129A Beaconsfield Parade (opposite Kerferd Road) Albert Park, Victoria 3206
|Opening hours||Tues-Sun 8am-4pm; Thurs 6-9.30pm, extended hours in summer|
|Features||Vegetarian friendly, Licensed|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Payments||eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||03 9682 1077|
129A Beaconsfield Parade (opposite Kerferd Road), Albert Park, 9682 1077
Licensed, AE DC MC V eftpos
Tuesday to Sunday, 8am-4pm
Breakfast $7-$17, lunch $6-$22
Let's start with what's great about Nshry (say ''noshery''): the burger makes me glad I have opposable thumbs, perfectly designed for grabbing delicious items and heaving them mouthwards.
The beef patty is slathered with ''umami rub'', a salty mix of kombu and porcini powder that amps up the already tasty medium-rare mix of Angus and Wagyu mince. (Umami is the so-called fifth taste, the quality that makes things mysteriously moreish.)
Parmesan, another umami-rich substance, is melted, crisped and layered on a brioche bun with gruyere, mushroom sauce and roast tomato. Crisp onion rings, creamy coleslaw and cornichons are on the side. It's a winner.
There are other things to like, too. The breakfast menu includes interesting items such as an exotic mushroom omelet, panko-crumbed corn fritters and the elegant, jamon-wrapped asparagus with tempura egg and goat's cheese.
Nshry is a smart glass box on the beach but it's draughty in high winds. The sea view is terrific and, on fine days, the front porch is lovely. But on my recent visit, the service was tentative and limp; that goes for each of the four staff who attended us. They were definitely pleasant but they didn't demonstrate the all-seeing smarts that are crucial to good service. The previous party's crumbs remained on the table throughout our visit, it was hard to attract attention and, after we politely sent back a cold croque monsieur, it was returned just as tepid as before. The rigid cheese should have been a giveaway, but no one thought to check if we were happy. Where is the Supernanny for cafes?
My cafe latte was great: strong, smooth and rich with a lingering caramel taste. It's made in a fancy Synesso espresso machine. There's also the option of drinking single-origin coffee brewed with a siphon (think Bunsen burner) or cold drip (slow filter). I've given alternative brewing methods a pretty good go (and I tried the siphon here) but I think of coffee primarily as a medicinal substance. Of course, I want it to taste great, but I'm not sure I want to give it the same time and attention I might give wine. I guess I'm a third-wave coffee philistine.
Melbourne can definitely use more good coastal cafes. With a little nudge (and the bonus of a dinner menu in about six weeks), Nshry might yet be enshrined as one of them.
Also try these burgers
Bottom End, 579 Little Collins St, Melbourne, 9629 3001, Wed-Sun, dinner.
American diner eats are the deal at this bar-disco-pub. There's a cheesy bacon burger and a chicken burger with coriander salsa.
Little Press & Cellar, 72 Flinders St, Melbourne, 9677 9677.
Mon-Fri, breakfast, lunch and dinner; Sat-Sun, lunch and dinner.
Among the city's best bites is the micro bifteki. It's $7 for a Wagyu burger with beetroot and haloumi.
Napier Hotel, 210 Napier St, Fitzroy, 9419 4240. Daily, dinner; Fri-Sun, lunch.
Tackle the Bogan Burger with steak and schnitzel or order a vegetarian burger with zucchini fritters.