As an American I do consider myself to be a Burger connoisseur of sorts. I have been raised on burgers both of the cheese burgering variety as well as the ham. I know what I like and I know what tastes good. As I travel the world I keep eating one after another, finding out what countries can do it just right.
It's all about keeping the burger respectful and adding a unique flare that doesn't make me feel like I'm eating an imitation of what they think an American burger should taste like.
What you are witnessing now is part one of a three part series Burger vs Burger: England vs Australia. Round 1 is the regular burgers facing off. Round 2 pits a country specific unique burger. And Round 3 is the ridiculous burger category.
What makes the perfect all around Cheese Burger? It takes the right mix of ground meats as well as the right toppings. Don't go cheap on your buns either. They are the foundation of a good burger. They keep things in all the right places and if they good, the insides won't fall out.
At a pub in the Midlands, we order a burger. This burger is said to be the best in town. That means any other burger, by definition, will be less than this.
What they do right: The burger comes with a side of chips (which should be international law & enforced by Interpol) and salad. They know to use good quality cheese but they are British, after all, and Brits know cheese. Letting the cheese melt over the burger patty is proper burger creating protocol. The bun was toasted and nice and held everything together. The structure held in place just long enough for me to devour the whole thing without having to change my shirt. Always a plus.
I also allow a single bonus point for the local beverage which in this case was a pint of Cask Ale.
What they need work on: The burger was a bit overcooked, making the patty dry. Perhaps it was the mince used which dried it out, I can't tell for sure. What I do know is I don't see much cattle hoofing around the English countryside so I can't expect it to be perfect. Perhaps if this was a Lamburger...
The salad on the side was delightful, but if I was trying to be healthy I wouldn't have ordered a burger in the first place.
Overall, the impression I got from this was that, while they gave an honest effort, I don't feel the burger was made with love. I do think it works as your bog standard bar fare, but I wouldn't serve this at a dinner party.
Australia has embraced the burger love and taken it to a whole new level, not necessarily for the better. They do like their toppings and sometimes this makes their burgers too big for my mouth hole. I think the love for burgers grew based on the popularity of BBQ which, due to their pleasant year round weather, they use year round.
This contender was happily purchased in Adelaide, at Jensen's Cafe, located in the Central Market. The chap behind the counter would not strike you as a burger prodigy, but the result was not disappointing. On the menu, it was titled the Aussie Burger. Let's see how it stacks up.
What was good: They do like their toppings. A regular topping on burgers, and even sandwiches, is sliced beetroot. That wouldn't fly over in the USA, but hey, this is the land down under and beetroot does grow underground. What I have seen in the states at select burger providers is a choice of fried egg as a topping. While not the norm back home, it is a pretty consistent option in Australia.
The burgers complete list of toppings included the following: Fried egg, cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, bacon, BBQ sauce and the burger patty. That considered, architecture was sturdy, allowing me to put it down and pick it back up a couple times without suffering complete burger meltdown.
The side of chips was just right, but they didn't have the greatest selection of drinks. The coffee was delicious but not deserving of the potentially game changing bonus point.
What could be better: You do notice the sheen of grease that coats the outside of the bun? That is not the most mouthwatering glisten ever to hit my eye. But again, if I wanted to be healthy I would have ordered something else. What I don't like about this is how it leaves that smell of burger on my hands after I have finished eating. That smell doesn't wash off right away.
As far as construction goes, I don't know how you could have made this burger better. This "Jensen" fellow seems to have found a pleasant mix of ingredients without too much burger overflow, as has been witnessed in other Australian burger resalers.
The score: At the end of round 1 Australia has the lead. This burger was delicious and juicy in all the right places.
Stay tuned for round 2, Unique Burgers. Coming soon.
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