Huxtaburger

Fulham Place, Melbourne, VIC

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Meat and greet: Huxtaburger at Fulham Place.
Meat and greet: Huxtaburger at Fulham Place. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

Nina Rousseau

Oh god, not another review about reinvented burgers and the junk-food revolution. You'd think we'd be sick of all that by now, but this isn't just any burger joint. Huxtaburger estimates it sells about 7000 buns a week at its city and Collingwood takeaway strongholds, with a Prahran outlet due in late October.

Daniel Wilson, Dante Ruaine and Jeff Wong are the Huxtaburger boys. The trio also run Collingwood's one-hatted Huxtable restaurant, and are part of the wave of savvy young operators taking over the town. They met at former legendary city haunt Hairy Canary, when Matt McConnell (Bar Lourinha) was head chef.

Since opening in Collingwood in 2011, Huxtaburger has been heralded as the benchmark of burgers. It's certainly an adherent of the ''brioche bun craze'' but is it overhyped?

Bill's burger at Huxtaburger Fulham Place Melbourne.
Bill's burger at Huxtaburger Fulham Place Melbourne. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones MCJ

At 1pm on a Monday, Huxtaburger CBD is chockers with a wall of black-suited blokes and 34 lucky punters who've scored stools at the eat-in bench or an outside alley seat.

It's a slick, low-lit, loud and pumping place, and ordering at the counter feels like trying to get past the door bitch at a nightclub. I'm polite. I don't pay in 5¢ coins, so, like, what's with the 'tude, dude? I reckon I count four eye rolls in that one-minute exchange but there's none of that on visit number two. The order takes 11 minutes - fast, considering how jumping the joint is.

The menu is a short, sharp list of six burgers: the classic Huxtaburger, Bill's, the Rudy (for the kids), Theo, Denise (the hot one, with a smattering of jalapenos) and Sondra, plus retro crinkle-cut hot chips. When Huxtable opened everyone thought the name was a reference to The Cosby Show - it wasn't, they just liked the name - but it sparked the Huxtaburger theme.

Like all modern-day ''junk food'', Huxtaburger's is elevated by its ingredients and cheffy technique. Moondarra grass-fed wagyu, seasoned only with salt and pepper, forms the awesome, juicy patty. House-pickled Qukes (baby cucumbers) add acidic crunch, the mayo is house-made, as is the pickled beetroot, the eggs are free-range, the bacon is from Istra and the grilled pineapple is real. Only the bright yellow American mustard is imported.

There is no faulting the flavours and textures, the blessed meshing of sauciness, sharp pickle and succulent beef. My problem is the buns, sourced from a Vietnamese bakery in Richmond. The inside is grilled crisp with clarified butter but the outside is cold and clammy to touch - a bit, dare I say,

McDonald's-y. At first bite, the Bill's falls apart at the seams, the bun disintegrating and splitting down the middle; same deal with the Denise, so organise a stack of serviettes before you tuck in.

Drinks? Serve-yourself soft drinks, fancy Fever-Tree ginger beer, six bottled beers and one cider, and top-shelf milkshakes, the syrups all made in house from things like strawberries, Heilala vanilla and salted caramel.

There has been talk of the burgers not being filling enough, and Wilson does say that sometimes after a couple has come in for lunch, the bloke will sneak back later for a second burger. Fair enough, too. They're mighty tasty. Are they Melbourne's best? They're definitely up there, but ''best'' is a big call.

* Collingwood Huxtaburger is cash only.

Do … Download the Huxtaburger app; order and pay before you walk in the door.

Don't … eat meat? Try the organic tofu burger with sesame yuzu mayo.

Dish … Burgers, burgers. I like the Denise. The Huxtaburger is good, too.

Vibe … I-can't-believe-it's-not-junk-food.

Prices … Burgers, $5-$12; chips, $2.50-$3.

