Its not often that our comments are openly acknowledged by someone who is reading them. We do try and keep things constructive and well meaning, as everyone (we hope) is aiming to keep their customers happy and give them the best experience they can. This will differ from place to place of course in terms of what they are aiming for, but essentially this is the case.
It is even more rare for one of the venues we review to contact us and thank us for the feedback. Sure, a positive review will be commented on and perhaps re-posted, but something less than perfect tends to just get deafening silence. To be specific, I could count on one hand with 3 digits missing how many venues have contacted us in these circumstances.
This is a rather long winded and convoluted way of explaining that The Taxpayer was one of this very exclusive group (or duo if you prefer). To take that to the next step, they then made further contact once their new menu was released to say they had taken on board what we had offered last time and that we should come and check them out.
An invite to try a burger? Well…..ok then!
The Taxpayer is exactly where we found them last time, funnily enough, but things have certainly changed somewhat. The interior has been re-vamped, although to be honest it was such a lovely day we barely made it through the door. Outside there was some interesting vegetative type things (plants) growing around some….things. Yeah not strong on these details. But it did create a bit of an ‘enclosure’ to separate their area from the rest of the space, but without being at all claustrophobic.
The service was also excellent, being especially friendly, attentive and efficient.
The menu is completely different to last time, and you really need to read through it to get the whole effect, but there are options for beef, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, vegetarian and even crab. If you couldn’t find something on here to take your fancy, then you obviously aren’t really in the market for a burger.
The beers on tab need a special mention too, being from Thunder Road, a Victorian boutique brewery. Now we could take issue with the fact that there are many fine SA craft brewers that you could choose from, but I also welcomed the opportunity to try something different. Excellent beers they were too!
So, the moment of truth though. How have our words been interpreted and transformed into an improved burger experience? Sure, we probably had very little to do with this at all, but the promise on the page was for something excellent. Could it live up to the expectations? Time to find out.
From the Menu
Al Capone – Beef Patty, smoked mozzarella, pancetta, sticky balsamic onions, semi sundried tomatoes and pickled chilli $13 As a combo deal with a pint of Thunder Road (Hopstar) and chips $21
The patty was promised to be delivered medium, as was described on the menu. This is an issue for some but most definitely not for us, so I was on the lookout for some nice pink centred beef to enjoy.
Sadly, it could have been a little more medium in colour. It wasn’t overdone at all, it was just a bit more than promised.
But you know what? I couldn’t care less.
The beef was amazing juicy and tender. It just melted in your mouth, was full of great fresh beef flavour and some good char from the grill to boot. It was expertly seasoned and just so damn tasty. So if this is how they come out, then that is fine with me. 20 seconds less on the grill and it might have been a bit more ‘medium’ – but I doubt it would have tasted any better. Fantastic.
The fillings sounded great on reading but didn’t make for an amazing looking burger if I am honest. The Wesley Snipes (the other burger we ordered, comments to come) was easily the looker of the pair. However, someone said once that you shouldn’t judge a book by its beauty within or something like that, so I put the superficial judgements aside and jumped in.
You might think you know how this will all come together. You might get close. Your minds taste buds could be devouring the words on the page and forming an opinion close to the truth (as it was today) but I suspect it wont do it justice.
This was amazing.
The pancetta was brilliant, as it always is. Its like bacon but so much better. The smoked mozzarella was in good supply and added a great texture, as well as some subtle char flavours. Semi dried tomatoes gave some lifted tones and the picked jalapenos gave an element of heat as well as cutting through the richness.
But the onions really made it for me. Sticky balsamic is one of my favourite ingredients to use and I always add in sticky balsamic and fig reduction into my caramelised onions. They added sweetness, some acid, as well as the texture and just yumminess (yes its a word) that proper caramelised onions offer. It helped to balance the whole thing out and give a structure for it all to hang off.
But this is really trying to analyse something which I could sum up in two words: <expletive> delicious!!
Yep – seeded brioche roll similar to the majority of places. But these were about as good as we have had, with perhaps a bit more butter in there for good measure. Damn good is all I can say, and I wish I knew where they got them from!
Chips were part of the lunch combo offer and they were good chips. Somewhat over-shadowed by the burger, but they were tasty fried bits of potato. Not the best I have ever had, but fine all the same. We added in the hot mayo with this, which is basically a chilli and paprika mayo, and that was pretty good too.
$13 for the burger alone is pretty good value, throw in a pint of excellent craft beer and some chips for $8 and this then elevates it to excellent. Good lunch size too.
Whether or not our previous review had anything to do with this transformation at all is debatable at best, but what isn’t up for negotiation is how good this is now. It is a significantly different venue, but still with the same charms as before. The quality of the burgers offered today was top notch, and I said at the time that I didn’t think I have ever had a better burger than this.
On reflection, I stand by that statement.
Sure, the beef wasn’t as pink as it might be but that was irrelevant in the end. It was just a riot of flavours and textures, all melding together and just forcing me to stop and wonder how this humble looking burger could possibly be tasting so good.
There is always a risk of us putting something up on a pedestal, then one of our readers heads along and comes back disappointed. Everyone’s palate is different, everyone has ideas on what is great and what is average. I mean, people genuinely enjoy TGIF for example.
All we can ever offer is our opinion and in this instance I think we may have a new king in town. We need to go back and some some further….ahem….research into their other items, but if they are up to this standard then we may have a new standard by which to judge all other venues.
Congratulations on the changes, and thank you for the hugely enjoyable lunch. We will be back very soon.
Score – 9.7