replaces the long-standing chook shop on Somerville Road on the small shopping strip at that road’s intersection with the Princes Highway.

Team CTS has visited twice now and had enjoyable meals on both occasions.

But we recommend keeping expectations in check.

Even with the new Manok crew on deck, this remains a chicken shop – albeit with a few twists – and fast food is the go.

The service is fine and we love and applaud that our in-house meals are served on enamelled plates with metal cutlery attending, though takeaway customers get styrofoam.




Our biggest hit by far is the chicken burger ($10, top photograph).

Bennie orders this and I’m envious.

He loves every mouthful.

It’s a simple thing – pulled roast chicken mixed with house-made peanut sauce and placed between the bun bookends with coleslaw.

How good does it look?

This is the sort of creation that could see Manok develop a bit of cult and end up on lists.




The chips ($3.50) that come with Bennie’s sandwich are fine, fresh and hot.




That makes them a step above those that accompanied my burger on an earlier visit – these were just OK.

The beef burger ($10, $1 extra for bacon) was pretty handy, too.

Much better than you’d routinely get in chicken shops across the city, though I did wish for a bit more charred beef flavour.




And the chicken?

There’s a choice of two – regular and lemon grass.

Both CTS pal Marnie and I go for the latter, with the above-pictured half chook and salad costing $12.90.

I find it enjoyable but a bit average.

I’d like a bit more flavour oomph from the chook – I end up wishing I’d ordered the regular and got the crusty, salty taste explosion that goes with old-school chicken shop poultry.

The Greek salad is acceptable.

But with this sort of chicken in this sort of setting, I’d much prefer to have a good coleslaw on hand.

Marnie is a long-time reader of CTS and we’ve been working towards actually meeting up for some time – sometimes these things can take a while!

She has filed the following:

“Hey Kenny, thanks for inviting me to help check out the place. It was lovely to meet you both. The chook was good but I think I needed some sort of dipping sauce to go with it. Something traditionally Filipino would be ace. Paying for nearly $3 (!) for gravy is a bit insulting IMO … I still think I prefer Pier Street charcoal chicken shop in Altona in terms of juiciness, tastiness and value for money though.

Nice to meet you, too!


Altona’s new burger joint




Between 2 Buns, 26 Pier Street, Altona.

A new burger place?

Another new burger place?

Truth is, I am suffering burger fatigue – after all, there is much more wonderful and affordable food in the world, particularly in Melbourne’s west.

Same goes for pulled pork – probably more so, actually.

But then, within days of Between 2 Buns opening on Pier Street in Altona, I start to see some feedback on social media – and it’s all good.

So off I go for a Saturday lunch.

Even early lunchtime, the place is building up a head of steam of curious and eager punters.

They all leave happy.

As do I.




The place is done out nicely in hip burger joint style with an accent on black and white.

But unlike some of the franchise places, this one hums with a family-run vibe and high pride in the what is being done and the food that is being prepared.

The menu (see below) doesn’t  explore any outer reaches of innovation or experimentation, but that’s fine, too.

There’s six burgers, six varieties of fries, hot dogs, “donut sundaes” and shakes.

How about dirty fries of a large fries, chilli beef, cheese sauce, bacon, M2B sauce and spring onion?

An $11 meal all on its own.

My ambitions are more modest, for this visit at least.




I get a classic burger ($9.50) with beef, cheese lettuce, tomato, red onion, mustard and B2B sauce, with bacon for $1 extra.

And a regular of the beer-battered fries.

Initially, my hearts sinks when I see the fries – they appear to have been doused in chicken salt.

Another thing of which I’ve had my fill!

But to my surprise, they don’t taste of chicken salt – they taste simply like good, hot fries.

The burger, as suggested by its name, is a classic burger.

Nothing fancy – just top-notch, fresh ingredients stuffed between the covers of a nicely soft bun, all making for a very enjoyable two handfuls.

The slightly chewy, slightly crisp bacon pushes things from good to very good very nicely.




What I’d like to see in such burger joints:

Hand-cut real-spud chips of the kind found at Woven, Dough! and Zigzag  – blemishes and all. As opposed to the reconstituted “beer-battered” variety – the potato equivalent of chicken nuggets.

At least one non-meat burger or sandwich – perhaps a nice, juicy, well-seasoned mushie burger? Vegetarians will never be a real important part of a set-up such as Between 2 Buns but offering at least one non-meat option would surely be a winning strategy for those families and groups with diverse eating habits.

(And I know of one Altona local – a vegetarian – who has already become an inevitable non-customer.)

Finally, if you’re going to offer hot dogs I most certainly consider it’s worth paying a bit more – and pricing accordingly – for a fine smoked frankfurter such as those sold by Andrew’s Choice in Yarraville.

Others mileage may vary.

We’ll revisit so Bennie can make his expert call on Between 2 Buns.

He’ll certainly go for one of the more grandiose burgers.

And, most likely, those sinful and seductive dirty fries.




