Cleanse your palettes Melbourne, the Food and Wine Festival has left town.
Pairing Melbourne’s diverse food multi-culture with world renowned chefs and institutions has created a growing tradition of quality, leveraging the city’s exceptional night life – for those willing to breach the entry cost.
Of the over 300 events available only 25 were free, with the majority of price tags extending well over $100 per person. As a student of limited resources I decided to uphold Melbourne’s tradition of finding the cheap diamond in the rough, and couldn’t go past the Melbourne Burger Invitational hosted at Welcome to Thornbury.
It is no secret we love our juicy Americanised burgers and Welcome to Thornbury amassed the local masters of the craft, featuring food trucks from 1090 Burger, 8Bit, Beatbox Kitchen, Dude Food Man, Easey’s and the eponymous Mr Burger.
For $33 I secured myself a burger and alcoholic beverage of choice, as well as a complementary t-shirt. With eyes bigger then my stomach I tried 1090’s renowned Thunderburger, a glorious combination of two beef patties, bacon, chilli-mayonaise, pickles and double American cheddar (melted to wrap the whole intimidating package). The thick patties were gently seasoned, but cooked gently enough to fall apart as soon as they left the bun, succulent and tender. The bacon was left soft and sweet, as to highlight the crisp crunch of the hidden pickles, all supported by a generous oozing of mayonnaise and cheddar with a hint of chilli.
Despite bursting at the seams already I shelled out a little extra to try Mr Burger’s classic, self-titled basic burger. With a larger salad offering of tomato and lettuce under the single patty, and a timeless ketchup and mustard combination it certainly felt like a classic American burger. Whilst the beef was not the highlight of the dish here in the same way as the Thunderburger, the greater variation in accessories was refreshing. It is worth noting that Mr Burger also appeared to be the only stand supplying vegan and gluten free options at the event.
With this event the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival certainly captured their theme of “Sense of Place”. Welcome to Thornbury hosted excellently, presenting a fresh yet cosy home for Melbourne to experiment with its latest food obsession. While I would certainly attend again my greatest fear moving forward for the festival is its price tag, as one of the few “cheap” options – $33 for one burger and beer is still not great value and MFWF risks losing its younger vibrant audience for traditional food excellence.