Rating: 5 / 10
They put the dry in "dry-aged". My last meal at The Vandelay was a triumph of great flavours, good service and decent prices for the quality of the ingredients rendered. I had been meaning to try the much talked about burger for months, but never quite got around to it. Freshly returned to the city with a brimfull of optimism, I called a friend and we headed down to barcode to finally sink our teeth into what we expected would be the best burger in town.
Was it? Absolutely not.
We got our take-away and ate just around the corner so that the experience wasn't ruined by the burger sitting too long in the paper bag. Burger and fries were emptied out onto a park bench and attacked in routine assault.
Both of us decided to try the burger first and simultaneously bit in, chewed and stared at each other in disappointed confusion. This was what all the talk was about? THIS?
From a purely visual perspective it seemed to fullfill the quota. Brioche bun, dressing, decently sized patty, some onions and tomato jam poking their shy face out from the hidden depths. However, what really stung about this burger was not the price (even tho that was rather rich), but the fact that it lacked almost any real flavour or umami. The patty was well cooked, but bone dry. There were quite a few moments where a chunk of gristle or fat had evaded the grinder and found it's way into my mouth. Unpleasant as that is, i'll forgive almost anything if the flavour of the burger is great. This wasn't. The jam was much, much too sweet, the cheese was almost non-existant, the bun was decently regular, but the main gripe is the underlying lack of anything craveable.
It shouldn't be this way when you think of the people who's trials and errors have gone into making this, but i'm sorry, this doesn't work. AT ALL. It was almost unpleasant to eat, leaving a desirelessly bitter flavour on the palate and drawing no gasps of rapture.
The fries, being almost 12 Euro, were cheeky enough from that perspective, but doused so heavily in truffle salt or some home-made fry-spice, that they too gave off an unpleasant earthiness that tasted more of moist bark than triumphant truffle. Apart from not being in any way crispy, they were a massive no-no in the corridors of value for money.
Disappointment is not the sort of dessert you want when leaving a restaurant of such ilk, but today that's what we were served. Leaving underwhelmed, wallet-shy and maintaining an off-putting bitter taste in our mouths long out into the afternoon.
I really, really hate to say it, but if you want a burger, go to Munchies just 50 meters away.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"