Twitter: @ninarousseau, or nrousseau@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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Fulham Place, Melbourne, VIC

  • Cuisine - American (US)
  • Prices - Burgers, $5-$12; chips, $2.50-$3.
  • Features - Licensed
  • Owners - Daniel Wilson, Dante Ruaine and Jeff Wong
  • Cards accepted - AMEX, Mastercard, Visa, EFTPOS
  • Opening Hours - Mon-Sat, 11am-10pm (city); Sun-Thurs, 11.30am-10pm and Fri-Sat, 11.30am-11pm
  • Other Branches - 106 Smith Street, Collingwood.
  • Author - Nina Rousseau
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47 comments so far

  • These burgers are awesome... best in town hands down. Been to both stores. Music can be really loud though.. but hey I'm not there for the music. Tip avoid Friday lunch in the CBD store it is MENTAL! & I hear there is one opening in Prahran.

    Commenter
    Kirrashirley
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    September 03, 2013, 9:20PM
  • They're the best I've had, and I eat a few burgers. Not sure what happened with yours falling apart though...I eat one comfortably one handed and have only ever had problems with the bottom bun of the Theo getting soggy...even then, it held together. I've never felt the need to go back after eating a Denise...depends on how big your portion sizes usually are, I suppose. That, and I usually split a chips and have a beer.

    Commenter
    Tim the Toolman
    Location
    Date and time
    September 04, 2013, 11:27AM
  • Meh...

    Huxtawhatever are so gen Y and may be the best in the hipster enclaves and the CBD where they are located a solid fixie ride away from the front door of your home or workplace but its Andrews all the way baby. ALL.THE.WAY.

    They were doing burger perfection before anyone did anything. Andrews were the best burger in Melbourne for years in a row before anyone dreamed of optimising the burger.

    Andrews. THE BEST burgers in Melbourne by a country mile. Unhyped, old skool burger perfection.

    Even Mr Burger's sloppy, bucket'o'grease with every bite is better than Huxtens but then Mr.B isnt where Huxens is...isn't it?

    HUXTAHYPED

    Commenter
    BurgerMeister
    Location
    Where you aint.
    Date and time
    September 04, 2013, 11:53AM
    • Yep, totally agree, Andrews is the best! Always polite and awesome burgers. Hipsterburger is overrated, I find the buns too sweet, the staff not very polite and the burgers aren't very big. Last time I was there the ships were cold as well! Would much prefer to go to my local fish and chippy or Grill'd.

      Commenter
      Gen
      Location
      Date and time
      September 04, 2013, 2:25PM
  • Burgers without onions? How can you be taken seriously?

    Gimme a break.

    Commenter
    BurgerMeister
    Location
    Where you aint.
    Date and time
    September 04, 2013, 11:58AM
  • I made the effort to log in and register just to comment that these are the WORST I have ever had. Glorified Whoppers for $12. Chips are McCain frozen fries. Terrible.

    Commenter
    Floyd Taylor
    Location
    St Kilda
    Date and time
    September 04, 2013, 12:00PM
    • Lol. Yep in the picture on the main page of The Age, the first thing I thought was 'those chips look like crinkle cut supermarket fries - damn if I am going to spend $$ on those - then realised its a Gen Y wow ain't we hip sort of place. I'm all for boutique burgers (I like Grill'd and Urban Burger and Big Boy BBQ myself) but at least their chips look like they are hand made (even if they are not). Mind you at the prices...I am still finding these places will cut their throats charging what they do for burgers (upwards of $10). 2 burgers and 2 fries and your hitting above $30 these days - not family friendly. Piece of advice guys - burgrs are a poor mans food - unless your hand growing the veges and killing the meat yourself - no burger is worth $13.

      Commenter
      Andrew
      Location
      Elwood
      Date and time
      September 04, 2013, 12:53PM
  • Can't comment on the meat burgers, but the Tofu burger (the only vegetarian option on the menu) is very, very poor. I would strongly recommend that vegetarians don't waste their money and go to Lord of the Fries or Grill'd instead for a decent burger.

    Commenter
    Hubert
    Location
    Fitzroy
    Date and time
    September 04, 2013, 12:27PM
    • 100% agree with this comment - really bland lump of tofu, not nearly generous enough with the mayo.

      Commenter
      dissapointed
      Location
      Date and time
      September 04, 2013, 8:39PM
  • The Memphis Burger at the Gem on Wellington St. Superb.

    Huxtaburger is a ripoff.

    Commenter
    Dr Rock
    Location
    Date and time
    September 04, 2013, 12:28PM

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