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The Beer and Burger Bar review | Best gluten/Dairy/Fructose free burgers in Melbourne

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Of the many things a person is forced to give up upon diagnosis of coeliac disease, or food intolerances, few are as dramatically life altering as the humble burger.

From the soft and tasty bun to the flavoursome patty, and the all important sauce, this precarious balance can swiftly been thrown off by the exclusion of one or more of the vital components.

Though a few sites boast lists pertaining to the best gluten free burgers in Melbourne, frequent visits to places on those lists have proved disappointing, as though many writing the lists don’t understand what makes a burger good in the first place.

Further still, what about the “normal” people who eat alongside us? How do they know that the gluten free burger will be listen on a menu alongside decent glutinous, cheesy burgers, dripping with onions?

Welcome to my 2017 initiative: So You Want To Eat a Burger. Here, myself, one who must abstain from GLUTEN, LACTOSE and FRUCTOSE, will review burgers alongside a compadre who can eat whatever they damn well please. Together, we will diligently work to bring together the official and comprehensive list of the best intolerant friendly burgers in Melbourne, but also the best place for both the food intolerant and intolerably healthy, to eat delicious burgers, and of course, fries, together.

The Beer and Burger Bar

Location: 112 Swan St, Richmond
Contact: (03) 9429 5934beers@tbbb.com.au
Open for Business: 
Sun – Thu: 11 AM to 10 PM; Fri – Sat: 11 AM to LATE
Score: At the bottom of the review. READ ON…

16196997_1093519937441027_1170594993_o.jpgCan’t have beer without sport and no back support


Claire (The pain in the ass):  

The Beer and Burger Bar breaks the menu down into eight burgers defined by their patty, plus a weekly special. There’s a vegetarian option, though the inclusion of haloumi and aioli, leaves vegan burger lovers hungrier than usual.

For those feeling brave, there is The Don, a burger made up of 1.2kg of beef, 16 bacon rashers and all the usual suspects served in a 700g house made brioche bun, with a side of chips and two cans of soft drink. The record at time of writing is 25 minutes and 55 seconds. 24 hours notice required.

On the other hand, if you feel like tiny burgers, they also do that. Sliders are available, but only for the gluten munchers amongst us.

I’ll break the news early: there are no gluten free fries. The chips are beer battered, bringing disappointment and increased sadness (as if we needed it) to the gluten intolerant masses.

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Shit photo. Don’t rate.

I omitted the cheese from The Chicken Burger for my late lunch. The poultry was accompanied by tomato, smashed avocado, lettuce, smoked bacon and a chipotle aioli. Avocado, tomato and aioli contain a moderate level of fructose, so I manage my consumption of these ingredients carefully to avoid trouble.

The chicken was tasty, avoided being too dry, and was complemented by a standard mix of nice ingredients. The sauce was interesting, really quite delicious, but I still found myself searching the table of condiments for something to add with a bit more pizazz.

Where the meal was really let down was the bun. Dry and crumbly, almost seeming stale, far too thick, and stodgy as it went down, a constant reminder that I was eating a lesser version of the fares than my “normal” companion.

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Perhaps it’s my fault for ordering wine (from a very small list) instead of the titular beer (very extensive selection), but the drinks side of thing for a joint that advertised booze before burgers, left me less than impressed. The wine, a Pinot Grigio, wasn’t very good, to the point I was concerned it may have turned. As I mourned the lack of gluten free beer on a very hot day, I watched the staff pour my glass from the same bottle of wine they’d just used on their forehead and neck to cool themselves down. On that note, the staff really let the experience down. Disinterested and unhelpful, I’ve had far better customer service from a 15-year-old at McDonalds.


Dan (The one who eats whatever he wants):

I consumed The Beast, a classic double burger: double beef patty, double cheese and double bacon. As a whole, the burger was large enough to feel big, but not too large you couldn’t eat it with 2 hands.

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The beef patties were well cooked and easy to get through, though arguably a touch dry. The cheese had a fantastic melt within the burger; pulling out with a mouthful always dragged some cheese strands with it, of which was good quality. The bacon was a secondary portion of the meal, adding but not noticeably so. The burger contained the unusual choice of gherkins, they neither made nor broke the meal. The bun was possibly the weakest part of the meal, not weak as a whole but imparted little.

A powerful part of The Beast were its sauces. The burger has a 3 headed monster of tomato Sauce, American mustard and aioli. These combined very well with the rest of the burger, they avoided being the dominant flavour or completely absent. The fillings did not carry the sauce, the sauce didn’t carry the fillings. The mustard gave it enough kick to add to the overall experience.

The burger was garnished with an onion ring. I’m not about the onion ring life in the way some are, but it was of a decent quality, an inoffensive part of the meal.

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Oreo, more like gloreos.


Dan: Chocolate Oreo Milkshake
This was a treat. The milkshake passed the first test of all milkshakes, having some discernible flavour other than milk, and boy did it ever. It was strongly flavoured by its Oreo content, which made it quite chocolatey, and added some tasty chunks through the straw (a texture I adore). Only downside was the size, a little on the small side. 

