Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew opened in Fitzroy in 2012 and with its combination of 100% wagyu burger patties, the immersive feel of the open kitchen and a rotating craft beer range, quickly became my favourite place to get a burger in Melbourne. When Brother Burger announced that they were opening a second location in South Yarra on the previous site of the iconic Cafe Greco on Chapel Street, and asked The City Lane to come down and check it out, I keenly accepted.
On arrival there was already a noticeable visual difference between Brother Burger’s northern and southern branches – whereas the Fitzroy location has a relatively simple frontage, the South Yarra venue is adorned with a much louder neon sign which is more in line with the general vibe of Chapel Street.
The interior of the venue has been transformed completely from its Cafe Greco days to give the place a much more industrial look with sheet metal bolted to the walls along with over 800 vintage meat grinders. We thought the latter was a nice touch given Brother Burger’s primary cuisine. The narrow frontage means that the venue is reliant on artificial light sources as there are buildings on either side – again this has been done well with exposed bulbs hanging from the room enclosed in ‘cages’ which fits in well with the industrial motif and also creates just the right amount of light so that you can see what you are eating without being overly bright.
Most of dining area is set up in typical American diner style with a series of booths with cushioned bench seating – in this sense the South Yarra venue is even more diner-like in nature than the one in Fitzroy. There are also high benches which retain some of the old Greco feel with black marble-esque tabletops.
Brother Burger South Yarra also has an open kitchen which is a key feature of the Fitzroy venue. We really like this as it creates a more immersive experience, and the sound and smell of cooking burger meat helps to increase the anticipation of what is to come.
As expected, the menu offers an array of wagyu beef burgers, as well as a range of non-beef meat burgers including chicken, pork (both in patty and pulled form), lamb (ditto), and also a duck burger which we had previously tried and enjoyed at the Fitzroy location. There are also a couple of sandwiches (a BLT and a reuben) and also some salads and other plated meals. The drinks list, not surprisingly. is focussed on beer where there are 13 beers and two ciders on tap (up from 9 taps in total in Fitzroy) featuring a wide and rotating range of local craft breweries.
Some of our favourite breweries from both Victoria and interstate were featured on the night we visited, including Moon Dog, Feral and 7 Cent amongst others. We were particularly impressed and excited to find the Bridge Road Brew 1000 Imperial Stout by on tap – that Brother Burger South Yarra managed to get a relatively obscure and quite intense beer on tap is a testament to their dedication to the craft beer cause. After salivating over the beer list, we then turned to making decisions regarding our dinner.
Mushroom Arancini ($9.00)
We decided to start our meal with the mushroom arancini which were a special on the day we visited. These were smaller than usual aranchini balls (but to compensate you receive more than would typically come in a serving) which results in a higher coating to filling ratio which may or may not be to the taste of all people. The filling was tasty with the mushroom flavour coming through clearly without being overpowering, and the coating was not too thick.
Hot Stuff Burger With Double Cheese ($14.80)
We obviously couldn’t leave without trying a beef burger so next we tackled the Hot Stuff burger, which comes with double bacon, cheese, pickles, mustard mayo and chilli jam. The quality of the burger was up there with the original Fitzroy location, which is to say it was great – the patty was juicy and cooked medium with a bit of pink in the middle (just the way it should be), the bacon was soft rather than crispy (which I like) and the sauces nicely complemented the flavours of the meat and cheese. The buns are baked in-house daily and were also excellent – soft with a good density so as to not fall apart in your hand and not overly sweet.
Chicky Babe Burger With Double Cheese ($18.20)
We thought we would diversify and also tackled the Chicky Babe, Brother Burger’s version of a chicken burger with a crumbed chicken breast, to which we added double cheese on ‘Brother Mikey’s’ recommendation. This was probably one of the best chicken burgers we have tasted, the chicken was cooked perfectly as was the bacon and these combined well with the slaw and the cheese. The only suggestion that we have would be that the cheese could be a bit better distributed through the burger – we found we would hit ‘pockets’ of cheese in one part of the burger and then no cheese in other parts.
Lemon Tart ($8.50)
We were about to leave but couldn’t resist dessert and on this occasion the pie of the day was a lemon tart. This was a reasonably standard lemon tart but nothing to write home about – this said the lemon filling had the right texture, and the pie base had good structure and was not too sweet.
We ended our meal at Brother Burger South Yarra both very full and satisfied – the quality of the burgers at the new venue definitely meets the high standards set by the original location in Fitzroy and we would highly recommend it to anyone who finds themselves south of the river and in need of a burger and some craft beer.
Of course there are few things that divide a group of foodies more than a discussion around people’s favourite burger joints. The problem of course is that each person uses a different set of criteria to assess a given burger – some prefer the bun sweeter, some would rather a juicier patty with more fat in the mix, some want it spicy and so forth. What do you look for when searching for the “perfect burger”?
Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew South Yarra
560 Chapel Street
Sun-Thu: 12:00pm to 11:00pm
Fri-Sat: 12:00pm to 2:00am