‘Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.’
John Maynard Keynes
It doesn’t take an advanced economics degree to understand basic supply and demand. I invite you to enjoy not only my second burger breakdown, but also my analysis of the Melbournian burger landscape.
Capitalism, the reason why we are now plagued or blessed with up-market burger shops throughout Melbourne. Apparently Melbourne, the most liveable city in the world has an insatiable thirst for burgers. This has led to a plethora of so-called up-market burger shops to almost, overnight, appear in Melbourne. However this has resulted in varying degrees of quality in burger shops. Humburger, located on Glenferrie Road Hawthorn, walks a tight rope between being an outstandingly pleasurable experience and a burger nightmare.
As the great Lawyer Dennis Denuto, from The Castle fame, once said, ‘It’s ‘the vibe, and…no that’s it…it’s the vibe’. It’s here Humburger does not disappoint. Upon entering Humburger, my ears were greeted with the soul tantalising sounds of Taylor Swifts hit song Shake it Off. Being the self confessed inner city kewl cat with long hair and a multitude of hair ties, who only listens to triple J and prefers musicians with a maximum 1000 likes on facebook, one would assume that I would be inclined to rate down a burger joint that would be inclined to play music like this. But as I indulged in my burger, I noticed that this up-beat music enhanced my eating experience. It was a breath of fresh air to walk into a shop that isn’t playing some new-wave-foreign-electro-eskimo-beat in a quest to be different and individual. Music aside, the décor in this burger establishment was sublime. Whats cooler than cow skin fur walls? There were also kewl mini tenpin bowling balls and a spherical tomato sauce bottle that slid along our table, providing hours of fun. Not sure how this would work though with a group full of drunk hungries from a night out at Room. They also have a rewards system, the calling card of any great food proprietor. So far Dennis, this place is vibing.
To the burger – I order their speciality, the New York Burger. It seams to me that any fast food that wants to give authenticity to their food names it the New York ‘something’. Name aside, the New York comprises of 2 beef patties, bacon, cheddar, caramelised onion, pickles, mayo and tomato sauce. When it came out, although it wasn’t huge in terms of volume, it did look like what I imagine a heart attack would take if it were to take on food-form and be served on a plate. Cheese and grease were dripping off the burger. As I picked up this Elvis Presley killer, the grease and cheese oozed onto the table. Now most people would be put off by this… However I do have a soft spot for food that will ultimately bring about my premature death. So knowing that I have a genetic predisposition to high blood pressure and cholesterol, I charged down this burger in 5 bites. Both paddies were cooked to perfection; a tiny little bit crunchy on the outside, while moist on the inside. The whole burger as a unit worked perfectly, the flavours fusing seamlessly with each bite. I am not a pickle fan – I rarely enjoy them unless they are presented properly. The pickles in this were large, however combined with the cheddar cheese, mayo and tomato sauce, they all merged perfectly to create the ultimate pickle experience. The burger cost $14.50, which is a pretty standard price for a top-notch burger.
The fries we ordered were the disco fries, which are like your standard fries, but served with homemade cheese whizz (whatever that is? Tasted like normal cheese to me) and BBQ sauce. The fries weren’t amazing, but they were greasy and probably took 3 months off my life, which I love, because for you my readers I am more than willing to sacrifice my health and the hope of seeing my grandchildren. However, the standard fries which were the same size cost $4 while these cost $8, so in effect I was paying an extra 4 bucks for some cheese and BBQ sauce.
Now to the dark underbelly of Humburger. I accept people will push the limits to achieve the Australian dream of owning your own quarter acre block. However I believe a standard of service to the customer must be maintained especially if you want to maintain a business in an already over-saturated market. Humburger is located 200 meters from Huxtaburger, arguably one of Melbourne’s most reputable burger shops. As I was about to purchase my burger, I was greeted with a ‘cash only’ sign. This really cheeses me off (pun intended), especially when in the shop is an ATM with a withdrawal fee. This was a clear attempt to rort money from an already disadvantaged uni student, struggling to survive on his fortnightly centrelink payments. But don’t worry the injustice doesn’t end here. As I purchased my $14.50 burger and $8.00 chips, I handed over a $50.00 note. As I sat down and looked in my wallet and noticed I had only been given $25.25 change back. My Further Mathematics brain struggled to comprehend this, as if he had been commissioned to solve string theory. I eventually gathered that I was $2.25 short. Being the polite individual that I am, I decided not to confront the cashier. My friend on the other hand took it as a personal affront and did. What we ultimately determined was that the prices didn’t include GST, even though they didn’t state it anywhere… Not happy Jan!
Ultimately, Humburger produces sublime burgers, however the underhanded tactics used by the store to make a quick buck would make me think twice before going there again. Capitalism has pushed our society to great heights; however what I experienced in Humburger makes me want to write to my local MP and petition for stringent burger regulation, because obviously the market is failing us. When I go to my local burger joint after saving my pennies I don’t want to be tricked into a $2 fee, or an extra 10% GST charge. If I were anymore working class, I would have had to forgo heating in my house during Melbourne’s cold snap just to make up these costs. But if you don’t value customer service and don’t mind paying cash with a secret GST charge, Humburger is definitely worth a look, even with a generically named New York burger.