Disclosure: I was invited to the launch of Grand Trailer Park Taverna, but returned on my own dollar
Burgers. We’re saturated in them. How much better can minced cow, squashed between two buns get? When you think about it, surely there’s not much more we can do, but then you come across Grand Trailer Park Taverna, and there’s nothing else you can think about.
But when you’re carrying the prestige that Dandenong Pavillion has with you, for some of the best darned burgers in Melbourne, you had better live up to it! And fortunately they do. Grand Trailer Park Taverna has opened up in the city with a bang, and damn. They’ve really cut the mustard. They do good burgers.
I was lucky enough to snag an invite to the launch, and bounded up the hidden set of stairs on the corner of Bourke and Exhibition, up into a room with caravans retrofitted as booths, picnic style wooden tables and chairs, and a whole lot of kitsch cuteness. It was colourful and playful with the beats spinning in the background; but I had a whole lot of tummy rumbling going on!
Fortunately, they were quick to dispense the mini burgers, and we were not disappointed. We tucked into McDowell’s, classics with Aussie beef patties, American cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, lettuce and McDowell sauce. The ‘Chunk’ was a serious hit amongst the group, with jalapeño’s and gherkins and caramelised onion adding a real bite and depth of flavour.
The Francis Underwood also totally slayed us towards the end of the night, with beef patties, American cheddar cheese, tomato, burger lettuce and the creme de la creme, a potato mac and cheese croquette. Slay me!
Let’s not forget the chips, which may not be as crunchy as I usually like them, but damn, hand cut chips are just the bomb. Hints of potato skin left, heaps of flavour. Loving it.
We also got to try the delightfully boozy salted caramel milkshake, healthily spiked with Markers Mark Bourbon. Whoo! Don’t let the kids get this one! Although boozy, it was still super tasty with the sweetness of the caramel coming up in the aftermath of the punch of bourbon.
Just as we were about to leave, desserts came out, and I certainly had no regrets staying to try them. The Return of the Mack; premium vanilla ice-cream, warm chocolate sponge cake, warm chocolate sauce and whipped cream was one of the most simple, but most enjoyable desserts I have had recently, the quality of the chocolate and ice-cream really coming through.
We also got a little sample of their Wizz Fizz Ice-cream, 3 mini waffles cones filled with that delectably smooth ice-cream, and coated with house made Wizz Fizz. You should have seen me. I was a sight, with my happy little kids dance as the Wizz Fizz fizzled and tickle the mouth. So playful and so much fun. I felt like I was 5 again.
Since the launch party, I have revisited with Brad and a friend, where I tucked into an Ivan Drogo, but ‘protein style’ (or that’s what they call it at In-n-Out…which is one of their inspirations), which means it’s sandwiched between lettuce leaves instead of bread. So it’s gluten free, and gives your waistline a little more peace of mind. Just a little.
The Ivan Drogo is a sexy little beast, with premium Aussie beef patties, American cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, black Russian tomato, sliced beetroot and tsar burger sauce. Just yum. Juicy, well rounded in flavour, and that tsar burger sauce? Mayo-y heaven. I was contemplating removing my bacon, I know blasphemy, as I was feeling a little bit ‘meated’ out for the week (mum had picked up a giant leg of ham and loads of bacon from Istra earlier in the week), but once I had it all in one bite…there was no changing anything! Loved the crunch of the lettuce as well.
We also tried the Ace of Spades dessert, a Nutella parfait with Nutella ice magic, house made marshmallow and roasted hazelnuts. If you’re not a chocolate lover, you better stay away. If though, like me, you would like to regularly bathe in a bath of chocolate…by all means, this is your dessert! I loved the texture of the ice magic when it had hardened, as there was still a nice and smooth softness to it and it was densely rich in chocolatey flavour. Swoon.
We also had more of the milkshakes, this time the salted caramel milkshake can topped with maple bacon (as every bourbon cocktail should). The kinder surprise with frangelico and baileys was a smooth and chocolatey delight, you could hardly taste the alcohol in it, but the peanut butter and jelly on the other hand, solidly smacked you in the face with rum. Woah. But like the salted caramel, the peanut butter and jelly flavours sneaked up as the flavour of the rum subsided in the mouth.
I was certainly a little bit more intoxicated than I had planned to be that night!
Grand Trailer Park Taverna is already pumping, full steam ahead, but even on a Friday night, I found the turnover time very reasonable, we only waited for about 10 minutes or so and they were very keen to make sure we were seated as soon as possible, and the ordering at the bar system makes ordering and receiving your food very simple and straight forward. I was immensely impressed during my second visit just how fast our burgers came out after ordering. It could not have been more than 5 or 10 minutes. Maximum.
And on top of that, even with how busy they are, all the staff are just so darned nice, which to be honest, is a little bit unexpected in what you would think is a super hipster joint.
I’m popping by later this week with the whole office, and I’m super excited, because that means waffles for all….
87 Bourke Street