Battle of the Burgers: Part 3 - Soda Rock Diner

‘Battle of the Burgers’ is a five-part blog review which takes me on a cholesterol-fueled journey in search of the biggest, baddest and juiciest burgers in Melbourne. 

The series will be posted according to ranking starting from #5. Now I understand that there are plenty of burger joints in Melbourne but I simply do not have the time or the resources to cover each and every one of them. I  honestly would have loved to do at least a Top 10 list but hey, there’s an idea I can revisit again in the future.

As a disclaimer please note that the rankings are based on MY personal criteria and preference. I encourage you to try out these places before making any comparisons. And of course suggestions on other burger joints will be much appreciated.

#3 Soda Rock Diner

257 Toorak Road

South Yarra, Victoria 3141

(03) 9827 3500

Ah American diners, the birthplace of hamburger and fries, milkshake and apple pie. What better place to search for the best burgers in Melbourne than the capital of fast food? Or rather something close to it.

Soda Rock Diner is the kinda place that your parents would go to on a typical Friday night out. Here you are transported to time when your greasy meals didn’t come with a heart attack warning, neon lights weren’t considered tacky and dancing to Elvis and Chubby Checkers was the epitome of coolness. Throw in some picnic tablecloths and a line of Chevys parked outside and you’ve got one helluva blast-to-the-past experience. 

And yes, those coin-operated jukeboxes do work!

Going through their menu I reached a moment when I regretted that I was here for a review. Since I was comparing burgers I had to get the ones that were closes to a traditional hamburger. I’m a very flaky eater, I love variety and unusual, quirky concoctions. Why have a plain old burger with the lot when you could have it with chili con carne or a hotdog, or a hotdog with chili con carne? 

But despite temptation’s calling I stuck to my mission and got myself a Hubcap burger, their signature burger with the lot. I even got a chocolate milkshake to console myself.

Hubcap burger with cheese and chips. Vegie burger, tater totts and milkshake in the background.

My burgers took awhile to get to me considering how quiet that afternoon was. It’s probably a stall tactic the establishment uses so that you have enough time to gulp down the mother of a milkshake they serve. See that stainless steel cup in the picture? It holds the rest of the shake that couldn’t fit into your glass. Basically you get double serves of your drink!

The actual burger itself was as fun to eat as it was to read their menus. It was presented neatly wrapped in a pocket, because seasoned burger eaters know very well the hazards a runaway pickle can pose to a nice frock. It also helped keep all the ingredients intact, ensuring that every bite is a nice balance mixture of meat, veges and sauces (I’m one of those weirdos who needs every major food group in every bite at all times).

Soda Rock’s website claims to have the best burgers in Melbourne. Having tried my fair share of grilled dead meat I can attest that it is one of the best, but still not the best in town. Their milkshakes however are legendary! Like someone took the best ice-cream in town and blended the shit out of it. Seriously, try it!

The final word:

Is it worth the hype?

Yes. Even if you’re not into the retro theme and 50’s music it’s still a fun place to eat out. Emphasis on fun! The menu offers a lot of things you don’t usually get in Australian diners and the waiters look cute with their bowties (I hear they dance too!). Think of it as a more laid back, less obnoxiously priced TGIF.

Is it worth the price?

Yes. A typical burger or sandwich starts at about a $9 range and you pile on the extras if you like. Combo deals make sure you get that bang for every buck you pay.

Will I come back again?

Yes. Hotdogs, pancakes, chilli toppings, and fish burgers (a rarity to find these days), are just a few things on my wishlist at the moment. Plus the atmosphere just makes it a perfect night out with some friends where you can be loud and carefree without the wait staff glaring at you.

Soda Rock Diner on Urbanspoon

Other reviews in the Battle of the Burgers series:

#1 Andrew’s Hamburger

#2 Huxtaburger

#4 Embassy Taxi Cafe

#5 Beatbox Kitchen