FYI: Gourmet burgers are back. With a vengeance. Everyone is jumping onto the connoisseur burger bandwagon, where a bun, meat patty and salad can be an epicurean’s delight or skilled manual worker’s relish. Grill’d and Burger Urge first led the charge as quality gourmet burger characters, with Carolina Kitchen in Coorparoo emerging as quite the burger boutique specialist. The Laneway in The City, FAB Fish and Burger Grill at The Barracks and Shady Palms Cafe & Bar in Stones Corner have steadily arrived as leaders in sliders and beefsteak, with the Miel Container, Philip Johnston’s Howzat and Pony Dining recently joining in The City’s gourmet frikadelle racket. Fitspo is so 2012 with plenty of alternatives to paying $30+ readily available for lunchtime eats.
And a particularly grand alternative comes in the form of The Fox Hotel in South Brisbane. From 12 – 3pm daily, Longbar offers a gourmet burger served with shoestring fries and a beverage (alcoholic or not) for the pocket change of $15. Clearly suited to the working crowd (and right through for long lazy weekends), be spoilt for choice with five gourmet burgers on the menu. While the price is a working worker’s petty cash, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s reflective of the portion sizes too, since the servings are quite generous. Studies show productivity increases when on a full stomach, right? Or alternately, that siestas are good for you, yeh?
Aussie meat lovers are requited in their love for all things ground chuck, would a ground chuck chuck. The half pound cheeseburger with American cheddar, jalapeno relish and dill pickle is definitely for those brave people who love things really, really hot. The jalapeno relish sets the tastebuds on fire breathing
flames new life into the familiar burger-of-cheese. The XXXX Gold or Hahn’s Superdry will quench that jalapeno blaze nicely. For extra excess, enjoy smoky BBQ on the side: the overtones of smokiness in this ubiquitous condiment recasts the humble BBQ sauce into something quite special. Since excess is the way to go, a house red will complement such an exuberant move.
Meanwhile, the chargrilled lamb, haloumi, honey mustard mayo, rocket and beetroot jam is an exotic journey around the Mediterranean, highlighting the conventional flavours of Greece; the honey mustard mayo uniting with the beetroot jam a gastronomist’s stamp of approval. This burger is the perfect respite for those who are on their work break and wishing they were anywhere else but returning to the office. Enjoy with a house white to maintain that feeling of jetsetting giddiness.
Seafood lovers will be especially pleased – particularly during this fun period of Lent – with the lemon and herb crumbed barramundi on corn roll with baby cos lettuce, harissa and aioli or tempura soft shell crab on a brioche bun with miso mayonnaise and wakame salad. This barra sandwich takes the “humble fish burger” to a level of unbelievableness. The fish manages to retain its juices whilst enveloped in a crust of lemon and herb magic, the harissa simultaneously a pleasingly fiery addition blending beautifully with the aioli as a bewitching adventure for the palate.
The soft shell crab is definitely for the hedonists; the tempura crab an indulgent option with the miso mayonnaise and brioche bun light and pleasant on the appetite. This is perfectly suited to the ladies who love to do ladies things – like keep their girlish figure. Burgers are an indulgent slightly-carby meal – there’s no two ways about it. But leave it to a glass of house bubbles to break down that pesky starch.
Finally, lettuce leaf lovers haven’t been forgotten either, with spicy chickpea fritter on light rye with coriander yoghurt, baby spinach and tomato jam. The fritter is a flavoursome and salubrious stand-in for this meat-less dish; the coriander yoghurt and tomato jam an embellishment to this vegetarian rose. Who thought being a rabbit could mean delicious no-meat this way cometh? And since you’re being so wholesome, wash down with a soda water. Thy body is a pantheon – allow no toxins of any sort to pollute it (or forever be branded hip-o-crit).
The holy trinity of a quality bakery, meat and salad defines the greatness in a burger. And the gourmet burger takes that further, interpreted by the choice and selection of produce, where wagyu or kobe replaces ground beef trimmings, or rocket is used in lieu of iceberg (here’s looking at you Golden Arches). But The Fox Hotel pushes their gourmet burgers up a whole new level; taking the homespun pleasure of an indulgent carb-fortified meal, reconstructing with beautiful victuals and pairing with mixed greens for intensity, and then, through the beauty of their sauces, transform this humble meal from the prosaic to the exceptional. Add their excellent price, and a trip down the fox hole might be just what HR orders. It’s a champagne life on a beer budget right here.
Photo Credit: Lady Lex