Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Burger Diaries - Part 1: Stonrs, Stephen Street

It has begun, the search for the Elysian burger, a meaty bun of apex design, the oft cited sandwich of yore. It will be a burger of paradise, juicy, well tended, correctly embraced, attractive, moreish, complete. It will be an alien thing; farther than I have seen, complex and simple, refined and inspired. It will be greater than any of mine, better than my hands and better than my kitchen. It will be found, but where? And when?

The hunt began at Stonrs on Stephen St. No, that's not a typo, that's how they spell it. I assume they think it’s ghetto. The guys who run it have a couple of 'Darwins' around the corner, one cafĂ© and one restaurant. Stonrs, their latest effort, offers fusion food in a fusion setting. Yawn, I here you say. Yes, there is a bit of that. The menu is a selection of no brainers, from chicken supreme to Caesar salad to a range of obvious burgers. Or so you'd think. I chose the Arturs organic option, with bacon and chilli jam, and a bottle of their malbec. It was a surprise. The meat came through with a fresh strength once the sweet opening mellowed. The texture was engulfing and complete, succulent and crispy.

The service was odd. It felt like the kitchen was run by the West, and the floor by the East. The front of house was neat, the staff were deferential, and the atmosphere was doughy. I was awarded cheap, undeserved respect for my custom and it was given with awkward hesitation, like an adolescent kissing his date's mother. When the food came it was a refreshing interlude. It spoke to me in its rustic, sloppy way. It told me to chill out, relax, relate. It was the older brother that leaned over the garden wall and said 'pass me a burger bro, I'm fucking starving.'

In any case, this is about the burger.... I could do it better, but not much.

Attack: Sweet, Peaked -> 2.0 (Handicap included)
Middle: Pungent, Full Body -> 3.0
Finish: Lasting, Engulfing, Gradual -> 3.0

DIARIT: 8.0/10

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