You may have seen the advertising around – “Adelaide’s Best Pub Burger 2011″ is proudly held by The Hilton (at Hilton the suburb – nothing to do with Paris I promise). As such, this was a venue that we have long had in mind, but wanted to make sure that we had sufficient sampling of the competition quite literally under our belts before we took this on. In the lead up it did have the feeling of being like a grand final. The title fight. The carry over champ returning for the cash jackpot having secured the car. Can it really live up to the expectations and deliver on their much vaunted promise?
Venue & Service
The Hilton has undergone some significant renovations in recent years, however this was my first visit to the premesis so I cannot really comment on how it was before. The bar where we were seated (My Bar)was really cool though – very nice and modern and a genuinely nice place to be chilling out enjoying a pint of Coopers Sparkling and some food on a Thursday evening.
The service was efficient and friendly enough. Thats about it really – we got what we ordered and there was no issue there. Job done.
First thing first, this is a seriously sized burger. Even some twelve hours later I still felt like a small to medium sized python who had consumed a large rabbit. And I didn’t quite finish all of it. So for those who value their quantity for their dollar, then you will not be disappointed here. It did make it somewhat awkward to eat, but we perservered in the name of journalistic integrity.
The pattie was a considerable part of the burgers sizable height and girth. It is a 300 gram monster and came with minimal fill. Strangely, we all remarked on the immediate cumin hit on the first bite, and feared the worst that this was going to overpower everything as we had seen previously. However, this quickly dissipated much to our surprise and satisfaction, leaving behind a nice meaty tasting pattie. It had been cooked well done, so as you might expect this made it a bit hard going in sections as it tended towards being a little on the dry side in parts. It was overall quite enjoyable though.
So the fillings included in our quite sizable burger consisted of double smoked bacon, free range egg, onion jam, cheese, lettuce and tomato.
The bacon was nice but I would question its ‘double smoked’ nature to some degree as it wasnt particularly prevalant. The egg was a bit overdone so didn’t have a runny yolk (mine was just about runny, but the other two didn’t fare so well), while the onion jam was amazingly subdued to the point of being virtually non-existent. The slice of cheese was un-melted but this kind of worked, and the lettuce and tomato speak for themselves really (however one of the 3 burgers arrived with a small plantation of lettuce on there – a bit of overkill perhaps).
All in all, it was a sizable amount of stuff on there and it made for your fairly ‘standard’ burger with the lot sort of scenario.
Roll and Sides
A nice damper, warmed but not particularly toasted, was what we were getting to grips with and it provided good support throughout the eating and added some nice flavour too.
The sides were exceptional in their presentation, with 4 shotglasses sitting alongisde the cone of chips containing 3 sauces and a sliced dill pickle. The sauces – mustard, tomato relish and aioli – were excellent and a really nice touch indeed. The garlic aoili was excellent with the chips, which I decided to add much of the mustard sauce onto the burger which imporved things further.
The chips themsleves were rosemary and chilli chips, although this seemed more of a gimmick than anything. The chips themselves were ok, not amazing and not awful. Not as good as some of the top shelf potato goodies we have enjoyed with others, but didn’t let the side down either.
$19.90 was the entry price for the 5 star burger and given the size no complaint about value could be levelled at The Hilton. True, value isn’t in any way just about quantity, but overall you felt like you comfortably got good value for your dollars.
Summary and Score
So we should herd the elephant out of the corner of the room and come straight out with it – this is not the best pub burger in SA. At least, not based on the 3 that we were presented with on that sitting. Aside from the side sauces, there was nothing of any particular note, nothing to be raving about. The pattie was good, the fillings were good, the roll was good and the chips were good.
Yes, the burger was, on balance, good.
If they would learn from our good friends at Burger Theory on how best to cook the pattie (ie medium), scale it down a fraction, add a nice wholegrain mustard sauce and ensure the egg is runny and this would be right up there. Small things for sure, but any ham-fisted clown could slap the raw ingredients together. Of course, shaping it into an amazing burger takes a bit more skill and understanding.
Nothing to be ashamed of here from The Hilton, and on a good day it would be definitely worth going on about. However we can only judge what we were served.
Score – 7.9