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Monday, September 6, 2010

Grill'd, Rosalie

Never been a massive fan of burgers. I could count the number of McDonalds burgers I've eaten on one hand, in part because they were pretty light-on for franchises around the little country town were I grew up, but mostly because they're shit. Vegemite, coriander and Big Macs, I hate them all.
Recently however, there's been a bit of a swing towards the old burger. I'll attribute this to the relative convenience of Oporto's Neutral Bay to my old house in Sydney, and a shift away from Subway following a  stop at Subway North Richmond towards the end of last year. 
North Richmond is about an hour from Sydney, north-westish, at the bottom of the mountains on you're way to Orange, Mudgee, Dubbo etc. It's a shit-hole. Apart from few poor souls who live there because they work for The Land newspaper, the local inhabitants are as rough as hessian undies.
One this one occassion I was hauling arse to Mudgee for work. Between Sydney and Mudgee there's few, if any, decent places to stop so Subway was really your last shot for the next two-and-bit hours. Anyway, I was sitting down chewing my way through my second six inches of pizza-rie goodness when two of the most obscenely fat people, a couple, the guy with a dragon tattooed on his forearm (I pressumed from his favourite Chinese menu), lumbered in. They ordered three foot-longs, a bag of cookies, sat a table across from me and proceeded to stuff 3/4 of it all into the mouths and the rest across their fat faces.
"Is this it? Is this what've become?" Well, it wasn't, the lad, he had the best part of 60 kegs on me, but for a moment the three different small goods and orange cheese I was eating just didn't taste the same.
I won't say that was the last time I ate Subway, it wasn't, some times it's just the best of a bad bunch, and it's still the safest fast food to eat in Moree, but it certainly slipped a few pegs. I do also have fond memories of Subway, though that was less about their menu and more about the convenience of one of my school mates working there, offering a safe-harbour, of sorts, while I tried to manage an illicit student-boarding mitress trist during my final year at boarding school. Another, inappropriate, story.
And, thus this trend to burgers. That and watching a shit-tonne of Man v Food on Discovery Travel and Living. That man is a machine.
My other house mate first dragged me to Grill'd. She'd been bangin' on about it for ages, so one hung-over Sunday we finally headed down to Rosalie for lunch (they're everywhere though).
There's a pretty expansive menu, massive beef burgers, Moroccan Lamb, chicken, for the pale, they've got vegetable burgers ... however in my state that day I opted for the Mini Moo (they've all got clever names like that) with salad, which is pretty much a beef patty, tomato, cos, cheddar and their (of course) famous "spicy" sauce.  You can get any of them on a traditional sesame bun or a panini. I just go the traditional, you don't need to go all la-di-da, confusing shit with "fancy" buns on a simple old burger. (Same goes for serving bacon and eggs with focaccia; Benson's Cafe, Orange I'm thinking of you.) For the difficult, you can get Gluten free as well.
That and a side of their chips pretty much sorted me out.
I've been back there probably a dozen time since over the last few months and just ordered the same. The burger's big enough, and their chips are massive, and bloody good too; lightly battered, seasoned, and I think some kind of oregano and thyme set-up.
They're just good. I at least tell myself there's an element of health to them. They're not dripping with fat anyway or full of gristle. And, as has been my litmus test in the past, they seem to be relatively free of fatty patrons.
They're worth a look. Handy for lunch, and opened for dinner. Though I've never quite felt the urge, they're also licensed and have a fridge full beer and wine next to the Euro soft drinks and vitamin waters. They're fresh, quick and reasonably priced.
Perhaps the only mark against Grill'd is that the last time I was there we saw one of our "darlings of the pool" there with one of our brilliant, though nonetheless tip-rat Wallabies, which really just unsettled me. Still that's no fault of Grill'ds. Burger-wise; 10/10.

