girl + John Curtin Hotel

Just when you thought my Good Beer Week / Melbourne related posts had finally come to an end here’s another one! My final (I think) post about Melbourne is centered around the John Curtin Hotel on Lygon Street.

Just when you thought my Good Beer Week / Melbourne related posts had finally come to an end here’s another one!

My final (I think) post about Melbourne is centered around the John Curtin Hotel on Lygon Street.

My partner and I arrived at 3.15pm after a day of shopping for last minute presents, a snack from La Petite Creperie and a quick few ales at Young & Jackson.

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We needed a big feed; we were airport bound in a couple of hours and did not want to subject ourselves to airplane food of toasted sandwiches and two minute noodles. Don’t get me wrong, both foods are fantastic but only when I’m at home – there’s an art to toasties and instant noodles.

Anyway, back to the pub.

We were hungry and perched ourselves at the bar, ready for a big burger and some beer.

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Then we encountered one of the things I dislike most in pubs – “sorry, the kitchen isn’t open yet”. We were 45 minutes too early. But then a funny thing happened, the bartender said the chef was already in the kitchen so she’d ask if he’d take the order.

Wow, we thought, that’s nice of her.

“That’s fine, you can order”, she said when she returned.

Wow, we thought, that’s a pretty nice chef you have back there!

I know it’s only a small thing but it was hospitality at its best. I have not encountered many venues who would have done this and I think it deserves recognition.

Burger and Beer at John Curtin Hotel

Not only was the service over and above what we expected the burgers were freakin’ delightful. Perfect with a shared jug of Coopers Pale Ale.

Yep, we were now ready to get on a plane and fall asleep.

Blue Cheese & Bacon Burgers + Collaborator

The only way to accurately describe the burgers we made at home on Friday night is “over the top”; though “epic” and “freaking amazing” would also do nicely. Matched with the Feral / 2 Brothers Collaborator was nothing short of fantastic!

The only way to accurately describe the burgers we made at home on Friday night is “over the top”; however “epic” and “freaking amazing” would also do nicely.

I had done some random internet clicking and ended up looking at the Food Republic; a website for guys about food and drink and although it may not sound revolutionary, it’s really quite good. Great recipes and articles, all done with a bit of humour, and sound advice – all well presented. I will be visiting this site again I am sure, despite my gender not being the specific target market! The recipe that caught my attention was for a “Bacon Blue Cheese Burger” simply because it sounds amazing and really, anything with blue cheese has to be good!

My boyfriend and I didn’t follow the recipe, instead just grasping the title words and putting it together in a way that made sense to us; it seemed more fun this way! The patties were made with beef mince, garlic, breadcrumbs and egg. We topped them (and yes, we made double decker burgers for no good reason other than we could) with a slab of blue cheese, egg and a gravy mix of mushrooms, bacon, spanish onion and garlic. Built into three layers of toasted turkish bread, the end result was by far the messiest and tastiest of our home made burger efforts to date.

Deciding what beer to go with it was more of a challenge. I avoided pale ales because that’s what we have done most times with burgers and even though it’s been a wonderful match in the past I wanted to try something different. Hello Collaborator!

Our second and final bottle of the 5.5% abv Feral/2 Brothers Collaborator beer, an Australian Brown Ale, turned out to be a fantastic match to our artery-clogging burgers. Bold enough to stand up to the many competing flavours happening in the burger, the beer itself had a contrasting bitter hop flavour, sweet caramel malt and tropical fruit. Rather than trying to pick out individual flavours in both beer and burger I think my best description of the match is just that it was really, really good with both contrasting and complimenting elements. Most importantly, however, it was all damn good fun making the burgers, trying to eat them and washing it all down with a sensational Australian beer.

Blue Cheese & Bacon Burgers … girl+beer style!

