There's something about mini food that's just awesome. Maybe it's because we grew up with it, eating the customary party pie and sausage roll at kids' parties. Or perhaps its simply because it gives us an excuse to eat more (like most of us need one!). Whatever the reason, there's nothing quite like a mini burger or slider to get the party started.
Dear readers, here's our guide on where to find Melbourne's best sliders and mini burgers. Nibble away!
The Prince Alfred | Richmond
The Prince Alfred has been a Richmond institution for decades with its inviting front bar and expansive beer garden. As we all know a cleansing ale is best when it's accompanying a mini burger (or three!) and The Prince Alfred certainly doesn't disappoint with its slider selection! For the bargain price of $13.50, you get three of the bite-sized beef burgers, served on a white bun and slathered with relish and mayo. Delish!
Luxembourg Bar and Bistro | St Kilda
Andrew McConnell's Golden Fields in St Kilda was perhaps best known for its New England lobster roll. The restaurant's replacement, Luxembourg Bar and Bistro, may just become famous for its soft shell crab sandwich. Encased in a soft and squishy mini brioche roll, the crab is lightly fried and subtly sweet. Tangy tartare and iceberg lettuce perfect this little morsel which champions the French-inspired bistro's 'snack' selection. Très magnifique!
Meatballs & Sons | Fitzroy
While the Meatballs & Sons menu is centred around its collection of shareable balls, we're spending our $6 on some of Melbourne's best sliders. There's pork belly with braised cabbage and maple mustard; crumbed market fish, fennel and caper salad and tartare; and roast pumpkin and lentil patty with tzatziki. While these are all tasty, the standout slider is most certainly the pulled duck with Asian slaw. Filled with shreds of sticky caramelised duck and a crunchy, creamy slaw, it's little wonder this tasty bite is considered one of the best sliders in town! Add a side of cauliflower gratin with aged cheddar or green beans with Persian feta and almonds for just $3 and you're laughing.
Mr Miyagi | Windsor
A Japanese restaurant is perhaps the last place you'd expect to find a slider on the menu but Mr Miyagi on Chapel Street is no ordinary Japanese restaurant. It's audacious, spunky and nails its cotemporary Japanese cuisine brief. Mr. M says you must order the Samuel san katsu bun. The mini pork patty is sandwiched between a soft white roll and comes with a slice of tomato, pickled radish, nashi mayonnaise and red sauce. It's moist, slightly spicy and downright tasty. No chopsticks required.
Curve Bar | Melbourne CBD
Under the iconic Arts Centre spire you'll find Curve Bar. It would be easy to pigeon hole this venue as a pre and post theatre drinks bar, but it's also a great spot for after work drinks or a night cap, given it's open until 1am from Monday to Thursday and 3am on Friday and Saturday. Curve Bar specialises in share plates including four (yes, four!) varieties of mini burger. There's Wagyu beef with gruyere, dill pickles and dijonnaise; spicy pulled pork with shaved cabbage, coriander and sour cream; braised lamb with smoky eggplant, feta and mint; and roasted pumpkin cheese fritter with caramelised onion. These little babies are some of the best sliders, if not the best burgers, in Melbourne. Deeelicious!
MoVida Aqui | Melbourne CBD
Frank Camorra's MoVida revolutionised tapas in Melbourne when it opened its doors in 2003 and has continued to with the opening of its many sister venues over the years. The third instalment was MoVida Aqui in 2007, which is the largest of the clan in Melbourne and the only venue with outdoor seating. MoVida Aqui is also home to the bocadillo de calamares, or calamari sandwich, which combines succulent pieces of fried calamari with basque guindilla, a type of chilli pepper. The finished product is daubed with mayonnaise and simply sensational.
Pho & Co | Melbourne CBD
Vietnamese cafes and restaurants are springing up all over town and one of the more sophisticated of the bunch is Pho & Co, located at 122 Russell Street. While the menu mainly comprises of the classics with modern makeovers – think tuna and wasabi rice paper rolls and eye fillet pho – a couple of non-traditional dishes also make the cut. Case in point: the pork belly and soft shell crab sliders. Cooked for 48 hours, the pork belly edition rests on a mini white bun and is coated with a spiced caramel sauce, while the soft shell crab is partnered with cos lettuce and a little squirt of mayo. On our search for the best sliders in Melbourne, we just couldn't go past these bad boys.
Albert Park Hotel | Albert Park
Established in 1883, the Melbourne Pub Group's Albert Park Hotel just gets better with age. Group Executive Chef, Stephen Burke, has created the ultimate gastropub menu designed around Melbourne's distinctive seasons. The menu boasts one of Melbourne's best sliders. Befitting of the sleek venue, the 'Reuben Slider' is very on-trend, combining corned beef with mustard and cabbage slaw. This tasty mini burger is best paired with a signature APH cocktail.
Like your burgers regular-sized? Get your chops around our list of Melbourne's best burgers.
Main image credit: What Katie Ate