February 27, 2016
We're still working our way through our Cheap Eats 2006 project, revisiting places from the first copy of The Cheap Eats Guide that we bought way back when we moved to Melbourne. On the last Saturday of summer, we headed back to Albert Park for an early dinner in the sunshine at Andrew's Hamburgers. They pre-date the American-driven burger craze that's swept through Melbourne in the past five years or so by about 60 years, first opening in 1939 and coming up with the current burger recipe in 1957.
They've put some tables on the footpath outside, but otherwise not much have changed: the menu's the same, the burgers are the same and the steady stream of customers is the same. Prices have crept up alongside inflation - from $7 for a veggie burger in 2007 to $10 in 2016 - pretty reasonable really.
Andrew's aren't in a hurry to change a formula that works for them. We grabbed one of their veggie burgers (with a homemade patty based on potato, sweet potato and pumpkin, with coriander, feta and parsley), a couple of potato cakes ($1.50 each) and a small serve of chips ($3). The potato cakes were uninspired, but the golden, salty chips hit the spot nicely. From what we could tell, the veggie patties are cooked on the same grill as the beef and chicken burgers, which is probably a turn off for some vegos.
The burger is a classically messy takeaway meal with salad spilling out everywhere. The patty is soft and pretty plain - the sauce and gooey cheese are doing most of the work flavour-wise. Veggie burgers at places like Howler and B.East are streets ahead of this offering (although they charge more as well to be fair).
Andrew's does a good line in Australian takeaway nostalgia - it's offering a retro lineup of burgers and souvlaki served up without any of the fancy toppings on offer at higher end places. It's great that they offer a vegetarian burger, but it's probably not something we'll hurry back across town for any time soon.
We first visited Andrew's in 2007 to sample their burgers, and returned in 2010 for a souvlaki. Since then, only New International Students have reviewed the vego offerings (positively).
Among the meatier blog scene, there have been many, many positive reviews: Jar Fed, Melbourne Places, Simon Food Favourites, Burger Review Crew, The Juliet Report, Let's Get Fat Together, Eat and Be Merry for Tomorrow We Die(t), Ms I-Hua and The Boy, The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar, Burger Friday, Melbourne Culinary Journal, Eat.Play.Shop, Edge of My Plate, Food Rehab, The Burger Adventure, One Fat Cow, Mostly Food Adventures, My Diet Starts Tomorrow, The Escort and the Thief, Melbourne Din(n)ing Blog, It's a Tall Order, Sharking for Chips and Drinks, One Fat Spork, yum yum, The Hungry Melburnian, The Baroness of Melbourne, Table to Tummy, Ichigo Shortcake, Gastronomical Ramblings, Simple Palates, Seriously, mochii eats, Sweet and Sour Fork, ps: I heart you, Melbourne Places, Lucy Likes Food, Of Breakfast and Tea, Em's Burger Quest, The Epicurean of Southbank, Eve Lovelle, The Hangry Bitch, The Food Society, Decisive Cravings, Under the Wire, Vanhell's Corner, Sean's Burgers, Verdict Lobster and Chasing a Plate.
A decent number of bloggers have been less enthused - most comparing Andrew's to bog standard fish and chip shop burgers: Andrew's Food Adventures, Missy Ness' Food Train of Thought, Curious Charlie, Food Etc, Double Dutch Oven, Tuesdays with Thao, For Food's Sake, The Best Bloody Burgers, Because I Can't Cook, Tirache and The Hungry Excavator.
144 Bridport Street, Albert Park
Accessibility: The entry is flat, but the interior is quite crowded and you order and pay at a high counter. The outside tables are reasonably well spaced, with bench seating. We didn't visit the toilets.