Three cheerleaders on one side, three gridiron players on the other, a red carpet in the middle; all shouting to the world that shit is going to get tacky, and it’s going to do it fast.
Brooklyn Depot is some sort of burger franchise from Brisbane. They are opening up in Melbourne on Lonsdale St. They have menu items like Funky Egg Salad and Fuggedaboutit (more on that later), and cocktails such as Honkey, Yo Mama and the awfully named – this is either rapey or violent but either way I don’t want it – Porn Star Punch.
We were greeted with a cocktail called the Big Poppa (note to Melbourne restaurants, there is more rap music than Biggie, Jay or Kanye), so-called because it has poprocks around the rim.
Given poprocks are kind of heavy, they just kind of clumped and fell off like poorly fried chicken batter. Some even got stuck in my beard.
The drink itself had apple vodka, apple liqueur, watermelon liqueur, apple juice, lime juice, sugar syrup and the aforementioned popping candy. It was so sweet it coated my teeth in sugar. I tried another cocktail later on. I think it was the Harlem Shake (remember the harlem shake? Well it’s back, in cocktail form!) and it had some sort of hardened fairy floss on a stick on top. At first I honestly thought someone had wadded up some gum as a garnish. I think it also had Midori (remember Midori…). Spoiler alert: It was so sweet it coated my teeth in sugar.
I retreated to a beer. Their house lager was fine. The Sam Adams tasted like a 12 month old or poorly stored keg. One glass had a chip in the rim. When I went to point that to the barman I knocked my beer all over the bar. He was very nice about it. In fact, all the staff were nice, if a little headless, through no fault of their own.
House music was played by a DJ who was pretty tight. There were balloons. We couldn’t decide if the decor was “Tourist bar in Times Square”, or “It’s like TGIFridays but we hope it’s cooler”. Spoiler alert: It isn’t.
Old American commercials and female pop-singer bloopers both inexplicably played on a screen above the bar. As the commercials played, and the lights were dimmed, there was a real Demolition Man vibe. I don’t think that was the intent, but Melbourne restaurateurs, maybe get on that idea.
Tragedy spilled to the food. The mini burgers came out and the sauces were so sweet any nuance or fun was lost. The cheese and gravy fries featured a gelatinous glob of packet gravy on top. It was heartbreaking and weirdly kind of good but I never want to think about it again. The cheese was some sort of sauce, or maybe the wan flakes on top were the cheese and the sauce was mustard… I don’t know it’s not important.
We had a Coney Island “Dawg” (on the menu they are called Hot ‘Dawgs’, because that’s how you say Dog if you are from New York probably). A cocktail sausage with some of that cheese sauce and some mince in something sweet. Give me a dozen beers, a backyard party and a big joint and I would make love to a plate of these all night long. Under any other circumstances I’d be as disgusted as you were reading that last sentence.
The cheerleaders skulked about, half heartedly waving their pom poms. Maybe because the players left without them? You left your dates behind guys!
Some chicken tenders came out. Lovingly bathed in oil and tender in name only. More like Chicken Chewies! Haha, that would be a clever name for them. Honestly though, they were chewy as fuck.
While all of this was happening, I could see syringe spiked burgers around the room. None had come our way and I was worried I wouldn’t get my heroin-inspired burger before we left or became too drunk to care. Fortunately it came. It was the Fuggedaboutit! With a hot sauce filled syringe just waiting to be disgustingly plunged into the burger.
And because food trends from four years ago, reminiscent of discarded needles in an alleyway, is a perfect way to cap off a night, plunge we did. And honestly, it was pretty good. The patty was cooked nicely and the sauce was suitably hot.
Mac and Cheese balls came out after that. Hilariously they are called Maclovin Balls. I’m assuming they are named after the character in that movie that was filmed in California? Commitment to a theme in this place is shaky at best. I didn’t have any because I was concentrating on getting drunk for free in the unashamed manner that only a freelance writer can. My girlfriend took a bite, looked disgusted and said “why is everything so oily”. I’m going to take a wild guess and assume they were pretty terrible. I cannot be sure though.
Oh there was also ‘Pimped’ Chicken Wings on the menu. The quotation marks, I think, are there to show you the chickens were in fact, prostituted out by a sleazy and potentially violent person. I don’t think we got any of those, but there were some tenders that came with a bone in them. It is possible they were the prostituted chickens but who even knows at this point.
Anyway, I got a glass of merlot at the end and it wasn’t too bad. Merlot was the only red on offer which is honestly the most ridiculous wine choice for a burger launch night.
I peed on exit and the mens and ladies were signposted by giant paintings of Jay and Beyonce. There was a guy in the entrance to the loos taking a photo of his brownie. Not a euphemism but pretty much sums up the night.
Find Luke from AleOfATime at http://aleofatime.com where he spouts his knowledge as the guru of Australian (but mostly Victorian) craft beer. I have learnt everything I know from listening to his podcast – which you need to iTunes right now. Also Twitter and Facebook.