Sometimes you don’t want a Wagyu beef burger furnished with biodynamic vegetables and tomato sauce made from tomatoes only harvested during a full moon. You want a good old fashioned hamburger. Like the one from your local fish and chip shop, except you want it to be a little better. You want it to be juicer, fresher, and just heartier in general. Welcome to Burger Monster.
Burger Monster was previously located in a little laneway near the corner of Elizabeth and Collins Street, which is where I first discovered this little gem. It was almost on the weekly lunch fixture for me. Apart from the guy dressing up in the giant burger suit, and the impossibly small amount of table space, it bucked the trend of the burger market by being very affordable and unpretentious. Unfortunately when it moved to the Docklands I assumed that they’d sailed off the edge of the earth.
It’s just a good old fashioned burger. You need to hold it with two hands and hold on for dear life as all manner of juices and condiments drip out of it. It’s messy. Very messy. But that’s part of the charm, it’s supposed to go everywhere, you’re supposed to have three quarters of it on your face. It’ll transport you back to your childhood when you hadn’t heard of Peri-Peri or aioli, and it should be applauded for that. If you’re in the area, and you’re after a bite to eat and a trip down memory lane, you can’t go wrong with Burger Monster. At the very least you can laugh the partially reconstructed wheel.
Weekend before last Gerard and I went on the first of a series of competitive double dates with my best friend and her boyfriend-who-gave-her-diamond (yes, competitive dates are a thing and yes, we are those people). Anyway, we thought we’d face off in the ultimate test of athleticism, sportsmanship and sledging skills – mini golf. I also though it’d be funny given that both the boys are well over 6 feet tall and look hilarious stooped over tiny golf clubs. We were planning to head to Gerard’s favourite mini golf course out in Chirnside Park (yes, he has a favourite mini golf course – I respect that) but ran out of time so decided to just go for the place at Docklands. For anyone who hasn’t heard of it (which I’m going to go right ahead and assume is everyone) there is an indoor glow in the dark/Australiana themed mini golf course at Harbour Town shopping centre.
I’ve never been to Harbour Town before and it was a seriously weird experience. I’ve never been to such an eerily quiet shopping centre (other than one in Winnipeg on a day when all the shops were closed and the only people inside were a handful of homeless guys roaming the halls trying to keep warm), it felt a little like there had been a zombie apocolypse and we were the last people on earth. The Costco looked to be packed, but everything else was pretty much deserted, maybe Sunday afternoon isn’t a busy time for leisure activities? We made the mistake of looking at a shirt outside a shop and were followed into the street by the desperate salesman who dragged us inside and tried to sell us something, anything. He wasn’t doing a very good job though, when your ‘shop attendant small talk’ conversation goes: disenchanted-employee “So where are you from?”, us “Melbourne”, disenchanted-employee “Oh, very nice. Have you been to Melbourne before?”… I think you have some room for improvement. Also, there are just giant pieces of the observation wheel lying around next to the carparks etc, bizarre. Shopping centre general weirdness aside the mini golf course was one of the most lol places I’ve been. Just so rubbish and half hearted. The guy at the front desk clearly knew this, he didn’t even bother saying a single word to us for a 3 minutes after we walked in, looked at him and then waited at the desk. One of my favourite features was a set of two holes which seemed to be the same physical hole, just starting from different angles. Let’s be honest here though, no one is reading this for reviews of mini golf courses or shopping centres so I should probably move this right along to the food portion of the day.
After we finished up with golf (for the record it was a really close match with even scores at 9 holes and Gerard and I losing by 1 point or whatever they call them in golf) we navigated around the magic that is Harbour Town to track down what had been Gerard’s favourite CBD burger venue before it moved dock-wards. We found that the Burger Monster was miraculously still there and open. It’s basically an outdoor foodcourt shop so there’s nothing special to say about the location or fit out etc. I was surprised by the burgers though, they definitely exceeded expectations. In fact, they were so good that I got a tram down there from work on a Tuesday and had one for lunch.
I had a hamburger with cheese and bacon which also includes lettuce, tomato, grilled onions and ‘special sauce’ ($7.85). This isn’t a gourmet burger but I really enjoyed it. It was fresh and juicy (a little too juicy to eat without making a huge mess), the sauce was good. It was just a good burger. Really satisfying. When I went back for a weekday lunch I was ‘healthy’ and skipped the bacon by ordering a hamburger with cheese instead ($6.75). If I had to say I was disappointed with anything about these burgers it’d be the bread, it’s fine but not amazing.
Gerard had the hamburger with the lot which comes with cheese, bacon, egg, grilled pineapple, beetroot, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions and monster sauce ($9.95). This burger did what I thought was impossible, for possibly the first time ever Gerard made more of a mess eating than I did. It was amazing (both the burger and the feeling of not being the biggest clutz at the table).
My best friend and her boy shared a chicken burger with lettuce, tomato, grilled onions and mayo ($8.15) and a small chips with a bottle of tabasco. Sharing was probably a good idea given that it was only about 4.30. Luckily Gerard and I recovered by turning it into our dinner. That’s totes fine right?
We also all had some crinkle cut chips with aioli (chips: $2.45 for small, $3.60 medium, $4.60 large; chip dips: $0.90 each for choice of mayo, aioli, monster sauce, special sauce, spicy mayo, BBQ sauce or sweet chilli). The chips can also be served with gravy ($0.90) or gracy and cheese ($1.90). The thought of the chips with gravy and cheese is probably going to get me back there pretty soon.
The final word:
Great simple burgers at great prices but in a pretty inconvenient location if you’re coming from anywhere other than Costco.