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The motto

Scorecard

DAN – 8/10

Patty: 8.5/10
Sauce: 4.5/5
Other fillings: 8/10
Bun: 3/5
Fries: NA
X-Factor: Onion Ring

CLAIRE – 6.2/10

Patty: 6.5/10
Sauce: 3/5
Other fillings: 7/10
Bun:2/5
Fries: NA
X-Factor: NA

Any burger recommendations? Let a gal know in the comments.

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Cafe Zen Den

Here it is, the first post in my journey to fall back in love with food.

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Fact: hipster’s flowers will die if not stored in mason jars or glass milk bottles. Sugar will not taste as sweet if not stored in a similar fashion.

It’s mildly depressing that making myself leave the house to go eat something, so I could write about it here, was a serious effort. My lacklustre approach to food is really getting out of hand.

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On the suggestion of my friend, Rudi Edsall, and after researching gluten-free friendly eateries close to my home, I chose Café Zen Den, which recently opened in Eltham.

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Menu. Note: no bill splitting.

The menu included a few vegetarian and vegan options, but as far as gluten and lactose intolerance combined goes, my only option on the savoury front was rice paper rolls.

Considering I usually eat them at least twice a week, I wasn’t excited, and getting excited about food again is the whole point of this blog.

Instead, my eyes locked onto the vegan, raw, gluten free cheesecakes. “How?” I hear you gasping. Hazelnuts, almonds, coconut oil, dates, and cacao, apparently.

Nuts can be tricky with fructose malabsorption. Some are quite high in the natural sugar, and the Internet is full of conflicting information about how to consume them. Monash University, pioneers of the low FODMAP diet, recommend avoiding cashews and pistachios, and consuming other nuts, particularly walnuts and almonds, in moderation.

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Such chocolate. Very vegan. Much raw. Wow. So rose petals.

The cake was pretty great. Not overly sweet, as I’d expected it to be. Just the right amount of creamy, chocolate flavour. The base was chewy and packed a punch of sweetness.  It was very heavy and rich, though, and I did feel a little sick afterwards.

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Ugh. Soy.

I also indulged in a flat white, made with soy milk, of course. The fact this coffee tasted good was a testament to the ability of the bearded barista, cause lets be honest, soy milk is just the worst.

As I’ve stated previously, I’m writing this blog because my largely ornamental gut has stopped me from finding any joy in eating. Yet, while I sat alone in this cafe, listening to the No Such Thing as a Fish podcast and devouring cheesecake, I was quietly content.

I left with my pretty photos, a full stomach, and a desire to return so I can try the bright pink raspberry cheesecake. This is as close to food making me happy as I’ve been in a long time.

Although I did enjoy my brief but passionate affair with Cafe Zen Den, there weren’t many options for people with dietary restrictions. One great raw, vegan, gluten-free cheesecake does not an accommodating eatery make.

I’d recommend Cafe Zen Den to food intolerants who want a slice of a killer cheesecake and a decent coffee, but not much else, I’m afraid.

Three and a half bearded baristas out of five.

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Good thing I’m not allergic to petals.

Have you been to an excellent eatery I may like? Please leave your suggestions in the comments below, or Tweet me: @missclaireh

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About

The Intole-rant

Food is a pretty big deal these days. Reality cooking shows, food trucks and food bloggers: they’re all symptoms of the culinary obsession that has swept the nation. But while some have become obsessed with knowing the difference between a macaron and a macaroon, or how to pronounce quinoa, I’ve been left in the dust.

I’ve had a large portion of my bowel removed over the past ten years, and what’s left of it is honestly pretty useless.

It was finally found when I was 20 years old that years of severe bowel illness had made digesting a drag, and I had developed a myriad of food intolerances. Not the trendy kind that vary in intensity based on the amount of company present, the severe and life altering kind that according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, affect almost 4 million Australians.

Unfortunately doctors cannot explain the rise in intolerance occurrences, and there is no cure. For those affected, the only management is avoiding the problem foods.

Though this sounds easy, in reality the general population’s poor understanding of food intolerances means that eating out is incredibly difficult, and at times impossible.

All this has culminated so that for myself, and many others like me, food is no longer a pleasure. Instead it has become somewhat of a bland and necessary evil.

So that’s what this section of my blog is about; despite my gut’s disliking for wheat, lactose and fructose, I am on a quest to enjoy eating again, and help others like me do the same.

I am going to find eateries where I can order more than a garden salad (with no onions, please), and then review the food right here, discussing taste, price and the way it affects my body.

Through that process, I hope to help the growing number of others living with similar intolerances by providing a comprehensive guide to eating out with dietary requirements.

But I also hope this little part of my blog can help educate those with perfectly operating digestive tracts about the facts and realities surrounding food intolerances, and through this understanding, they may become a little more tolerant of those like me.