Tuckshop Take Away, Caulfield North

Tuckshop Take Away is a small burger joint in Caulfield North, on the corner of Hawthorn Road and Glen Eira Road, specialising in burgers and chips. I decided to visit this place after hearing about it from a couple of friends, and seeing it on the list of Top Ten Burger Places in Melbourne by the Herald Sun. Tuckshop Take Away is easily accessible by tram 64 towards East Brighton - there's a tram stop right outside the burger joint, and there's also several side streets nearby for parking as well. I really enjoyed this burger experience, and can definitely see why it has been named as one of the best burger places in Melbourne.

The burger joint itself is quite small; there's only about thirteen seats at most, and most people do get their orders take away. We went at 11am on a Saturday when it opened, and were lucky enough to grab seats at the communal table. Although the place isn't very big, it's quite an open space setting with old school decorations, consistent with the name as a Tuckshop. There are clocks on the walls similar to what we used to have at school, a set of small lockers with decorations in them, and a sign at the back leading to the 'Principal's Office'. Even the cups for the water have coloured pencils as the pattern - this is self serve from a tap to one side of the burger joint, near where the magazines are placed. There's also really cool graffiti style art on one of the walls outside the burger joint, which is very bright and eye catching, and a hopscotch drawn in chalk just outside the entrance.

Tuckshop Take Away serves predominantly burgers and chips, but also has a selection of jaffles (toasted sandwiches), milkshakes, sodas and desserts. Granted, there's only the Minor Burger and a Vegetarian Burger to choose from (plus extras of your choice if you wish), but having just one type of burger on the menu shows that it is a good enough dish that it's what you would get, were you to visit this place. Everything at Tuckshop Take Away is made in house; they don't use any outside products except for the burger buns - even the sodas are all non branded and made on the spot when you make your order. We decided to get the School Meal set ($19), as this is what Tuckshop Take Away is most well known for. In this meal set, you get a Minor Burger, cuts (chips), a soda of your choice and a tart. You also have the option to change the soda to a milkshake of your choice, for an extra $2.50. The two tarts to choose from when we went were the Jaffas Tart and the Toffee Apple Tart, and the drinks we ordered were the raspberry and lemonade sodas, as well as the salted caramel milkshake. What's special about the meal set is that it comes on a tray with all the different elements, though the soda glasses didn't balance quite well on it.

The Minor Burger consists of an 100% beef patty with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, American cheese and tuckshop sauce. We all really enjoyed the burger as all the elements went together really well, and even with just the simple and typical burger ingredients, it managed to impress us - my friend even thought it was the best burger that she'd ever had. The milk brioche bun was extremely soft with different types of seeds on top, the patty was juicy and tender and like it was stated on the menu, still slightly pink in the middle. The in house tuckshop sauce, made up of a combination of tomato sauce, mustard and mayo, went really well with the burger and had great flavours. It was quite messy to eat though because it dripped everywhere, but it made for a great dipping sauce for the chips - you were actually given a little tub of it to go with your chips anyway. The lettuce and tomato balanced the heavier flavours of the burger and gave it extra crunch, and the American cheese fully melted into the beef patty, giving it a lovely flavour. The different elements of the burger were in good proportion so that only slight bits of lettuce and sauce fell, and I noticed that the bun itself was a bit bigger than the rest of the ingredients, so that there was room for the patty to 'move' when you bit into it.

The chips, or 'cuts' as they are known at Tuckshop Take Away, are hand cut chips that have been triple cooked. They were nicely seasoned and went well with both the tuckshop sauce or the homemade tomato sauce, though my personal preference was with the tuckshop sauce. The homemade tomato sauce was also quite nice, with a strong tomato flavour that was slightly zingy. The chips themselves weren't extremely crunchy or anything, but had a nice texture and went really well with the burger. Like the chips, the sodas went really well with the dish, especially to balance out the heavier flavours of the burger and chips, to refresh your palette. My lemonade soda had a good lemon flavour but wasn't too sour or sweet. The salted caramel milkshake also helped to balance the savoury flavours in its own way, though by itself it was quite a sweet drink.

The small tarts for dessert were a good way to finish up the meal, with strong flavours and a light base. The toffee apple tart was quite sweet however, but didn't have much toffee flavour. Despite the sweetness though, you could still taste the apple flavours in between, which was good, though I had to wash it down with my soda as the sweetness was so overpowering. The Jaffas tart felt exactly as if you were eating a Jaffas, with a great orange flavour and gooey chocolate filling, and of course an actual Jaffas on top. With both tarts however, the base was quite crumbly and broke apart very easily, making it a bit messy to eat.

I would definitely recommend coming to Tuckshop Take Away to try the burger, in particular the School Meal set that we ordered. Service is quite fast, with our food coming within fifteen minutes. The staff were friendly and asked how our food was, and quickly came to take our plates away when it looked like we were done. I will be visiting this place again sometime soon, perhaps to try the jaffles or just to have the burger again.

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