Devotees are enthralled by Grill'd. The Herald Sun even said that, "Burger connoisseurs should pray for one in their neighbourhood." There are other equally glowing reviews to be found, some plastered over the windows.
[ADVERT]Oblivious to all the fuss, I just happened to be hungry as I walked into Yarraville's Grill'd. Loud music (more Triple J than Triple M) was the only sign of the retro burger experience awaiting me. By the time I reached the counter, it was clear I was in for more than I had expected. Still adjusting to the doof-doof vibe, my eyes glazed over at the display menu. It was full to the brim of burger options: beef, lamb, chicken, vegan, kids, and snacks, not to mention a host of variations for steak sandwiches, hot chips, salads and additional toppings.
The attendant kindly helped me order. Who knows how he worked out that I wanted a snack-sized meal with plenty of salad in a healthy bun, from the perplexed look on my face, but, relieved, I was off to find a seat. The waitress who brought the meal to the table minutes later was equally as pleasant.
Grill'd is large, open and spacious - at last a cafe with plenty of space to spread out, read and enjoy the guilty pleasure of a meal you've been told to avoid. For people watchers, tables by the large windows let you see what's happening in the miniature streets of Yarraville central.
Tables by the window at Yarraville's Grill'd are a great spot for people-watching
If you can tell a place by its magazine collection, Frankie and Oyster are on hand to browse through. It came as no surprise to discover a few other features to distinguish Grill'd from your average burger dive, like the envelope with the button inside. Seems Grill'd gives a donation of $300 each month to its diner's favourite cause. To vote, you just place the button in one of the three large jars labelled with local charities on your way out.
Grill'd donate to their customer's number one charity
The Yarraville hub is the perfect home for Grill'd. This suburb long ago loosened the grip on its working class heritage and today is filled with fresh looking shops, cafes and coffee joints, and after seven o'clock at night this tiny precinct starts to pump. Cafes fill. People file in, and out of, the Sun picture theatre, and it's often single file on the busy footpath. Grill'd is perfectly located right in the middle of this hipster rabbit warren.
The promotional material says that Grill'd burgers, 'Made with Love' from the highest quality fresh ingredients, are good for you. Hmmm. What I can say is that the burger was the best I'd had for a long time. The meat, decently grilled, was tender, and spilled out of the sides of the bun along with tomato sauce as I forced it into my mouth - as you do with burgers. Thankfully, a number of large, thick serviettes come with the cutlery.
In fact this burger was so good, it had me wondering how tastes are influenced by our surroundings. Whether it can be put down to the youthful atmosphere or the fresh ingredients - and with apologies to the burger scene in Pulp Fiction, this is one tasty burger.
I really didn't care that it cost a bit extra.
If you want a burger to remember, or a meal in a modern upbeat cafe in one of the liveliest pockets of Melbourne, Yarraville's Grill'd is the right destination.