We visited The Burger Lounge a few years back as part of our brief (and unpopular) guest stint doing veggie burgers on The Burger Adventure. That post has disappeared from the internet, so we decided we should get back out there and do it again. Added bonus: Cindy's aunt and our most reliable cat-sitter lives in that direction, so we could visit her rather than dragging her into the city as we usually do. Sadly, our camera battery crapped out just as we sat down, so you're stuck with low-quality phone photos on this post.
The Burger Lounge is a surprisingly hyped-up place in Eltham, riding the current wave of burger-obsession that has taken over Melbourne. It's pitched just a notch or two higher than somewhere like Grill'd, so it's basically high-end fast food. The setting is casual, reasonably stylish and very, very busy - they've clearly found a popular niche. There's a mix of communal and smaller tables and a menu above the counter where you do your ordering. It's a huge menu, featuring five vego options plus salads, sides etc. All the burgers can be done gluten-free, and I reckon at least two of them would be easily veganisable (just by dropping/swapping aioli/yoghurt, etc). We split three of them between the three of us.
First up: the portobello (whole portobello mushroom, chargrilled capsicum, crispy zucchini, grilled haloumi, caramelised onion, rocket, semi-dry tomato, garlic & basil pesto and relish, $11.50 + $1 for bonus onion rings).
They're big burgers, and very difficult to cut into neat thirds, but Cindy did a pretty good job of it. The mushroom patty was excellent - marinated in something that took it beyond the basic mushroom burger. It was heavy with accompaniments too, which were all delicious but meant that I soon had pesto, relish and bits of capsicum all over my face - there's no way to eat this neatly.
Second up was the pumpkin: homemade roasted pumpkin and kumera patty with feta, walnuts and basil pesto, coated with panko crumbs, with spinach, beetroot relish and herb aioli ($11.50).
We added some excellent herbed chips ($3.50) on the side, which I enjoyed even more than the onion rings. The burger itself was solid as well - the patty wasn't hugely flavourful, but it held together well and provided a vessel for the pesto, relish and aioli.
Finally, the tofu (Thai-style marinated tofu, with shredded carrot, lime chutney, pickled cucumber, mixed greens, tomato, red onion and herb aioli, $10.50).
This was the most unwieldy of them all, and was basically falling apart before we even started on it. Still, it was fresh and tasty, providing at least the illusion of health. The tofu had soaked up a mild sweet chilli flavour, and the chutney and aioli kept things interesting.
It's great that The Burger Lounge provide such a wealth of vegetarian options - the burgers are varied and loaded up with flavours. In fact, the one minor criticism I'd make is that they all come slathered in so many condiments that you sometimes lose the distinct flavour of the burger itself. Lucky that the condiments are tasty I guess. The chips and onion rings were crispy and salty, the buns soft and floury without being too sugary, and the service efficient. I'm not sure we'll be back out Eltham way anytime too soon, but when we are, it'll be hard to not to hit up The Burger Lounge for a repeat visit.
There's lots of blog-love for The Burger Lounge - check out: grazing panda, Burger Friday, Suburban Culinary Adventure, multicultural melbourne, The Burger Adventure, and so she ate, the pink leopard, Melbourne Date Night, breadfortheboys, A Fat Man's Guide to Pleasure, Gastronomical ramblings and The World Loves Melbourne.
The Burger Lounge
902 Main Rd, Eltham
902 Main Rd, Eltham
Veggie burgers: $10.50-$11.50
Accessibility: There are some tables and chairs at the front, with a communal table and some bench seats up a step or three. The high counter that you have to order at is also on the level up. The restaurant is pretty crowded, seemingly at all times. The unisex toilet is on the upper level and is quite narrow.