Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew
One of my friends, lets call him Mr Bump, has recently moved into Fitzroy with his girlfriend, and he’s been slowly making his way around the restaurants in the area. One of the establishments that has caught his eye was Brother Burger on Brunswick Street: “Best burger in Melbourne” were the words that came out of his mouth. So with that kind of praise, we headed out to Brother Burger and gorged on the delicious burgers and accompaniments, not to mention the Moo Brew Pale Ale on tap. The place had produced a polished burger, in a location with great atmosphere and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.
Fast forward a month or so, and I convinced Marg that we should go for lunch. I wanted to share that Brother Burger magic that I had experienced the first time. I spent an entire week building it up. The delicious union rings, the brioche bun; I was so relentless in my campaign that you would have thought I worked there.
The lunch did not go well. It wasn’t very busy, which was surprising, but the lone waiter seemed to be completely allergic to the end of the bar where we were sitting. After waiting a painfully long time to order our food, we then waited even longer to receive it. At the end we didn’t even have the opportunity to ask the waiter for the bill, that’s how difficult it was, we just stood next to the cash register until he finally acknowledged us. It was a shame, because the food is rather good. I know Margaret’s going to say differently, but on my second visit I still enjoyed it. My burger had a Huxterburger feel to it, with just a little bit more polish, and the fat chips are a must. The moral of the story? Brother Burger is a great place to grab a bite with your mates, just don’t tell the missus.
Gerard came home a few weeks ago after dinner with some friends and was raving about Brother Burger. He said it was the best burger he’d had in Melbourne. Given how many burgers Gerard eats, that got me interested. So, despite my reservations about having almost every meal out recently be a burger (see my rant in discussion of Parlour Diner), I agreed to go and try it out.
I liked the atmosphere at Brother Burger and I loved the bar stools, I am going to go ahead and claim that it was the most comfortable bar stool I’ve sat on in Melbourne. The bar itself is also great, an extra long slab of stone that runs along one side of the open kitchen and seats about 20.
Unfortunately what I didn’t love was the food. There were some good things (like the chips, see below) but I was just completely whelmed by the burger. Underwhelmed even. Maybe I just made a bad ordering choice, maybe my expectations were too high, who knows. All I know is that I walked away disappointed.
We shared a side of the fat chips ($6). These were the highlight of the meal, they were incredibly crispy and addictive. I would go back and just eat these.
We also shared the onion rings ($7). They were ok. Personally we prefer the versions at Parlour Diner and Rockwell & Sons though.
In terms of burgers, Gerard had the lot (bacon, egg, cheese, pineapple, lettuce, pickles, onion and mayo – $17). At $17, I think that this burger is pushing the limits of what can be charged for a bun and meat that doesn’t even come with chips.
A friend who was with us for lunch had the royal blue (blue cheese, bacon, onion and pickles – $15). This was probably the pick of the burgers and has won over a number of my friends.
I had the Jolly Jumbuck (lamb burger with beetroot, lettuce, pickles, preserved lemon and minted yoghurt – $15). I was so excited about this burger, I wanted to think it was great, heck, I would have been happy with just enjoying it! I didn’t enjoy it. I liked the toppings and thought the combination was good but the patty really let the whole burger down. It was dry, it was chewy and it just wasn’t good. Maybe I caught the lamb on a bad day, but I wouldn’t risk ordering it again to find out.
In the end
I’ve heard good things about the burgers (including from Gerard!) but when we visited together they just weren’t very good. Let’s call them variable at best.