Captain America's Hamburger Heaven may well be the sort of utopia our former prime minister was striving for through his eleven long years in government; a prime example of Australian- American relations.
Captain America's Hamburger Heaven
38 Forest Rd
This proudly Australian owned burger joint, nestled in the foothills of the Dandenongs, oozes American kitsch and souvenirs. At a closer glance, you notice that many of the hand painted slogans, puns and jokes on roof and wall are actually Australian- not to mention poorly spelled and punctuated! But in the end we're not here to play the grammar police (not this time...). Slotted into a cosy booth, Naomi, Nick, Sai, Caroline and Rami select their meals from a paper place mat menu.
It should be noted that, for some beverage-happy diners, the most exciting discovery of the night was actually drawn not from the place mat, but from a chalk board proudly proclaiming imported American soft drinks. Armed with a beloved Dr Pepper's, Caroline has never seemed so, well... manic! Other diners sipped their Cherry Cokes and lime milkshakes in a calmer fashion.
While not quite brave enough to try the Captain America's challenge (a burger with a kilo of meat and 600g of fries for the gents, 300g for the ladies; if you eat it within the record time, your meal is free), we did manage to sample a good cross section of the extensive menu, including some of the more exotic choices. Caroline's Gourmet Satay Chicken Burger boasted a delicious homemade satay sauce, with enough body to transport a traditional finger food to burger form. Pity this burger, usually dairy free, inexplicably was delivered complete with cheese and had to be sent back. Our only complaint of the night.
Nick, perhaps smarting at how few South American meals we managed to taste, feasted on the Mexicana Burger. Nestled on a bed of corn chips and guacamole (and of course the obligatory fries), this burger was enjoyed with lashings of sour cream and a just-too-sweet salsa sauce.
While he managed to polish off Caroline's burger as well, Rami started off his American meal enthusiastically (and in costume), with a Chilliburger. A sweet chilli sauce was generously heaped onto his beef burger, and also managed to coat the fries in the downpour. Yum!
But all of these burger were really small fry. Sai and Naomi both took it upon themselves to attack the larger burgers...
In her own personal challenge, Naomi was proud to finally manage to finish a Captain America's Celebrated Heavenly Burger. This is what a burger ought to be: beef, bacon, onion, pineapple, lettuce, tomato, dill pickle and the crucial ingredient- a fried egg. While she couldn't quite finish the chips, Nai did manage to admirably unhinge her jaw...
Meanwhile, Sai sunk his claws and teeth into a Wild Thing burger, a heart stopping monster consisting of double beef patties, bacon, onion, mushroom and cheese. The burger was completed with a dollop of the homemade chilli sauce, but general consensus was that the Smokey sauce (available on the smokey burger, and on the pork ribs) would have been a more fitting marriage of flavours.
The double beef burger (and the heartburn) may have slowed Sai to strolling pace, but once he'd finally mopped up the last of his meal, he and Nick were quick to devour a slice of the delicious Key Lime Pie, topped with crunchy meringue. So quick, in fact, we barely managed a photo before the plate was licked clean!
While not exactly a healthy choice for regular meals, Captain America's is great fun and great value for money. While the prices are higher than your average burger chain (most burgers range between $13 and $17.50), you certainly leave feeling much more satisfied. The cheesy humour is infectious, and the wait staff are quite attentive and work well with a large group. The menu caters to those not so burger inclined (buffalo wings or a steak, anyone?), and while certainly skewed toward the carnivore, there are vegetarian options available, as well as gluten and dairy free. We enjoyed our meal so much, we even tipped the American 10%, although that was partly so we could play Tippslotto, with the chance of winning our meals free! But when all tips are generously donated to the local CFA, it's hard to begrudge the spare change.
Overall, Rami, what did you think?
He's coming back for the Challenge next time...