Vintage cool and a cool burger




Vintage Loft, 99A Main Street, Bacchus Marsh
Little Lucky Cafe, 3 Grant Street, Bacchus Marsh. Phone: 0400 695 787

A road trip to the Ballan area has been enjoyable but ends in disappointment in terms of getting a story up for Consider The Sauce.

So now I’m stuck.

Do I race for home and hit, for lunch, any one of several places on the CTS wishlist?

Or do I cast around where I’m at and see what can I find – or perhaps even stumble upon?

Then I remember … there is something of much interest to check out in nearby Bacchus Marsh.




Not exactly food, perhaps, but what the hey …

The woman I am seeking is named Daisy.

I have met Daisy before – maybe even a couple of times.

But it was a bloody long time ago and the memory is little more than a tantalising blur. It was, I’m guessing, about 25 years ago.

Certainly, I cannot recall the precise circumstances.

But I DO know it involved Daisy’s dad, Keith.

Keith Glass was and is a lovely man, one with a long and colourful history in the Australian music scene – and, these days, very much beyond Australia. No need to go into the details here.*

Keith and I have never been close mates but we have been something more than mere acquaintances over the years.

A few years after the encounter(s) at which I met his daughter, Keith started reviewing country and related music for the Sunday Herald Sun when – quite preposterously – I was the entertainment boss there and in a position to arrange such things.

Keith did a great job during what was something of a purple patch for both of us – but, yep, all that was a bloody long time ago now.

And it seems like it.

Both our lives have changed – a lot.

For myself … well, regular readers know what that’s all about.


Well he now lives in Mobile, Alabama, where his zest and passion for music remain undiminished – so much so that he’s running a gung-ho operation called … yup, Mobile Records.


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So – sorry about the longwindedness! – that’s how I find myself climbing steep metal stairs to the floor above a chicken shop and a pizza joint in downtown Bacchus Marsh and entering Vintage Loft.

Keith and I stay in touch – if that’s the right term – through the magic of the internet, and Facebook in particular … so that’s how I came to know about Daisy’s new enterprise.




Daisy, naturally, doesn’t recall me – nor I her, really.

But it doesn’t matter.

I like checking out the pop culture riches of the business she has started with two other locals.




I like getting the back story of her journey from Windsor to Bacchus Marsh and family life.

And, of course, we discuss her father – perhaps his ears were burning?

Whatever … if you’re in the area, and especially if you’re retro-minded, CTS very much recommends a visit to Vintage Loft.




But what of lunch, what of food?

To be honest, the options in Bacchus Marsh look mighty threadbare.




But after we’ve taken the obligatory selfie to dispatch to Alabama, Daisy and her local knowledge come to the rescue.

She sends me just a few metres and just around the corner to a lovely place called Little Lucky Cafe, which is housed in an old cottage.

Thanks, Daisy – no way I would’ve found this place without you!




Of course, I warm immediately to an establishment that has such great floorboards …

The menu (see below) covers a range of breakfast and lunch options – and according to in-house signage, they do dinner on Fridays, too.




I go the cheese burger ($16) served with “rustic fries” and feel like a winner.

It’s a no-fuss straightahead cheese burger that is very fine.

The fries are superb.

*Hair (cast member), Boys Next Door/Birthday Party (manager), Missing Link Records (proprietor), Deep South Records (proprietor), Onie J Holy (alter ego), High In The Saddle (RRR), recording artiste.








Top-notch burgers in Kensington

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Mr Ed, 285 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9376 6444

“Cafe By Day, Burger Bar By Night” – that’s Mr Ed in Kensignton.

Having checked it out in the former regard – see here – it’s become a sometime coffee spot for me, and perhaps I’ll grab one of their terrific pies or sweeties.

Tonight we’re in the house to check out the burgers.

The previous night, Bennie I had perused the menu – see the Mr Ed website here.

Having looked at the varied ingredients and the prices, Bennie wondered aloud if the Mr Ed burgers would offer sufficient eating.

And well he might …

The prices range from $14.50 to $17.50.

Among the ingredients listed for the nine burgers are pickled zucchini, Hereford beef, bourbon bacon jam, confit baby tomatoes, tomatillo salsa and shredded kale.

Ooohhh – sounds fancy!

But will we get a good feed or dainty, boutique burgers gone in a mouthful?

Actually, at another time and on another visit I might choose to compile a meal just from the very alluring list of sides.

How about rainbow slaw, purple congo/kipfler/bullhorn pepper fry-up or merlot pickled onion rings?

Ahh, but not tonight – on with the burgers!




Bennie goes the Buddha burger of minute eye fillet, soft egg, kassler, oven dried tomatoes, crumbled aged cheddar, house relish, roasted garlic aioli ($16).

He loves it – a lot.

It’s proves to be a very messy proposition but that’s fine, of course.

He loves the way all the varied, high-falutin’ ingredients – including “the nicer than normal ham” and the runny egg – combine.

This burger maven rates it a very solid 8.5 or even 9.

Yes, that good.

Only glitch – and it’s only a very minor one – is he’s unused to having your real, actual meat in such a meal.

