It’s not quite what you’d expect from just looking through the front door. From there it looks like your normal coffee bar, providing caffeine hits to nearby office workers or others who just happen to be passing by. And it is of course at least partially about the coffee. Step out the back though and you enter a different place. It really does feel very much like a back alley Collingwood diner, a place of burgers and breakfast brioche, with the odd lunchtime cocktail thrown in.
How does it do this? Well the alleyways behind Badger vs. Hawk are full of 19th century brick and bluestone warehouses. These have been used in the occasional film (Ghost Rider) but are now used mainly for motorcycle workshops. Out the rear of the shop is a small courtyard, with a roller door which opens directly onto one of these alleyways. You're pretty well insulated from the noise of Lonsdale Street, but when a motorcycle roars through the alleyway the noise is almost loud enough to rattle your fillings!
Lunchtime ordering was straightforward for us. Three of us, three burgers, serendipity in action! The funny thing was that for each of us our favourite burger was the one the person on our left had ordered.
Snoozes choice was the chicken burger. Nicely herbed meat, crispy chicken, and in a nice touch for a burger not too much sloppy sauce so that it ends up running down your arm (and onto the work uniform). Something a little unexpected was the brioche bun, not on the menu but a nice if increasingly common touch.
My choice was the beef burger, with some crispy bacon as an extra. The beef patty was good, relatively thick and appropriately meaty in flavour, and nice and moist without causing arm runoff.
The one that surprised us all though was Bureaucrat’s black bean burger. Not only was it surprising that she ordered it, beating Snooze to the punch, but that it was so good. As described by Bureaucrat not at all ‘hippy’ or veggie’ food (her choice of words may give some inclining as to why I was so surprised she ordered it). Good texture and lots of savoury flavours in the patty.
Given it was a quiet day after an extremely busy period Bureaucrat decided a Gin Smash was in order. Reliably informed that it was a good cocktail, I got the impression that it was also quite a strong one by the look of surprise and short sharp shake of the head after the first sip.
Certainly not what we expected but lots of fun, with a great space, warming heaters and staff that were pretty cool but not too nonchalant to smile at the customers. Going to be a great place to kick back and relax during those summer Friday afternoon lunches.
Food – 8
Ambience – 8
Service – 7.5
Price – 7.5
333 La Trobe Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: 03 9300 0000