Charlie & Co. Burgers, CBD

Charlie & Co. is a burger joint that has recently opened up in the upstairs food court in the Emporium as its first Melbourne store. It's a relatively well known burger joint in Sydney that's been around for almost ten years, and I was really excited to hear that they were finally coming down to Melbourne! The burgers here were really enjoyable and I had a mostly good experience except for the service, and two of my other friends who went at different times also said the same thing.

Located in the upstairs food court, Charlie & Co. is situated near Jimmy Grants, with a large amount of seating surrounding the place. You go up to the counter to order yourself, and are given a buzzer to indicate when your order is ready. My friends and I all thought the service could've been a little better - when I went up to order, I gave the order for my burger first, but before I had the chance to also order extras, the staff serving me already told me the price of the order, and I had to then tell her I actually wanted to order something else. I had also grabbed a bottle of coke and had it on the counter, yet she didn't seem to see this either until I pointed it out. The food was ready in less than ten minutes - when your buzzer goes off, you go up to collect your order, as well as any cutlery you wish to use. However, one of my other friends had to wait at least fifteen minutes for her order, even though she ordered right after her friend did and he received his order quite quickly. She had to go up and ask - they seemed to have forgotten her order, and had to redo it. When she eventually got her order, she was given truffle fries even though she ordered the sea salt ones, and was told that they had run out of ketchup to go with it. Another experience a friend had was also of bad service - though her buzzer went off quite quickly, when she went up to the counter there was no one to give her order to her. The guy working at the register looked at my friend, and simply turned around again even though he wasn't serving anyone, so she had to ask another staff for her order. Given the three different experiences, I'd definitely say that the service has to be improved.
There's a good range of burgers to choose from, all made with 100% pure Australian wagyu beef unless otherwise stated. The extras that can be added to the burger are surprisingly cheap - all are only $1 or 2, unless you want an extra wagyu patty which is $4. There's also a good range of both cold and hot drinks to choose from, and two dessert items as well. I decided to order the Classic Charlie Burger with caramelised onions ($12.90), and my friend ordered the Double Cheese and Bacon Burger ($12.90). We ordered Charlie's sea salt fries with ketchup to share ($4.90), and also got cold drinks each ($4).

The Classic Charlie Burger consisted of a wagyu patty with sun ripened tomato, pickled gherkins, garden leaves, aioli, Charlie's signature tomato sauce with melted cheddar cheese. With this burger, you could have the option to have it with melted cheddar, blue or brie cheese, and they also allow you to alter the ingredients and take certain ones out if you don't like something in particular. I really enjoyed the burger, especially the wagyu beef patty which was really thick, but juicy and full of flavour. The extra caramelised onions I chose to have was really great, adding a slight sweetness to the burger and also maintaining some of its natural flavours. I thought it was good that they used garden leaves instead of lettuce as you'd usually expect in burgers, which was different but also went well with the tomato and cheese. The burger itself was also layered differently to usual burgers I've had - the onion and beef patty were at the top, and then the cheese, tomato and garden leaves were at the bottom. The bun itself was nice and soft, and didn't get soggy which was good. It can get a bit messy to eat, as the juices from the patty keep dripping onto the plate, but it makes for a great sauce for the fries!

The Double Cheese and Bacon burger also consisted of a wagyu beef patty, as well as smoked middle bacon, melted double cheddar cheese, pickled gherkins, Charlie's signature tomato sauce and American mustard. Overall it was an enjoyable burger, though would definitely be more suited to people who like meat. My friend thought that the cheese would be more stringy, but it was still delicious the way it was, and extremely soft. The beef patty was really generous a portion, with plenty of sauce to ensure it didn't feel too dry, and the bun was nice and soft. The bacon was slightly soft with a slight crisp to it, and even though there was no vegetables in the dish to give it that freshness and act as a refresher to balance the meat, the burger itself wasn't too heavy at all, which was surprising.

The sea salt fries were lovely and crunchy, tasting delicious by itself or with the ketchup, and wasn't too oily. They also didn't become soggy after being left for awhile, which is always a plus. The portions of both the burgers and the chips was pretty decent, leaving us feeling quite full afterwards.

Despite the sub par service, I would definitely recommend trying the Charlie & Co. burgers as the beef patty used is a real standout and overall the burgers very enjoyable. After all, it has been listed as one of the top ten new burger places to try in Melbourne by the Good Food Guide! They also have really cool menus that you can take, designed like a old school newspaper that also gives you a little bit of a background about Charlie & Co.

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