The Adelaide Hotels Association SA best burger awards is the most important part of the Adelaide Show, make no mistake. We waited on the result and once it was announced that the Watermark at Glenelg had picked up the gong we swiftly made plans to check it out.
The Watermark isn’t a venue I had been too previously, but essentially it’s a big sprawling hotel in a similar style to the Highway, The Barker and a pile of others no doubt. On the night in question we nestled ourselves into the “beer garden” and were presented with a nice if a little character free area, however there was some very cool live music being played to improve the whole vibe.
Their menu is fairly expansive with a variety of burgers, schnitzels, steaks amongst other things. There was only one option tonight though.
Overall this was a decent place to be spending a Thursday night, so with some beers in front of us we settled in to wait for the award winner to come from the kitchen.
From the Menu
Moo Baa by Hendo – Wagyu beef and chorizo patty, pulled lamb, hickory Smoked bbq sauce, melted jarlsberg cheese, James Squire cider braised onions, American mustard served with onion rings. $20
The beef was allegedly Wagyu and weighed in at a chunky 250g. This was accompanied by chorizo for good measure, however the character of this was very subtle indeed, and pretty much indiscernible when it was eaten with everything else.
I am not sure if this was by design, or due to the chorizo, but it was cooked to well done rather than medium. However this wasnt something to really take issue with as it was not dry in any way. There was good beef flavour, and despite its proportions was not overbearing to eat.
A pretty decent opening all round.
This is where things get really interesting, with slow cooked pulled lamb topping the patty, along with jarlsberg cheese, James Squire Cider braised onions, hickory Smoked bbq sauce, American mustard and some leaves. A bit of a mouthful to describe, especially with your salivary glands going into “drool mode”.
The lamb was to our think the star here. It was just freaking delicious, and really added a new level….for some of the time at least.
Yes, it wasn’t all roses here as my burger was half drowned in the BBQ sauce, which while tasty, in this quantity just overtook pretty much everything and thus spoiled the balance of flavours which is so important. There also wasn’t enough of the mustard there to hope to balance this, although there was a smear on the serving board so we set about adding it along the way which worked very nicely.
By about half burger, a lot of the sauce had dripped out (and perhaps I started with the saucier side, I don’t know) so the balance started to come back. And when it did, the flavour was fantastic. This isn’t for the faint hearted with a lot of meaty flavour heading your way, along with the smokey sauce, cheese and onions, making a full on burger experience.
At its best moments, you could easily see why it was a serious contender.
The roll did its best to hold up to all the sauce and juiciness from the meat, but ultimately failed to get us to the end. It was fresh and tasty, but it wasn’t a star component. And we wonder deduct anything for its failure, as it was perfectly understandable.
Onion rings are always welcome at Burger Me, and these were pretty good. Not quite at the same level as Press* and Bread and Bone (who are owned by the same people) but they were crispy and tasty all the same. They also helped to clean up the excess sauce and mustard, so they were functional too.
$20 isn’t uncommon these days, and when you see both the beef and the lamb being offered up this is more than acceptable. It was a good sized burger make no mistake, but without being over the top. The quality and thought on the design was also evident, so value gets a big tick too.
We talked at some length about where this should sit in the burger rankings. While wearing a tag of “best pub burger” can only raise expectations, it admirably rose to the challenge and at times showed why it won. The sauce was a tiny bit of a drawback, so if The Watermark are looking at this I would recommend restraint to allow it to shine consistently.
But let’s not focus on the minor down side. This was a freaking tasty burger experience and one that is highly recommended. Trying to compare this to something like the wagyu burger from Hereford is like comparing a live orchestra to a live rock band – both are loud, but one is finely crafted and builds in carefully crafted layers, while the other gives you a wall of sound to envelop your senses. Both great in their own right, but very hard to compare.
However, rank we must and on the basis it didn’t quite nail it, this can’t be the best we have had. However, it sits atop the pub burger crowd (with the Kings Hotel pork belly burger) so I guess on this basis it did meet its target.
The Hackney, last year’s winner, beckons us soon, but for now this is a new pub benchmark.
Score – 9.5