FLIPPING THE SCRIPT
In a city brimming with reimagined buns, are the burgers better in Ripponlea?
MEGAN MILLER REVIEWS MOCHA JO’S BURGER BAR
WE’VE HAD charcoal, squid-ink and Kermit-green matcha buns, skyscraper super-stacks and lobster doughnut burgers, but sometimes getting back to basics can be just as impactful.
Take Mocha Jo’s dinky new Ripponlea burger bar. A spin-off of the flagship restaurant in Glen Waverley, it’s owned by Christo Christophidis, who also happens to have Ripponlea Food & Wine across the road.
This 20-seater – with another 40 outside – is right on track – almost literally, occupying what was probably an old station-master’s office next to Ripponlea train station. Opened in June, it has been decked out diner style and while small in size, it delivers big on flavour, with simple, American-style burgers its schtick.
Go classic with The Cheeseburger, a two-hand situation with a springy milk bun loaded with crisp lettuce, good pickles, yellow American cheese, tangy house mayo and a rough-hewn patty of rich 600-day grain-fed Victorian wagyu. It’s nononsense, filling and delicious.
That dense patty gets footloose in The Kevin Bacon with maple bacon, double cheese, a gooey fried egg and crisp shreds of potato.
Also borrowing from the US, there’s The Southern hot with jalapeños and sriracha mayo, while the high-piled Southern Cali teams two juicy deepfried chicken fillets, a lick of bourbon bacon jam and a chipotle mayo that shimmies with some heat.
Vegetarian and vegan options are also doing decent business.
Most diners chase a bun with a straw-clogging thickshake (salted caramel for the win), available extra thick and with malt for proper cheekpuckering effect.
In a suburb that punches above its weight for good eating – famed Attica is a mere 200 metres away – a best-inclass burger is hard to beat.