Barney’s burger

Barney Allen’s

14 Fitzroy St, St Kilda

Barney Allen's

He says:
Barney, Barney, Barney, what has happened to you? Marg use to rave on and on suggest that you had one of the most underrated burgers in Melbourne. And the first time I went, I was inclined to agree with her. The polenta chips just melted in my mouth, and the burger was so tasty it had to be buttered to the plate to stop it from running away.

Saturday was a different story. We walked into the establishment and I was immediately confused about what I was suppose to do. Was there table service? Did you just grab a table? Did you have to order at the bar? Luckily there was a combination of all three. Apparently you’re meant to order at the bar, but one of the waitresses showed us to a table, but didn’t supply us with the menu, which I then had to retrieve from the bar. Luckily the ordering process was rather painless, and the food started arriving shortly after.

The polenta chips with the spicy dipping sauce were as always amazing. I would come back again just for these. The edibility of polenta in chip form should not be underestimated.

Once we’d greedily consumed the polenta chips our burgers arrived, with a rather large unexpected side of regular fries (which we hadn’t ordered). On reflection, this surprise addition ruined the burger for me. They were oily, numerous, and probably better consumed at some kind of sporting event. The burger itself lacked the outrageous buttered bottom that I’d enjoyed previously, and the bread tasted a little cheap. The actual contents were as juicy and delicious as I’d been expecting, and it’s unfortunate that the other items let them down.

Would I recommend that you go to Barney Allen’s? Yes. The polenta chips alone are worth the cross-town jaunt, and the burger – in its prime – is a fantastic specimen. Unfortunately, Saturday’s experience failed to live up to that. For Barney’s sake, I’m hoping it was just a momentary slip and it can quickly reclaim its buttery glory.

Bar tables

She says:
Barney Allen’s in St Kilda, run by TV chef Ian Hewitson of pre-preston et al fame, is a place close to my heart and probably my favourite place in Melbourne to get a burger. It’s a comfy pub on Fitzroy St that serves good, simple food.  Even as a young girl  watching Hewy on TV pouring ‘just a little’ more oil into everything I always thought to myself, ‘he looks like a man who knows a good burger’, and that he does. The Burger (more details below, and yes it deserves both the capital ‘T’ and ‘B’) is definitely the draw for this place.

The interior of Barney’s is warm with lots of red walls, high bar tables and often Hewy himself sitting at the bar and watching you eat and maybe salivating a little (yes, sometimes this verges a little on creepy but I always feel it enhances the experience).

While I barely ever order anything other than the burger the menu offers a variety of good value basics like chicken, steak, schnitzels and souvlakis. Definitely not a destination for the health conscious, I was very close to being craned out the window after lunch.

All up I like this place a lot, it’s casual, friendly and delicious. Definitely one of my go-tos for a casual meal or drink when I’m out St Kilda way, or even when I’m not.

We ate:
We both had a Barney Allen burger ($12.50, $15.00 with fries). We also started with a serve of the parmesan crumbed polenta chips with sweet chili mayo ($10).

The polenta chips are fat fingers of crispy, salty, buttery deliciousness. They come in serves of around 7, but you’d be lucky to be able to eat more than about 3 each. The dipping sauce is also pretty tasty, if you’re like us you’ll struggle to avoid double dipping.

More polenta chips

The burgers are a classic at Barney’s. From the bottom up, they’ve built with mayo, beetroot, lettuce, tomato, an unusually thick beef patty, onion, cheese and bacon and finally a caramelised onion chutney.

Mmmm, burger

These burgers are not a small undertaking. They are a pretty substantial meal. Marg can’t fit it in her mouth and has to resort to dissecting it piece by piece. It’s not a great look.

Dissecting burger

Barney Allen's on Urbanspoon

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