Captain Melville

It must have been fate…

Captain Melville-4…because with recent events, holidays and what-not it had been weeks since my last decent burger fix.. And i was pining for something truly memorable. Melbourne suffered through some some gale force winds and horrendous weather during late afternoon, so by the time I had my hair cut and got to JW’s new apartment in Southbank to check it out it was just after 8. Now, I won’t lie. I had some truly tremendous expectations of the rebirth of Miss Lib, and Shayne McCallum behind the reigns in the kitchen was going to ensure that they delivered. Captain Melville had been on the hit list for a little while now (Sorry J, my usual burger buddy, I feel like I have cheated on you!)  so with myself and JW having pretty much nothing in our guts due to anticipation, we made the short 3km track down to Franklin St and into the belly of the beast to tackle what truly read as an interesting burger.

Entrance to Captain MelvilleAs, on my many occasions to burger haunts in the past (Hux, Merrywell), we began with one of Brooklyn’s finest. I was a fan, JW not so much.

Brooklyn LagerNot feeling content with just the burgers, JW cased the menu and opted for the crispy fried chicken ribs, glued to the plate with some of the finest sriracha mayo I’ve yet tried.

Chicken RibsThese were a pretty interesting foray into the nights proceedings. The aroma as they were sat on the table was delectable. Such a medley of herbs, spices, and ‘just drove past a KFC’ addictiveness. These were great, a real tantaliser of an entree.. And that mayonnaise? Wow.. If anybody has any ideas if there is any reputable bottles out there, please, hit me up.

Next? Well, the draw card of course… The Captain’s Burger. Take a moment to digest the ingredients: 2 (Yes, two, though it’s not explicitly mentioned on the menu) Sher wagyu patties (And yes, I know these days it’s more of a marketing gimmick but these were genuine), double cheese, crispy bacon, tangy pickle, lettuce, and a Yarra Valley egg. Joining them together? Hands down the best brioche ever.

Captain's BurgerJust take a moment to marvel at what you see before you. It was genuine artwork on a plate, and I could go into a whole song and dance about how good it was but JW’s first words he managed to mutter when he had removed the glorious wonder juices from his face was “This is the best burger I have ever ate”. And you know what? His sentiments had merit. The brioche, to begin with, was the true highlight. Soft, a touch sweet, and with the trademark wash on the top which gave it an incredible sheen. It was like something straight out of a Vietnamese bakery.

The signature patties married beatifully to the creamy, sunny-side-up and oh-so-runny egg and the saltiness of the bacon pared beautifully with the decadence of the double cheese. If, I had to have one gripe, it was that they didn’t put the Sriracha mayo from the wings inside. But you know what? They probably don’t put it in because if they did the burger would be absolute perfection and there would be no need for any other thing on the menu. Alas.. Next time I’ll ask. Oh, without failing to mention the chips these were pretty good too. Hand cut and all. I still prefer french fries with my burger though.

Every so often a burger comes and along and presents the sorts of stuff you dream about long after. Captain Melville is that place. 2013’s new #1.

Captain Melville
34 Franklin St Melbourne Vic 3000
Captain Melville on Urbanspoon


La Conserva – March 2013

Another year rolls around…

Tomato grinderWhich means another round of the inaugural conserva (tomato sauce) making. Flying in from Brisbane late last night, we awoke this morning to find the clacking of pots, and my brother (pictured) clearly preparing himself for the day work.

Lydia looking on

Making homemade sauce may seem easy on paper, but the steps involved took up almost half a day, many beers, a bottle of champagne, a bottle of chablis, and countless Roma tomatoes.

The first step, obviously, requires the pre-ordering and acquisition of the best Roma’s you can find. And you will need plenty.

Roma Tomatoes When you have selected these, they are sorted and the average ones are discarded. The rest are sliced for stage 1 of the preparation.

sauce 11When they have been sliced, they are dumped into tubs.

Sliced tomatoes in tubsFrom the tubs, they go into a large pot.

Sliced tomatoes in potAnd in the large pot they are sat on top of a gas burner and boiled.

Gas burnerRemoving the pot from the stove, we are left with some tasty, soft boiled tomatoes, and a crap tonne of water.

boiled tomatoes

Needing to remove the first lot of water, we first drain them, and then pile the tomatoes into a bag where they are further squeezed.

draining tomatoesThis is necessary, because watery sauce adds nothing to flavour and whilst it will stretch the yield you get, it is a similar principle to low yields in growing grapes – i.e. – less is best.

Next, beer.

peroni red can

Once hydrated, it’s time to take the tomatoes and feed them into the machine.

Feeding the tomatoes

This is where the magic happens, and all the hard work starts to come alive. The sea of red testament to a fantastic product, hard work and a long legacy handed down from generation to generation.

Coming aliveThe tomato skins are re-passed through the press 2-3 times to extract all the juice. Because of the means to drain them previously, the viscosity of the sauce is thick, and undue liquidity kept to a minimum.

Liquid Gold.

From here, it’s time to take your new, or sterilised bottles to begin bottling.

Bottles ready to be sauced.

Next, more beer,

HydratingAfter another round, it’s time to go ahead and put the sauce into the bottles.

BottlingAnd to cap them off, tight.

CappingOnce capped, bottles are placed on top of the gas burner and heated yet again.

Finished product.And from there it’s job done. Once this is complete, bottles are removed and stored – where they may be kept and put to good use for years.

Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra, Singapore

Well, with Singapore’s weather..

Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra

Turning to shit for the second day straight, our Racecourse Rd Indian hawker plans were shelved for the evening. Not content with the prospect of swimming in our own clothes, we found ourselves yet again inside Marina Bay Sands.

I’ve always wanted to tick an upmarket Indian restaurant off my bucket list. It’s not something you don’t do because you don’t want to, it’s just that most offer more casual styles of dining, so it was with great pleasure that Lydia and I found ourselves outside Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra. I’ve certainly been accused of being addicted to celebrity restaurants before, so it’s clear to note Jiggs is certainly far from a household name.

In we went, past the masses of friendly waitstaff on hand who genuinely throughout the whole night seemed to want to make your stay as memorable as possible. These were folks who truly cared for your enjoyment, and without a doubt made the night more memorable.

We started off with a palate cleanser Indian Lassi, a shot of yoghurt which no doubt lined the stomach for the onslaught of spice and chilli that was to follow.

Indian Lassi at  Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra

Indian Lassi at Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra

We also indulged in some fresh conical papadams which came with a ballistically hot raita, more neutral garlic yoghurt and a delectably sweet mango chutney.

Conical Papadams at Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra

Conical Papadams at Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra

A short while later, our mains arrived: Chicken Tikka Masala, Meat Punjab Grill (A signature dish), and Jeera Rice; soft, fluffy basmati laced with cumin seeds.


The mains at  Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra

The mains at Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra

We swept this up with some spectacular butter naan.

Butter Naan at Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra

Butter Naan at Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra

When it came time for dessert, we settled on a degustation of several – unfortunately, I have misplaced my notes on what we ate, and seeing as it was almost a week ago (no wi-fi since then), the only one that springs to mind was this amazing rice pudding (Phirnee), which whilst not something I would usually indulge in found too good to pass up.

Indian Rice Pudding at Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra

Indian Rice Pudding at Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra

All up Jiggs offers some rather upmarket Punjabi fare that, if you have the opportunity and your floating around the casino, you definitely shouldn’t miss.

Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra
Marina Bay Sands Casino, Singapore