If you stand on the south side of Easey Street in Collingwood and look up towards the sky across the road you will see a somewhat strange sight.
Whilst you might be hoping that someone might have found an ironic way to imprison Myki ticket inspectors, the train carriages are actually the dining “cars” for new Collingwood burger joint, Easeys. Having opened a pop-up in the CBD in December 2014, they opened their permanent site in early May just across the road from outside the the Kustom Kommune (home of Ironbark BBQ which we reviewed recently) – burger entree followed by beef brisket for main course anyone? The dining space is split into two levels, a bar downstairs and with more tables in the train carriage on the roof.
Unfortunately Easeys is only licenced to serve alcohol downstairs prior to 6pm, on this occasion we were in need of “hair of the dog” so that is where we started our adventure. Back at ground level the entrance to Easeys gives the look of a much more conventional American-style diner down to the font used on the window to advertise their presence. Don’t be put off by the multiple folks armed with walkie-talkies in front of the staircase leading to the roof – they are tribute to the immense popularity that Easeys has generated in its early days of existence and are needed to ensure that people don’t climb five floors of stairs for nothing…
Once inside we found a hip, retro-style bar/diner that alludes to what is on the roof through the graffiti on the wall and the old Met train seats that are used as benches for the booths on one side of the room.
On the other side of the room are old school arcade machines offering games such as Galaga and Dig Dug that also function as tables with small stools provided as seating.
We are big fans of both retro styling and video games and really liked the feel of the general atmosphere of the downstairs dining area.
The drinks list comprised of a range of fairly standard lagers and pale ales on tap, including the Yenda Pale Ale by the Australian Beer Company (which is ultimately part owned Coca-Cola) and the “Gunslinger” Pale Ale by Tooroobac, as well as cider and a range of spirits. The beers are served in upcycled stubbies which were very much in keeping with the vibe of the place.
The menu, which is handily clipped to the table, is simplicity and flexibility personified – you start with the “Easey Cheesy” which is a basic cheeseburger with pickles, to which can be added an additional pattie, bacon, cheese and/or jalapenos. No salad or veggies available at Easeys which was a deliberate decision on the part of co-founder Jimmy Hulston, one which we highly approve of! Also available are a range of Australian-style sides (chips, dim sims and potato cakes) as well as donuts and pop tarts for something slightly more American.
As has become customary in Melbourne burger places a couple of hot sauces are also available for those who need an extra spicy kick. For those who arrive between 7am and 11am and are sufficiently brave there is also fried chicken coated with bits of Frosty Flakes, served with a side of deep fried pop tarts – which sounds delicious and terrifying in equal measure.
Easey Cheesy with Bacon and Jalapeños ($10.00) and Large Fries ($6.50)
As we were well past breakfast time we decided to go for an Easey Cheesy with bacon and jalapeños added and large fries on the side.
While we really liked the space that Easeys have presented we were unfortunately a bit disappointed with the burgers themselves. The beef pattie was juicy and had good flavour but we found the bun to be a bit chewy and “meh” in terms of taste and also a little cold as well.
In addition we found it a bit difficult to detect the taste of the bacon or the jalapenos in the burger – the latter because there were not many peppers on the burger. The burger is not that big, which is fine given the price, but if you are hungry we would also recommend adding a second pattie and/or some sides.
After finishing our burgers we took a walk up the staircase (take the door to the left of the entrance to the ground level bar) to the rooftop dining area.
The first thought that came to our minds after reaching the train carriage dining area was “cool”. The inside of the carriage has been restored and brightened up (we don’t ever recall an old school Melbourne train looking this nice) while still retaining the feel of the old trains with the use of restored seats as benches for the dining tables, as was the case downstairs.
Although the area is relatively small, capacity has been managed well with the number of tables kept relatively low so that the area does not feel that crowded and there is plenty of room to move around (we were not the only people taking photos in the place and we never found ourselves falling over other people).
The outsides of the carriages have been also custom painted in the graffiti tag style. The graffiti artform is something that is close to the hearts of both of the co-founders and also adorns the walls of the internal staircase leading to the roof and it is intended that the space will be used to showcase the work of local and international artists.
In addition, there is also an outside dining area on the roof situated between two of the train carriages where you can eat your burger while having a view to the south towards the city over the diverse concrete jungle that is Collingwood.
In the end we were found in a quandary in forming a final opinion on Easeys. On the one hand, we think that the space is amazing and this is definitely the sort of place where we would bring visitors to Melbourne. On the other hand, whilst the burger was certainly not bad it was not amazing either and there are superior burgers out there.
This said, we did visit on the 3rd day of operations and we understand that the cook was a friend of the owners rather than a professional chef so we will likely give Easeys another go at a later stage when they have secured a permanent chef.
48 Easey Street
Sun – Thu: 7:00am to 11:00pm
Fri – Sat: 7:00pm to 1:00am