Hotel Tivoli

The funny thing about patterns is that they – by definition – keep happening. In terms of the burgers that we are sampling, I see a common thread appearing and, well, you will just have to read on to see what I am on about.

The Venue
Hotel Tivoli is situated a fair distance down the eastern end of Pirie Street, somewhat tucked away from the hub of most similar venues in the area. Upon perusing their website, it seems that the Tivoli “has been a central meeting place for the last 155 years catering to all trends and fashions as time has passed”. I wont comment further on that at this time, but post renovations in 2008, it has been transformed into a truly stunning venue. The front bar is clean and classy without being at all stuffy, and upon walking into the dining area out the back, “Wow” really was the first word that I uttered. A vast, open space is out the back and with it’s huge vaulted ceiling and ‘mood’ lighting, it really does have quite the special ambiance.

Pre-orders had been made, beer purchased, so I sat and awaited the arrival of my burger….

The Burger

The meat of the burger was somewhat disappointing. While it looked ok to casual observation, upon closer inspection it was clear that there was far too much ‘fill’ in it and that the beef seemed to have been extremely finely ground, so the whole thing looked really compacted in. The flavour was not terrible but it wasn’t doing itself any favours by being far too reliant on herbs, spices and the like.

But this was far from the biggest issue going on.

Fillings and Sauce
Lets just cut to the chase. I am not sure who’s idea it was to put both English mustard – yep, hot English mustard – AND a spicy bbq style chutney on there but seriously whoever it is needs to have a good hard look at themselves. I love spice in my food as I have said before, but this was bordering on the ridiculous.

To clarify this statement, I am not saying it was too hot or spicy. Not at all. However when you have 2 lots of grilled bacon, cheese, lettice, tomato and caramelised onion on a burger – as well as the pattie – and after 2 bites you cant taste anything but the combination of sauces – something has gone horribly awry. Yes, they add flavour, but not in quite the way you would want.

To put it another way – if I am trying to open a bottle of wine – I will generally speaking look to either simply unscrew the cap or reach for a corkscrew. I could as an alternative simply throw it at the nearest solid brick wall – it would certainly get the bottle open but it does somewhat spoil the enjoyment of it’s contents.

Glossy, lightly seeded and soft, it was initially looking quite promising however very early on in the piece it started to fall apart and by the end it was basically non-existent in any discernable form. Some points for trying I guess, and it tasted fine and wasn’t too obtrusive, but just sadly lacking in constitution.

A meagre quantity of chips were on the plate and nothing else. They were ok – chips really – but nothing to write home about.

The size of the burger was fine, the chips were a little stingy and the $18 price tag lands it somewhat at the upper end of the price spectrum, and without the quality or flavour to make up the difference.

I think you can tell by now that this wasn’t one that I am going to particularly recommend. To be honest it seems to have been poorly thought out from start to finish. The sauces just mugged everything else that was there, the bun fell apart, the pattie was seemingly poorly seasoned and constructed (but a little hard to tell due to the mugging) and the side of chips was average at best.

To get back to my intro – the pattern that seems to be emerging is that too many of the pubs around seem to be falling for the ‘more is more’ trap. More flavour and more fillings and more different sauces = a better burger. However this isn’t the case – a good burger is like a good pizza – use a scant few really good ingredients that go together and I will taste all the better for it.

I would say definitely get down to the Tivoli though – grab a drink in the bar then swing into the dining room for a bite to eat. Just get something other than the burger and you will likely enjoy things much more. It wasn’t inedible, but there are far too many better options around.

Score – 5.8

Hotel Tivoli on Urbanspoon


  1. It certainly did look absolutely like a winner though. Proof again, that looks are deceiving.

  2. greg@urbanspoon

    Thanks! I just approved your blog claim. Now your Urbanspoon profile picture is displayed on your blog page. You can upload a blog-specific photo if you prefer, and can change a few other blog settings there. Also, if you vote for a restaurant that you’ve reviewed on your blog, we now show your vote next to your post everywhere on our site.


  3. I’ve seen progression in every post. Your newer posts are simply wonderful compared to your posts in the past. Keep up the good work.

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