There’s no doubt about it: I’m an eater. I’ve embarrassed myself on dates and I’m constantly putting away more food than Simon. It takes untold restraint for me to leave anything on my plate, so to be defeated by a burger means it’s a pretty serious feed.
The Dude Food Man, I salute you.
I’ve been meaning to hit up this top-rated Melbourne burger haven for months, but with easy access to Grand Trailer Park Taverna, Rockwell & Sons and 8Bit, the cross-town trek to Essendon always seemed like too big a task.
But after seeing their groan-inducing snaps pop up on Instagram on a slightly seedy Saturday morning, Simon and I decided the time was right. Within 30 minutes, we pulled up at the no-frills diner on Buckley Street, ready to make a dent in the menu.
I zeroed in on the Dude Burger ($13), while Simon pondered the Ultimate Double Cheese & Bacon Burger ($16), before being strong-armed into ordering the Beasty Boy special ($16) by the server.
From our stools at the window, we had a front-row view of the burger masters at work. It was a two-person assembly job that saw one dude work the grill (meat, onions and cheese) and another chap toast, top and sauce the buns. After they’d built them, they carefully slipped them into a paper pocket, then plopped them in a plastic diner basket.
First up, it has to be said, these are good-looking burgers.
I doubt I’ve ever seen a more photogenic pair. My Dude Burger (top) was a textbook presentation of melting, fluro-hued cheese, dribbles of sauce, a flurry of iceberg and a slip of tomato poking out like a tongue. Along with the medium-rare patty, it was all tucked neatly inside a buttery, sesame-dusted brioche bun. And I reckon it tasted even better than it looked. I could have happily held on to this saucy little number until the end, but Simon and I had decided to share, so I was committed to swapping at the halfway mark.
Ahh the Beasty Boy. Being a grunge child of the Nineties, the Beastie Boys were on high rotation on the old Sony walkman. And after sinking my teeth into what remained of this dribbling hunk of a burger, the first words that sprung to mind were “I’m up to my neck like Toulouse Lautrec”. I got three bites in, four tops, before I surrendered to the heft of two patties, a double serve of cheese (I’m guessing this equates to four+ slices), crisp rashes of bacon, a fistful of pickled jalapenos and a stream of creamy hot sauce.
Am I proud that I left a quarter of a burger sitting there in a pool of its own juices? Not at all. Was I off my game? Was the Beasty too much beast for me? Whatever the reason, for this one meal, surrounded by burly blokes ordering two burgers apiece, I felt the most ladylike I have in a long time. So thank you Dude Food Man, I’m happy to call you the winner for this round.