One of the places that has long been on my list of places to go and try is Bens Burgers. There were two reasons why it has taken so long for me to go, one was the reviews on the long wait for food, which meant that as a risk adverse person, I wouldn't want to go during my lunch hour, for fear of not being able to get back in time, and secondly my burger connoisseur had skipped country for a short while. Once he returned and asked to go to dinner, I immediately suggested Ben's Burgers (Chur Burger is next).
Ben's Burger is situated in Winn Lane. I thought it was quite an obscure sounding place, and expected to get lost going there, but it was right next to Warner Street and Ann Street, making it far more easily located than expected.
Winn Lane is a short little alley which branches off Winn Street. It is quite trendy and reminiscent of Melbourne. There is even a tiny little boutique book store at the end of it, which was quite beautiful.
There isnt much of a sign at Ben's Burgers, the only thing you can really look for is the blue burger on the white brick wall.
Half of the seats are indoors, and half are outdoors. We opted for indoor seating (of course), but they had no air conditioning. Only fans, which was sufficient for a summer evening, but I could see that this could be an issue in the summer lunch hour.
As mentioned by numerous other bloggers and reviewers, the menu is very simple, with only three burgers available, and a no alteration policy which has upset quite a few people. On this point, I too would rather my burger to be served without pickles, but since so many people tried without success, I didnt think it would be worth trying and failing.
Decor is pretty simple, with the blue and white theme running through the interior.
We got a number and picked a table. I note the ketchup, mustard and Tabasco sauce on the table. General fare for an American Burger joint.
Being an avid Peanuts fan, it immediately caught my attention that the walls were adorned with my favourite comic. This is definitely a plus.
After a short wait (because there was almost no other patrons at the time), our burgers arrived. All three of us had ordered the BB Classic. We tossed up the BB Special, but decided we didnt feel like spicy burgers. I also got a side serve of chilli cheese fries.
Without a doubt, the burgers are definitely aesthetically pleasing. It had a nice round shape, the patty was just the right size for the bun, and the salads didnt poke out everywhere.
The bun itself wasn't the brioche bun that we had all grown to adore, however, it was soft. I bit into the bun, and the first thing I noticed was the very ample serving of ketchup and mustard, which dripped everywhere. The Burger Connoisseur really liked the sauces, and said that it was impressive that they had used ketchup rather than tomato sauce (apparently ketchup has a thicker consistency). Personally, I found the patty to be alright (because I eat my beef rare), but my companions did not really like the beef as red as it was (please refer to photo on left). The lettuce and tomato were fresh, but I found that the whole taste of the burger was overpowered by the strong taste of the pickles, ketchup and mustard.
I've read a couple of reviewers comments saying that it tasted quite a bit like a Mcdonalds cheeseburger, and was quite interested in how a specialised burger joint could do this. After trying it out, I do tend to agree to those reviews. Despite the burger having tomato and lettuce (whilst the McDonalds cheeseburger doesnt), the flavour was completely dominated by tomato sauce, pickles and ketcup, which happen to also dominate the taste in a cheeseburger, I also think they probably use the same cheese too. The bun is puffier, and the patty was larger, but the flavours are almost identical. So it was more or less like a supersized cheeseburger, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as I do enjoy Mcdonalds on occasion.
The highlight of the meal for me was the chilli cheese fries (which I do believe should be called 'chips', they were no where near thin enough to be called 'fries'). There was two types of cheese grated on top and nicely seasoned ground beef. The chips were freshly fried, and super crispy on the outside, but fluffy on the inside. Although it was tasty, I found the portion to be quite small for the price of $7.
I enjoyed going to Ben's Burgers, as it had satisfied a long term curiosity I had. The food was definitely above average, but with the rise of American dining culture in Brisbane, I really do think you need to be more than above average to stand out and keep customers, it would really be worth reconsidering the no alterations policy as it had put off so many patrons. In conclusion, I still think that nothing beats the burgers at Miel Container.
Price Range: $11 - $20 per person
Environment: 7.5/10 (extra 2 points for the Peanuts framed comics)