EDIT: The Counter is now closed
I'm not sure whether I'm filling out a census form or taking a test.
The Build Your Own Burger concept at The Counter is either a blessing or a curse for hungry customers. On the one hand, the five-step process gives you the opportunity to customise your burger with the exact toppings you like, down to the size of burger patty, the type of cheese and which sauce you'd like.
On the other hand, the myriad of options can be dizzying. The first step is easy enough - which meat (beef, turkey, veggie or chicken) and which size: 150g ($13.50), 300g ($16.50) or the grand pooh-bah 450g ($19.50).
Then things start to get a little tricky. Step Two involves ten different cheeses (choose one or pay $1 for extra cheese). Step Three covers toppings (choose four from eighteen options) with ten more premium toppings available at an extra cost.
Step Four only gets harder. Choose one sauce from a list of 17. No wonder I start peeking at everyone else's list like it's a flashback to a high school maths test.
For those who are flailing at the mere thought of so much choice, seven signature burgers take the stress out of choosing your own fillings.
The counter at The Counter
Our waiter checks each order as he collects the clipboards, stacking them one on top of another so they form a precarious ladder. We are a large group for dinner tonight but we only have to wait five minutes for our drinks, and ten minutes for our entrees to arrive.
Apple pie thickshake $5.00
The apple pie thickshake has my name written all over it. It's not quite as cinnamon-y as I'd expected, but there are satisfying chunks of real apple and bits of pastry, even though they do necessitate facial contortions as you try to suck up the thick drink through the narrow straw.
Suze orders the peanut butter shake, a rich drink which ends up being overly sweet about a third of the way down. Had they not run out of banana, I'd have ordered a combination of peanut butter and banana together.
The 'Fifty-Fifty' $6.50
Onion strings and sweet chips served with three dipping sauces
The Fifty-Fifty is what I'd been looking forward to. For $6.50, it's a generous serve of crispy onion strings and deep-fried batons of sweet potato. I rejoice in both, the sweet potato starchy and almost caramelised, the onion strings soft and sticky with a crunchy batter.
Sweet potato fries
The Fifty-Fifty is served with three dipping sauces (barbecue, garlic aioli and thousand island) but to be honest, none are really necessary.
Mini cheeseburgers $11.00
Plate of four topped with cheddar, red onions, pickles and red relish
In hindsight, Steph and Lisa take the most sensible option of the evening, sharing a plate of mini cheeseburgers, the slider-style burgers covered with an ooze of melted cheddar cheese cut through by pickles and a dice of red onions.
Suze's 150g beef burger $13.50
with grilled pineapple, grilled bacon, cheese, onion relish,
garlic aioli and avocado
Suze exercises caution with the size of her burger patty (150g and the smallest available) but loads it up with two types of cheese, bacon, garlic aioli and avocado.
Melted cheese strands
Karen's 150g beef burger $13.50 with honey-cured bacon $1.50
grilled pineapple, onion relish, mixed baby greens
Teresa's 150g veggie burger $13.50
with Greek feta, sprouts and mixed baby greens
Karen and Teresa also wisely choose the smallest patty. They, too, are defeated.
Are you sensing a pattern here?
My 300g beef burger $16.50 with honey-cured bacon $1.50
with sharp provolone, grilled pineapple, dill pickle chips, grilled onion,
beetroot, mixed baby greens, roasted garlic aoli
I, of course, have chosen the 300g patty, confident in my appetite and determination. What I hadn't factored, was that once you add the bun and the toppings, the 300g patty becomes a monster-sized burger.
Cross-section of my burger
I could barely finish half of this.
Want more gratuitous burger shots? Read on...
Simon's 300g beef burger $16.50
with grilled onions, Gruyere, mixed lettuce,
roasted red pimento and horseradish cheese
Billy's 300g beef burger $16.50 with extra fried egg $1.50
with Gruyere cheese, grilled onions, jalapenous, roasted corn & black bean salsa,
sweet red hot capsicum on hamburger bun with country buttermilk ranch sauce
Cross-section of Billy's beef burger
The boys have all ordered the 300g patty, all the boys bar one...
450g beef burger $19.50 with honey-cured bacon $1.50
with grilled pineapple and mixed baby greens
Richard's capacity to eat is a force unto itself. The 450g beef patty is not for the faint-hearted, the over-sized disc of meat hanging over the edges of the bun. Incredibly, he manages to eat almost all of this, leaving only only a couple of bites on the plate.
Howard faces early defeat with his 300g beef burger
Overall we found the burger patties reasonably juicy but it's easy to get carried away by ordering too many toppings on the bun, creating a mishmash of flavours. I'd presume that if you're ordering a side of fries and a thickshake, the 150g patty would satiate most appetites - Richard excluded, of course.
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12/02/2009 03:24:00 a.m.