|The B.East on Lygon St, Brunswick East|
Personally, whilst I have found myself getting caught up in this movement, I'm still not entirely sure what our obsession with it is. As someone who has spent an extended period in the US, I can't say I have too many...no, let me re-phrase that. I can't say I have any fond memories - purely from a culinary perspective - of any dive diners that I ate in. Even the thrill of sitting down for a meal at Tom's Restaurant - Monk's from Seinfeld - in NYC was tempered by the miserable ball of potato salad presented to me that looked as though it had been serving 25-life in its Westinghouse prison out the back. And then there was the inside knowledge I acquired from a waitress at another diner about how often most places she'd worked at changed the oil in the deep fryers. Put it this way, the owners may as well have been throwing a pool party in the vats of oil before turning up the heat and re-frying your curly fries. However, there is also the other side to the dining experience that is far more enjoyable: the old school rock n' roll playing through the stereo; the jukebox in the corner that may just volunteer a few free tracks if you give it a Fonzi-esque nudge; and, to quote Moe Szyslak, a whole bunch of crazy crap on the walls.
Fortunately in Melbourne, we're subject to much higher food-hygiene standards, not to mention the quality of the food itself. Given the sheer number of burger joints that have opened in recent memory, you best be doing something special if you want to survive. And at the B.East, they ain't just surviving. They are thriving! The menu offers a good variety without overawing, and there are some pretty seductive names given to the burgers and hero subs: 'Filthy', 'Sexy', 'Doctor J', and 'Mojo Cubano', to name but a few. You can also customise your meal with the addition of various extras (blue cheese, onion debris, pickles), and don't forget to add a side of fries with a serving of one of their home-made dipping sauces.
Okay, let's stick with what this blog is all about: the vegetarian perspective. There are two burger options: 'The Coburger' and 'The Morrisey' (both $13), as well as a roast beetroot and goats cheese slider ($7, or 2 for $13). The Morrisey is the vegan option, but given it is a mock chicken burger, I've ignored it on each visit. Personally, I just can't bring myself to eat mock meat, however I'd love to hear feedback from others about this burger. Instead I have opted for the Coburger: a sweet potato and white bean patty, served with crunchy cos lettuce, a sweet red onion relish, and kim chi sour cream. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me pause for a moment to tell you what happened the first time I tried this burger. Within the following 24 hours, I had messaged many of my nearests and dearests to tell them that I'd found quite possibly the best veggie burger - with the exception of my nonna's home-made patties - that I'd ever had in this city. Big call? You bet it was! But it seemed justified at the time. I must admit that following a return visit soon after, I've downgraded my assessment a touch, but I'd still say it is one of the better options in town. And in a city like Melbourne, that is no meant feat to achieve!
It's not just that burgers that appeal here though. Elsewhere on the menu you'll find Poutine and Death Star fries, Mac n' Cheese Bombs, Buttermilk Slaw, and for the sweet of tooth, two shakes that'll send your salivary glands into overdrive. Then there's the charm of the venue itself. It has a real rock n' roll feel to it, and follows through by hosting regular live gigs of all sorts - I previously have seen The Bennies play here, whipping the crowd into a moshing, crowd-surfing frenzy! It's a venue that oozes cool, and has the menu to back it up. So chuck on that old rhinestone jacket, and get yo ass down to the B.East pronto!
|Sun shining on the B.East|