Grill'd on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Pork Sword: Mundo Churrasco, Bardon

The Pork Sword: Mundo Churrasco, Bardon: "I've never been to Brazil, but I think I'd like it. I've heard good things. I don't know a lot about Brazil. I know where it is, I know they..."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mundo Churrasco, Bardon

I've never been to Brazil, but I think I'd like it. I've heard good things. I don't know a lot about Brazil. I know where it is, I know they speak Portugese, I know they've lent their name to arguably the most important advancement in female grooming since soap.
A few years ago I learnt something else. They can cook like bastards! Some of them.
I first went to a Brazilian BBQ, or Churrascaria back in Sydney. Man-alive! This one was in Leichhardt, on Norton St. Braza Churrascaria. Fuck it was good.
About twelve months later I went back there with a few friends from out of town for a late Sunday lunch, on the back of an already hellish weekend.
This place was the shit. Nineteen, that's NINETEEN different meats and cuts, and legitimately hot Brazilians bringing them around to. Things escalated. We left about two and a half hours, three bottle of outrageously-priced Chardonnay and our weight in meat later.
From there things deteriorated severly. If getting march from The Oaks, Neutral Bay before 7PM wasn't proof enough to quit, a sobering moment during "time-out" at Scruffy Murphy's at 2AM was.
Still, that few hours at Braza was one of the best eating out experiences I've had.
So, when I was driving back from Mt Coot-tha one afternoon with my housemate and his girlfriend through Bardon and spotted Mundo my heart skipped a beat as memories of that dreadful day came flooding back.
The next weekend we set Sunday aside to take a look, and try and recreate that fateful day in Leichhardt.
Man, was I disappointed. Actually my disappointment started before we even got there. I looked at their website beforehand and was well aware before I even set foot in the door that at best we'd be dining on five meat cuts, three of those beef.
I'll admit, I'm particularly lazy, but I'm not going around opening restaurants and creating these facades of amazing South American, meaty treats. These guys have really given this a half-arse shot. The inside looks legit though, again having not been to Brazil. It's nice.
They start off with these side dishes, Carreteiro rice, Brazilian potato salad, cassava chips, brazilian beans and chips. They're OK, but that's not why you go to Brazilian BBQ. I wasn't particularly taking much notice of the last time I had it, so I can't really comment on them.
The real reason you go to Brazilan BBQ is for the meat. Apparently, it's a cooking style from the old Brazilian Cowboy, aka Gaucho. They were battlers, didn't have a lot of money, and didn't exactly have any refridgeration while they were out shifting cattle and practicing their pseudo karate dancing. So, they would cut little strips of meat of a carcass, spear it, rub all kinds of spices and shit all over it and cook it over a fire, like a big-arse sheesh kebab.
That's perhaps not historically accurate, but the long then short of it is they were on to something.
Worse still than my inept take on the history of Churrascaria is Mundo's attempt to pull it off. They're rubbish. For starters there's the meat selection you can count on one hand. Seriously, for them to be worth their salt you need to be into, at least, two-hands territory, maybe even a foot.
While I think you can order from a menu, they whole attraction of this is to pay your cash (I think 35 bucks in this case) and just go nuts. The BBQ henchmen march around with their stakes of meat, offering and sawing off little morsels onto you plate. In doing this you want to be eating more that just beef, otherwise you'd just go and get a 35 buck steak. Admittedly, there was one lamb and one chick option, each which manage to salvage, to an extent, the sad attempt they'd made with the beef. Seriously, fucking Brahman hump? Does that even count as meat?
Perhaps, it all became clear as to what, or who was behind this folly when the whitest, oldest lady this side of the Andes came around to each table, introducing herself as the owner and asking how everything was. She was sweet, I guess, but less Rio, and more Ipswich, in which instance she was possibly punching above her weight.
Needless to say, it wasn't great. We did walk away full, largely on principle, though the foul taste of disappointment was the last thing left on our pallet.
Would I recommend it? Maybe if you'd never tried it before and had no comparison of the potential awesomeness you were missing out on. Sure the experience is novel, but the food, not great.
Mundo and Old Lady, step your Churrasco game up! 5/10.

Mundo Churrasco on Urbanspoon