Burgers have to be a pleasure in the way of simplicity. There's something about a food you can hold in your hands and effortlessly get six layers of flavour in your mouth in one bite. But there's been far too much written about the beauty of the burger, so I'm just going to say it: the haloumi and mushroom burger at Rathdowne Village's Local Burger Co. will change your life. Or, at least it will change the way you feel about burgers that come sans meat.
Offering the best of both vego worlds — haloumi and mushroom, usually exclusive entities — together in one bun, this burger not only features a slab of haloumi, but a few slow roasted mushies, a few bonus slices of eggplant and some lettuce and relish. It's pretty much impossible to eat with your hands, but you'll find a way to make it work. A step up from Thousand Pound Bend's saganaki burger, which can leave you thirsty for a whole weekend, the haloumi here is thick, juicy and bang on. As far as meatfree burgers go, this one's the choice of carnivores and vegos alike.
The Local Burger Co. serves more than one burger though, and the rest are pretty much on par. The pulled pork with green apple and cabbage slaw is messy and totally worth it; by contrast, the old school cheeseburger is nostalgic and simple to scoff. Things are always changing though, with rotating specials added to the butcher paper menu each couple of weeks — last month the tofu Thai and the teriyaki beef Japan burger graced the plates of diners, only to be quickly devoured. All burgers range from $9-15, and their gluten free buns are some of the best around.
You can top off your burger consumption with all the usual suspects. Don't even question adding fries and a salted caramel milkshake, but you can switch it up with coleslaw or potato salad if you're so inclined. The shopfront, on the corner of Rathdowne and Curtain Streets, is big enough for a comfortable eat-in experience and outdoor benches and the park across the road make for perfect burger eating spots.
The Local Burger Co. has a simple offering done right that, since opening last September, has become a favourite for Carlton North locals to head to for lunch and dinner any day of the week. The secret doesn't seem to be out just yet, but this is one burger joint that you'll want to visit again and again.