Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew

July 14, 2013

413 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Hello from Washington D.C.! I’m in the States for three weeks completing a subject as part of my law degree, and I’ve squeezed in a bit of tourist time as well. For lunch today, in between visiting the White House and the Smithsonian, I ate a burger, curly fries and a vanilla custard shake from Shake Shack, the New York food institution founded in 2004 that has since spread to other cities, D.C. included.

My lunch inspired me to write up a dinner I had in Melbourne a few weeks ago with Alex at Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew, a new-ish burger-cum-diner at the top end of Brunswick Street.

See the thing is, Alex and I have this little brother-sister pact where occasionally, to mark certain milestones, we’ll take each other out for burgers. This, at least, is the explanation I’m offering for part of the personal burger festival we celebrated a few months back. A few weeks ago, one such milestone was reached and so it was to The Internet (said in superhero voice) I went to sniff out a burger joint for our Friday night feast!

I’d heard excellent things from a number of friends about Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew so, despite the wind and the rain that night, we headed out to Fitzroy to try their 100% Wagyu patties. As Alex said “you had me at ‘Wagyu'”.

The place is large and dimly lit, with a long bar running along the back half of the restaurant. Here, patrons are able to watch their burgers being cooked, as if the mere smell of beef when entering the door wasn’t enough to inspire salivation. The front room, which until recently was a separate cafe run by the owners, includes a huge round table with teal blue high-chairs that are ridiculously comfortable.

The outside area (obviously) wasn’t being used, but I can image it being a popular spot in warmer months.

Check it out – at Brother Burger with my brother! Looking across to see the word ‘BROTHER’ emblazoned on Alex’s chest as a result of street light coming in through the window was the highlight of my evening: such a great photo opp (in the daggiest way possible).

Judging by the large cylinders in a glass cabinet in the middle of the room, I think they brew their own beer here, in addition to sourcing a rotating menu of craft beers from Australia and New Zealand. Not to be anti-patriotic, but I must admit my NZ Croucher Pale Ale was pretty great, the perfect accompaniment to a hearty burger.

The menu is very extensive and by no means limited to beef burgers, but the two times I’ve been here (the second with the folks – we got in early to avoid the crowds and they loved it) everyone’s ordered a beef burger. It seems to be the thing to do, and I haven’t been able to find a consensus opinion on other menu items, such as the slow cooked lamb bun.

Alex had the ‘Royal Blue’ burger – a sweet and juicy pink Wagyu patty, blue cheese, bacon, onion jam, house made pickles and ketchup. Artful wedge of blue cheese on the side was a nice touch, and he absolutely loved it. Couldn’t help himself from ordering it again when we came by a week later.

I stayed classic and went with the ‘Plain’ burger (wagyu beef, lettuce, house pickles, mustard mayo and ketchup) with the addition of cheese and jalapenos (I like my burgers with a bit of ‘oomph’). ‘Plain’ couldn’t be further from the truth: a moist, pink Wagyu patty, melty cheese, killer condiments and a crispy sheet of lettuce. It was bitchin’.

Fat fries were some the best I’ve ever had: crisp golden walls hiding soft-soft potato inside. Coarse salt and mayonnaise were the perfect accompaniments.

The food arrived and we fell upon it like starving men. All conversation stopped as burgers were cradled fervently, respectfully in hands before being devoured. Dribbling rivers of sauce were licked off fingers and chips were kidnapped from their bowl, quickly dragged through some sauce and thrown into our mouths. Napkins were sacrificed by the handful. It was almost a holy experience. It was everything a burger and fries should be. You wanted to make it last longer but you. Just. Couldn’t. Help. Yourself.


I’m not going to describe the burger orgy any more, but if you haven’t already cottoned on to Brother Burger, for goodness sake take the tram up past Vegie Bar (yetch, vegetables…), pull up a seat, have the barman pull you a beer and get a burger in ya!

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Filed under: American, Burgers, Fitzroy