He’s (very) used to hamburger patties, whereas this is in effect a steak sanger and he grapples, but only very momentarily, with the eating skills required.

I go the Wagyu beef burger with pickled zucchini, raclette, baby leaves, house relish and mustard mayonnaise ($14.50, top photo) – and it, too, is a doozy.

The beef patty is about an inch thick, well seasoned and delicious, and the dressings and zucchini noodles are wonderful.




For sides, we get a small serve of the home-made fat chips ($4).

My heart sinks a little when I spy what appear to be wedges but … wedge-shaped they may be, but our chips are fabulous.

Once-boiled and once-fried, they have tender, hot innards that veritably scream: “Potato!”




We complete our meal with a mixed pickle plate of jalapenos, carrot, cucumber and cornichons ($5.50).

We both love pickles so we both love this.

The jalapenos are somewhat out of place but the cornichons hit the spot and the carrot and cucumber are true delights that are pickled somewhat in the sweet, delicate Japanese style.

We’ve enjoyed and admired the Mr Ed take on burgers.

We’ve received burgers that don’t see us waddling out of the place having completely stuffed ourselves.

But we consider the quality of the ingredients and cooking and the resultant flavours well worth the money we have paid.

We recommend the Mr Ed burgers to anyone who has become a bit jaded with 8bit and the like.

The service has been fine, Mr Ed is a fine place to spend an hour so and we reckon their burger endeavours deserve greater patronage than the handful of occupied tables we’ve observed this Friday night.

Altona cafe scores




PitStop Cafe, 300-330 Millers Road, Altona North. Phone: 9391 1775

Bennie and I wait about 10 minutes for a burgers and chips.

Here’s the thing – this wait is undoubtedly a Good Thing.

Because …

PitStop Cafe is situated in anew industrial-strength shopping precinct – nearby and adjacent are an Aldi, a Bunnings, Officeworks and a JB Hi-Fi.

It’s the kind of place, in other words, you’d expect wait time for a burger to be counted in seconds rather than minutes because said burgers would be lined up, wrapped and with lettuce wilting, in a bain marie.


That this not the case at PitStop – that our food is prepared from scratch with skill and devotion – is born out by the look and taste of our meals.




The chicken schnitzel burger ($9.50) is beaut.

The chook is crisp on the outer, moist and tasty on the inner.

The coleslaw does the job and the bun is fresh.

The cheese seems a little unnecessary.




The basic beef burger ($8.50) with bacon ($1.50) looks an absolute treat.

All is fresh and good.

But here’s another thing – the produce and presentation really does deserve better than the meat that comes with it.

It’s not bad, exactly, but it does have that sausage meat look, texture and flavour that is part of the deal in a typical fast-food Aussie-style burger – the kinds of things, in fact, that are seen regularly lined up in bain maries.

A step up in quality and commensurate lift in price would see, I’m pretty sure, PitStop Cafe match it with such fine burger establishments as Zigzag or 8Bit.

We share the burgers to great delight and get a small $3.50 serve of beer-battered chips with each.

The chips are so plentiful that a single serve would’ve easily sufficed.

They’re hot and fine – though I reckon they’re over-seasoned with chicken salt.

Bennie disagrees.




After our meal, I get talking to boss lady Allison who knows exactly where I’m at in terms of the beef burger meat.

Her business is new, growing and evolving and she’s keen on going for a sort-of two-tier approach,

For the Monday-to-Friday tradie business, such meat is what is expected and demanded.

And for that trade, and Allison, $10 seems to be some sort of uncrossable barrier.

At weekends, though, she is keen to up the vibe with ingredients of greater quality.

She reckons she can pull of the feat of catering to both the tradies and the foodies.

I reckon she’s right – and the good-looking, eggy breakfast dishes we see around us seem to confirm.

Allison is keen on sourcing goodies from westie sources and to that end is proud to offer Sunshine dimmies and Ka Pies, those ones we love and which have become a regular part of our home dinner routine.

We wish her well and will hopefully check back soon.

There’s no reason PitStop can not rise above the sort of greasy spoon industrial precinct places that abound around my Keilor/Tullamartine office location and become a foodie destination in its own right.



Edgewater eats goss

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Oh dear – it’s gone!

Lakehouse has closed.

And once more what seems like it could be, should be one of the jewels of western suburbs eating has that forlorn, vacated vibe.

The place has been stripped bare of furnishings and fittings.




The “for lease” sign that speaks of a “wonderful waterfront hospitality opportunity” calls for expressions of interest by April 22.

April just past or 2016?

We strongly suspect the former.




About three-quarters of the way up the hill, a branch of St Burgs looks about ready to roll.

It’s situated in a new apartment block and in one of eight ground-floor retail spaces, only one other of which is on its way to being occupied – by a laundrette.

The easy availability of flash burgers ‘n’ things will no doubt be both an exciting blessing and a bit of too much of a good thing for the local residents, of which there are many.

For the rest of us, access will not be easy – there’s no parking at all on adjacent streets.

The nearest is at the Edgewater shopping precinct further up the hill or down on the flat.