285 Racecourse Rd
Flemington, VIC 3031
Most people are pretty surprised when I tell them that working in a hospital is a complete junk-food fest. But when your workplace has a couple of thousand people, coming across cake on daily basis isn’t so far-fetched. And of course, there are all the lovely patients who thank us by fattening us up. Still, all the junk food I eat is more or less balanced out by the days where I don’t get anything to eat until 3pm, and the fact that I walk about 8km every day just in the normal course of my work.
That does however mean that deciding on a place for dinner becomes rather difficult. Depending on the day, I could either feel entirely justified for having a burger, or like I deserve nothing but salad. After spending an entire day oscillating between the gory burgers at Dude Food Man, and a place called Veggie Villa, I eventually settled for the sort-of-medium of Mr Ed.
Ok so despite being a cafe, Mr Ed’s dinner menu is nothing but burgers. They used to have salads too, but that section is gone now. Thankfully the burgers are more of the jazzy type, and none of them have mac’n’cheese in the centre, which makes it a step up from Dude Food Man, health-wise.
This little cafe in the heart of Flemington is minimalistic, but strikes a good balance between comfort and style. The black and white stencil art dominating one wall really serves to bring out the personality of the restaurant. Unfortunately all that polished wood and bare walls meant that every little sound bounces, and it was just my luck that on the night I visited, there was not only an after work drinks group, but an indignant baby as well.
I’ve really been getting into the chicken burgers recently, having had some stellar birds as of late. Compared to the buttermilk fried chicken burgers however, the Panko Black Sesame Crumbed Chicken Burger ($15.5) sounded refreshingly different. Unfortunately the execution fell short, as the whole thing tasted rather bland, despite the zesty promise of green mango salad and lemongrass mayo. I couldn’t fault the generosity of the chicken fillets though. Oddly enough, this also tasted more of fish than chicken, likely due to the combination of panko crumb and mayo.
There were a few beef burgers on the menu as well, and although it was a hard decision, I eventually chose the Hereford Beef and Basil Burger ($15). Now this is a burger indeed. First and foremost, the patty was moist and flavoursome, cooked to a crumbling pinkness with a slice of jarslberg melted over the top.
Equally as good was the sticky bourbon bacon jam, its sweet, smoky flavours bringing out the rich meatiness of the beef. Slap some fresh cos lettuce and a mash of pickled onion rings on top, and you have yourself a gourmet burger that doesn’t take itself overly seriously.
The Purple Congo, Kipfler, and Bullhorn Pepper Fry Up ($7) was the closest thing to a salad on the menu, unless you wanted to count a plate of pickles. This tasted exactly like what it said on the packet – a pile of vegetables in bright primary colours, fried until the edges were crispy.
With Melbourne’s burger scene becoming more distinguished by the day, it can really be hard for a restaurant to stand out. Although Mr Ed isn’t anything that’ll get the instagrammers going, there’s something to be said about a burger that sets out to do exactly what it intended. My experience here was a bit of a hit and miss, but had I stuck to the beef burgers, things probably would’ve turned out much better.
Rating: 12.5/20 – a horse a course is a course of horse etc etc.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.