Knowing that I love nothing more than to sink my teeth into bun, beef and cheese, the kind folk at Brother Burger invited me to check out their new burger restaurant in South Yarra. And it’s a cracker.
When I wrote my guide to the best places to eat in South Yarra, there was one gaping hole in the list: a knockout burger joint. Well ladies and gents, I’m happy to report that there’s now a contender south of the river: Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew.
Building on the success of their Fitzroy original, the Brothers have hit the motherlode with their southern site, settling into the space once occupied by Café Greco. It’s a monster of a room, seating more than 200 diners at a mix of stools, communal tables, and the original ruby-hued booths (these curvaceous leather nooks are the pick of the spots, by the way).
Lining the walls are some 800 vintage meat mincers, sourced by owner Marcelo Tummino (the brains behind Melbourne heavyweights The European and The Supper Club). Back-lit and arranged as they are, they act as a slightly sadistic signpost that these guys take their beef seriously.
And do they ever, using nothing but 100 per cent full-blood wagyu for their standout patties.
I zeroed in on the Hot Stuff ($14.80), which came with two slabs of bacon, cheese, mustard mayo, chilli jam and a DIY pile of pickled jalapenos (natch, I scoffed them all). The burger accessories were all spot on, but the star of the show was that pink-centred patty, simply seasoned with salt and pepper and scarred with charry grill marks. It’s worth noting that medium is the default cooking position, so speak up if blush-pink isn’t your thing – otherwise, there will be blood.
Simon went the classic route with The Jane ($11.80), a burger purist’s assembly of pickles, lettuce, mustard mayo, and a double serve of cheese ($2.40 – you’ll want to chip in for that second slice, by the way). The house-baked sesame buns are more than up to the challenge presented by those dribbly wagyu-mayo juices, maintaining structural integrity right up until the final bite.
When it comes to the sides, I’d suggest skipping the so-so french fries ($4.60) in favour of the onion rings ($5.60), a happy union of salty, crunchy batter and sweet, fleshy onion. Bonus points for being gluten-free.
The other string to the Brother’s bow is the line up of 15 craft beers and ciders on tap. The Hills Cider Co ‘Bring Back the Funk’ chardonnay-barrel-aged cider ($7 a glass) is a thing of beauty – and it’s light on the fizz so there’s more room for burger. There are also boozed up milkshakes, such as the butterscotch number charged with 666 Butter vodka (at the wallet-stinging price of $17), a tiny wine list, and some salady things for those who don’t burger.
Oh Brother, looks like I’ll be seeing you soon.
Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew
520 Chapel St, South Yarra
Open Fri–Sat midday-2am; Sun-Thu midday–11pm