Burger Patty

  • Beef Mince
  • Garlic, finely diced
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Egg
  • Chilli

Mushroom & Bacon Mix

  • Button Mushrooms, sliced
  • Garlic
  • Red Capsicum, diced
  • Bacon, diced
  • Chicken Gravy Mix
  • Brown Onion, diced
Build It and They Will Come (starting from the base)…
  1. Turkish Bread
  2. Burger Patty
  3. Mushroom & Bacon Mix
  4. Fried Egg
  5. Turkish Bread
  6. Burger Patty
  7. Mushroom & Bacon Mix
  8. Blue Cheese
  9. Cheddar Cheese (yup, two different kinds of cheese)
  10. Turkish Bread top
Stab with a steak knife to hold it all in place and serve with Rosemary & Garlic Potato Wedges
The first layer ….
Don’t forget the egg!
and hold into place …
and have FUN!

Neon Lights + Burgers

I like surprises and I like burgers so imagine my delight when I’m surprised by a burger. Allow me to elaborate …

I like surprises and I like burgers so imagine my delight when I’m surprised by a burger. Allow me to elaborate …

We had a couple of days of “wild weather”, as the term goes despite you never hearing about “captive weather”, in Perth and the South West. To look at the trees was as though Mother Nature had taken a chainsaw and decided most of them were just too tall. Big trees were ripped out like pesky weeds, fences went a bit further down the road and some basketball hoops fell down too. You get the idea. So with all this storm stuff going on it was only inevitable to lose power.

One of the many trees that fell down during the wild weather

On the first night without power my boyfriend cooked 4 packets of 2 minute noodles on the gas stove and that was fine. On the second night, whilst trying to empty the entire fridge into a borrowed esky, we decided it would be a whole lot easier to head to the pub.

We drove towards Bunbury and decided on The Highway Hotel. The fact neither of us had been before seemed like a good enough reason to go. The fact it is owned by one of the two supermarket giants in this country, Woolworth’s, seemed like a good enough reason to counteract the first one but we went anyway.

The side entrance was locked and looked closed; a drive to the front revealed unlocked doors under a neon sign of the letters HH. We walked in to find a handful of tables in the restaurant area and the bar dotted with blokes and pints. They were yelling helpfully at the bartender as she tried to get to the Foxtel channel they wanted, displayed on 3 screens above the bar.

We were very pleased and somewhat surprised to find Nail Ale Australian Pale Ale on tap given the venue doesn’t hint to any sort of craft beer culture. It’s also not a common beer to find  on tap, though this is set to change with Nail Ale and Perth’s other well known brewery, Feral, sharing a new brewhouse in Bassendean, so it’s great to see it around. With a credit card behind the bar, two pints in front of us and the tennis French Open on the screens our Monday night was going fairly well.

Like most Woolworth’s owned ALH (Australian Leisure & Hospitality) pubs the venue was littered with promotional posters, one of which was the Monday night special “Burger n Beer Deal” for $15. We thought, what the hell, its almost alliteration and it makes ordering easy, and got the deal x 2.

I must admit our expectations where not high because a) Its Woolies b) Its a meal deal and c) You don’t normally associate neon lights with good food. Not that we were expecting bad food but we were not expecting a very tasty burger with lots of nice extras.

The burger presented nicely in a focaccia bun and the patty was thick, a good start so far and to see all the little extras was a delightful surprise; finely diced beetroot, cheese, bacon that hadn’t been fried to within an inch of its life, rocket and cherry tomatoes were all big ticks from me! And the chips, though most certainly bulk purchased frozen McCain, were crisp and yummy.

We each got another pint of Nail Ale whilst we finished off our burgers; Pale Ale and Burgers are such a good match! I think it’s the fruity elements of the beer bringing out sweetness in the meat, tomatoes and beetroot but enough bitterness to make sure it doesn’t get slapped around by a big juicy burger! We watched the end of the tennis and then went to pay the bill. I had been expecting to have to pay over and above the “meal deal” because we had chosen Nail Ale instead of something more mainstream but it was included and for four pints and two burgers, I thought $50 was a pretty decent asking. The service had also been good, the girl behind the bar was friendly and checked to see if we wanted more drinks and had clearly away our plates promptly.

Just goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover or, more accurately, you can’t judge a pub by its massive neon lights.

The Highway Hotel

Corner Forrest Avenue & Spencer Street, Bunbury | (08) 9721 4966

Open Monday – Friday 11am – late

Open Saturday & Sunday 10am – late

Burger n Beer Meal Deal available all day Mondays, just $15