Eating Out / St Kilda

Distended bellies at Barney Allen’s, St Kilda

Barney Allen’s
14 Fitzroy Street
St Kilda
Web: http://www.hueyskitchen.com.au/barney-allens/about

I grew up watching Iain ‘Hewy’ Hewitson cooking random dishes on outside stoves as part of Healthy, Wealthy and Wise. His dishes were never that healthy if I recall – I remember lashings of butter and oil making everything taste better! It had been in the back of my mind for some time that he had opened a pub in St Kilda (co-owner actually, as their website informs me) and that good burgers were to be had, so I suggested it one date night with Mr B and off to St Kilda we went.

We actually live quite near St Kilda so I don’t know why we don’t get down here more often. There are lots of places that have been languishing on my Urbanspoon wishlist for quite some time, hoping for a partner in crime. It’s very satisfying to tick one off. I guess I never knew St Kilda in its grungy heyday, I only know it as what it has become: an uneasy mix of yuppies, soup kitchens and shit-faced bogans and backpackers.

I know, I know, I’m being mean (I could rip equally into just about every suburb in Melbourne though, including those in which I have lived and currently live). Sorry. Anyway, the Barney Allen’s menu is great for St Kilda – as in, it’s not overpriced (everything is under $20), which is what I steel myself for whenever I head down thattaway. It’s funny, because I barrack for the Saints, and they constantly disappoint me but yet I continue to support them. Why, then, am I so mean about their suburb? I need to give St Kilda more of a chance!

Anyway, I’d convinced us to order the burger, so the menu choice was actually surprisingly easy, because there is only one burger on the menu: the Barney Allen Burger. We ordered one of those each, with fries, and also ordered the polenta chips, sorry, the parmesan crumbed polenta chips with sweet chilli mayo. My GOD they were good. I’d never had polenta chips before, and I went in to work the next day and related how good they were to my workmate, who nodded sagely and said, “polenta chips are the best, I always get them at City Wine Shop”. Has the whole world been in on this polenta chips thing and left me out! Unbelievable.

Polenta chips with sweet chilli mayo, Barney Allen's

I would come back and just eat a whole bowl of these. Any day.

Just in case you’re not on the polenta chip train yet, the outside was finely crumbed and fried, so you bit into the chips with a satisfying crunch, only to hit soft smooth creamy polenta on the inside. It’s like a potato chip but three thousand times better, and that’s a big call. The sweet chilli mayo was the perfect dipping partner, although I expect garlic aioli would be equally pleasing. They were extremely heavy though – there were about eight chips in the bowl (maybe less) and even eating half of the serve while sharing with Mr B, I thought, “well I’m not hungry any more”. This was a slight problem, because then the Barney Allen’s burgers came out.

Barney Allen's burger

I'd already started picking at the fries when I remembered to take this photo. Spiced tomato sauce on the side.

My photo does not do this burger justice. It was IMMENSE. It was the kind of burger that you have to dislocate your jaw to try and eat (if you’re me, Mr B was managing just fine). I panicked and just started shoving huge gobs of it into my mouth. Mr B ended up counselling me: “You’re panicking, slow down, the burger will still be there!” I was trying to outrun my own appetite, methinks. Anyway. The burger was delicious, by the way. There was a yummy beetroot relish in there AND caramelised onions AND bacon.

Mr Behemoth and I went for a romantic stroll around the beachfront and gardens of St Kilda afterwards. As he looked at me dreamily in the moonlight and said nice things, I looked at him with an equally dreamy look and said “I think I need to vomit.”

That’s what happens when you like a burger so much that you finish it, folks, no matter how much you have already eaten. Luckily Mr B somehow (?!) found that romantic as well. He’s such a catch. I didn’t vom by the way, I went home and had a nice lie-down instead – less healthy, a little less wealthy, and a lot wiser about not biting off more than I can chew.

So, readers: now I’ve hit up Golden Fields and Barney Allen’s, what are the other must-visit places for me in St Kilda?

Two Munch blog also visited Barney Allen’s and ordered exactly the same thing we did – and the girl half of the couple (Marg) struggles to finish the burger as well. (They also rave about the polenta chips). The Burger Adventure blog would definitely recommend the burger; and Barley Blog visited and ordered something other than the burger for once – the roast beef – and said would happily eat it again. Good job, Barney Allen’s!

Barney Allen's on Urbanspoon

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