Beatbox Kitchen Melbourne started as a single van in 2009 serving quality burgers to the Melbourne public. It grew from owner Raph Rashid’s desire to bring the kind of burgers he had been enjoying on various trips to the USA to Melbourne. A lot has changed between 2009 and 2013 as regards the Melbourne burger scene. Countless establishment serving “real” burgers have popped up – Huxtaburger, Merrywell, B.East and Mr. Burger to name a few.
The question that needs to be asked is whether or not Raph and his now 2 vans, Side A and Side B, still serve up some of the best burgers in Melbourne?
Twitter and Facebook serve the purpose of advertising the daily locations of the vans at lunch and dinner. Beatbox Kitchen generally roams around the Inner-Northern suburbs of Melbourne, in locations where there isn’t much food related going on. Occasionally the vans will head to other parts of Melbourne, and have even been known to show up at music festivals on occasion. The locations range from carparks and actual parks, to the side of main streets.
An example of the creativity that the food van concept provides can be seen when looking at one of the usual van locations outside of small bar Mr. Wilkinson on Lygon Street, Brunswick East. When the van is parked out the front, you can grab a burger and take it into the bar with you. It’s the perfect example of how street food vans can work with existing fixed location businesses to the mutual benefit of both parties (which is something certain Melbourne councils seem unable to grasp).
The kitchen is small, however the burgers and fries are served at a decent speed. Generally the wait is no more than 10 minutes, and if it’s quite busy, the wait is around 15 minutes. The menu is very focused and only uses top quality, local ingredients. Your food options are:
- Raph Burger – $11.00 – 170 gram Tasmanian grass fed beef batty, cos lettuce, gouda cheese, tomato, onion and stereo sauce (a tangy mayonnaise) in a soft white bun.
- ‘Shroom Burger – $10.00 – Portabello Mushroom, cos lettuce, gouda cheese, tomato, onion and stereo sauce in a soft white bun.
- Fries – $5.00 – Shoestring fries served with either tomato relish, spicy tomato relish or stero sauce.
Coke and water are also available.
I always go for the Raph Burger and Fries. The ratio of meat to other ingredients to bread is perfect and the beef patty is just right. Seasoned with salt and pepper, char grilled on the outside, light pink on the inside. Unlike many other burgers vying for the title of Melbourne’s best, the bun is not a brioche bun. To quote Raph “Sweet buns aren’t even in my train of thought”. I’m very happy about this, as far too many places in Melbourne get their Brioche buns wrong and end up with something that is far too sweet.
The fries are… well they exactly what you would expect. Fried to order until golden brown, salted and crispy.
The old school radio is attached to, I assume, an MP3 player and pumps out a variety of suitably old school tunes, most often hip-hop and R&B.
I have frequented Beatbox Kitchen more times than I can remember over the past 18 months. When I first tried the Raph Burger (I can’t bring myself to try the ‘Shroom when the Raph is so good) I anointed it with the title “best burger in Melbourne”. Since the second van, Side B, has opened I have noticed a change in consistency. At its best, which is most of the time, the Raph burger still is, in my opinion, the best burger in Melbourne. At its worst, it’s still a very good burger, still top 10 material, but doesn’t quite land the killer blow.
In any case, I’ve yet to have a bad burger from Beatbox Kitchen, and would highly recommend that you track down one of the vans and try it for yourself sometime.
Telephone: (03) 8060 6664
Mon – Sun: Lunch from 12:00pm, Dinner from 5:00/6:00pm