Grease Monkey, Canberra's newest burger joint, opened today in Braddon.
Lonsdale street in Braddon, once dominated by car yards and mechanics, is now flooded with hipsters and new eateries. Owned by veteran restauranteur, Socrates Kochinos (who also owns Belluci's, Cream, Public, Urban Pantry, Me and Mrs Jones, and the Academy nightclub) Grease Monkey pays tribute to the mechanical workshop that came before it. The burgers have names like "Full Service" and "Pitt Stop". The breakfasts are cleverly called "Jump start" and "Automatic".
But it's not just the menu that reference the mechanic's shop. Much care and consideration has been put into the industrial-themed fit out. A roller door built over the pass resembles a garage. It's painted with a sign that says "Get your motor running".
A shiny new bar takes up a significant portion of the indoor space, leaving some room for booths and high tables with stools. The rest of the seating is in the beer garden outside.
Plastic "windows" protect patrons from the elements and heaters keep people warm(ish). I really liked the addition of the cheeky monkey on the wall and the *ahem* interaction with the water cooler. #bewarethemonkey
Grease Monkey's Facebook page declares that they have "Burgers you'll go apesh*t over".
It was a bold promise, so I decided I had to bring a burger expert (aka Macgyver Boyfriend) and put the Greasy burgers to the test.
Macgyver Boyfriend ordered the Full Service ($17) and I ordered the Dirty Bird ($15). All burgers come with chips.
The Full Service is essentially their "burger with the lot". It comes with a beef pattie, bacon, egg, cheese, tomato, beetroot, onion, and ketchup. If you weren't already aware of the American-style theme to this burger joint, the use of the word 'ketchup' throughout the menu should definitely tip you off.
On the topic of ketchup, Greasys gets brownie points for having condiments on the table. Not enough establishments in Canberra have condiments on the table. I did lament the lack of barbeque sauces though.
The burger itself was epic. I loved the amazing cross section and the even layers of ingredients.
It was one of the most well-constructed burgers he and I had ever seen. He told me that the key to a good burger was whether the ingredients stayed in the burger while you were holding the burger. Not only did the burger stay together while being held, it stayed together after he put it down to get drinks, I picked it up for a bite (and photo!) and put it down, and then he picked it up again - still in one piece!! Incredible.
What I loved the most about the burger was that the bun didn't overwhelm the burger. The worst thing about getting a burger with a massive bun is that the flavour of the filling gets lost in all that bun.
I also don't normally like burgers with the lot. I feel like there is too much going on. I usually prefer more simple burgers, with a maximum of 3 different flavours.
BUT. The Full Service was different. There wasn't too much of one ingredient. The problem with other burgers (lesser burgers) is that in one bite, you often get half of the total lettuce in one bite and a tiny bit of pattie. Or just tomato and bun. Or just cheese and pattie. There's not an even spread of ingredients in the one bite. The best part about the even layers in the Full service was that you got a bit of everything in each bite. It was the perfect bite, every bite.
The only downside was that the burger was slightly too soggy for my liking. It was most likely from the fresh tomato, which probably couldn't have been helped.
The Dirty Bird comes with southern fried chicken, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and Greasy's sauce (turned out to be a mayo-based sauce).
The crumb on the chicken was crunchy and the chicken was juicy and reminded me of a flavoursome chicken schnitzel (not southern fried chicken). I enjoyed the burger (and it was less soggy), but ultimately, I preferred the Full Service.
We liked the subtle seasoning on the chips. There was enough that we knew we liked it, but it left us wanting more of the seasoning.
So, did the burgers make us go apesh*t, like they promised? I think there's enough evidence to say yes for the Full Service and no for the Dirty Bird. The other burgers are yet to be determined!
As for the milkshakes? Well, unfortunately, we were sorely disappointed. Today's milkshake sounded amazing - salted caramel and bacon flavoured ($6). It was presented in a takeaway paper cup with a plastic lid and straw. Don't they know everything tastes better in a mason jar?!
But that's not what was disappointing about it. The milkshake was pre-made and brought out from the fridge. It was watery and didn't have a strong salted caramel flavour nor bacon flavour. And the floaty bacon bits in the drink didn't taste like bacon to me. A scoop of ice cream might have saved it.
Have you been to Grease Monkey? What did you think? Did the burgers make YOU go apesh*t?
The Low-Down on Grease Monkey
Eatery type: American-style burger joint
What to order: Full Service burger
Best for: burgers and beers with mates
Cost: $43 for two burgers and two non-alcoholic drinks
Address: 19 Lonsdale Street, Braddon (on the corner of Lonsdale st and Elouera st)
Open: 7am till late Monday to Friday; 10am till late Saturday and Sunday
Phone: 02 6257 1119
If you like burgers, you might want to check out London Burgers in Belconnen!