Falling off the edge of the world

The Bottom End

579 Little Collins Street, CBD

There are mermaids, maybe it is pirate themed after all.

He says:
Walking into The Bottom End is like stepping back into a 50s diner that’s been ravaged by The Hatter. It mixes wholesome diner style booths with eclectic mermaid statues and dim lighting that I’d describe as “intimate” at best.

The menu has a great mix of American style items with traditional Hamburgers, Dawgs and even some Philly Cheese Steak. For those not feeling as peckish, there are three different types of fries, and even deep fried mac and cheese balls for the more adventurous. The matching cocktail menu is even more extensive. I ended up trying the very manly Cherry Belle (Mozart Gold, Malibu, Cherry Brandy, and Pineapple Juice).

To be honest, it sort of reminded me of The Dip in Sydney, just with a better fit-out, but without as much polish in the menu.  My Philly Cheese Steak, with its amazing drizzled cheese, lacked any real kick. And the fries, although deliciously crispy, were few and far between (don’t be deceived by the photo below). The Bottom End is, at its heart, a bar with a good selection of food. It’s the kind of place you go to have a few drinks with your mates, and then grab a bite to eat. It’s not necessarily somewhere that you go to just for dinner. With that in mind, head to The Bottom End, you’ll enjoy it. And get a Cherry Belle. Manly.

The bar

She says:
When we were at The Bottom End I tweeted something about having a good burger in the Baghdad end of Collins St. If I haven’t mentioned before I should clarify now that the worse half of Collins Street is where I call home during the week and all insults are both justified and made with love, or maybe a little love-hate. Anyway, back to The Bottom End. A couple weeks ago I had 3 friends all send me a link to The Burger Adventure’s review of The Bottom End within the space of 24 hours. With that kind of buzz and drool I knew I had to try it.

The recently opened TBE is located in a cavernous former irish pub on Little Collins street between King and Spencer. There’s no two ways about, this is the bottom end of the world with nothing of note around (unless you frequent the clubs clustered on King St). Maybe this middle of nowhereish location is why TBE seems to be trying to be something of an everything to every man, woman and in-between. This self-proclaimed pub/diner/disco is trying to cover all the bases (including by recently introducing a ‘girlfriend salad’ into the otherwise heavily dude and saturated fat focussed menu). The decor reflects the broad and possibly inconsistent ambitions of TBE, it takes my prize for the most eclectic, poorly lit and vaguely pirate themed fit out I’ve seen. There is a trophy.  I did like the random mermaid statues in arches (as seen above).

The menu is squarely in the increasingly popular American diner style category. I was very excited by the menu and it mainly delivered. I don’t think it’s the best on offer in Melbourne – I give that honour to Gasometer - but it is certainly convenient if you’re in the city – dangerously convenient for me, especially with the recently announced Wed – Fri lunch hours. Given that TBE has only  been open for around a month I don’t want to judge the service or quality too harshly, it was pretty good on our visit and I think with a little time to grow and settle into a niche this could become a staple of the late (and with a kitchen open until 5am very, very late) food scene. Definitely one to watch.

We ate:
PE and I both went for the bottom end cheesy bacon burger (beef, bacon, gruyere, smoked dutch, special sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles on brioche with a side of fries – $16). The thought of this burger had had me salivating all week. In real life, it delivered. I wouldn’t say it’s the best burger I’ve had (or the best burger I’ve had in the city) but it was worth the wait. The two types of cheese were a highlight. The bacon was also super crispy and PE’s favourite part.

Cheese and bacon burger

Colin Hill tried the po boy (prawn, chorizo, egg, cos lettuce, tomato and creole sauce on a white roll with a side of fries- $16). The reports were good.

Po boy

Gerard had the philly cheese steak (chopped scotch fillet, green capsicum, fried onions and provolone cheese wizz on a white roll – $16). Gerard liked it but thought that it was ‘missing something’. We didn’t figure out what the something was, but we did figure out that we liked the cheese.

Philly cheese steak

We also ordered a serve of the mac ‘n’ cheese balls with aioli for the table ($10). They were… interesting. They were basically little balls of macaroni and cheese crumbed and fried like an arancini. They were ok, but I’m not sure that I would have them again. I feel that they didn’t quite live up to their novelty food potential.

Mac'n cheese balls

In the end:
The sign out the front claims that The Bottom End has the city’s best burgers. Is that true? Probably not. They’re doing a good job of trying though. If you like American food and are willing to brave the wrong end of town it’s worth checking out.

The city's best burgers? Debatable.

The Bottom End on Urbanspoon

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