Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Cuba St Bistro, Horopito & Lamb - 3/10, Burger Wellington 2012

Minted premium lamb patty with a horopito leaf and caramelised onion relish, brie, lettuce, tomato and lemon mayo with hand-cut fries - $18

Rushed presentation.  Initial disappointment...
The Horopito & Lamb burger from Cuba St Bistro was an absolutely disappointing way to end the Burger Challenge.  This was the worst burger of the lot.  Although the worst thing was, we weren't even meant to go there.  Oh well, its fate.  We won yesterday with Charlie Bill, and this time, we lost.

But I still have to apportion blame.  You could argue that between the four of us one would have taken the initiative and booked a table at Pravda (which is where we were supposed to be for "the Ultimate Truth" burger).  You could also argue that, with four of us, one could safely assume that someone else had booked.  In any case, nobody booked and Pravda was booked out.  No amount of begging could get us booked in.


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Charlie Bill, Miss Piggy marries a Prawn Star - 9/10, Burger Wellington 2012

Pork and prawn patty with Harrington’s porchetta and apple relish on a Brezelmania chilli corn bun with roasted gourmet potatoes - $22
It just looked tasty.  Blow this picture up to full size and salivate!!

As luck would have it we lucked onto Charlie Bill today.  Weren't meant to be going there at all.  Lucky.  

We were supposed to be somewhere else but got a tip-off the day before that where we were going wasn't all that good.  On asking where we should go we were told that Charlie Bill was getting pretty good reviews.  

A quick discussion with the team and it was agreed that Charlie Bill was where we were going.  A phone call to reserve and we were locked and loaded.

Now the reason Charlie Bill wasn't on our list was the fact it was a pork and prawn burger.  Being a classic burger afficianado  I had targeted establishments serving beef.  And to be honest, I wasn't overly excited leading up to the visit.  Boy did I get it wrong!!

El Matador, The Munchener - 6/10, Burger Wellington 2012

Parrilla-grilled Wairarapa beef patty with Kapiti aged cheddar, salad, housemade tomato relish and mustard, on an Arobake bun - $9.90

A good looking and unassuming burger
El Matador is a Buenos Aires style eatery - or so it says on their website.  I wouldn't know what a Buenos Aires style eatery was.  Unless I was in Buenos Aires.  And then if I walked into an eatery it would most likely be a Buenos Aires style one.

Walking into El Matador, you definitely knew you were not walking into a Kiwi cafe.  You were greeted by smoke (guessing from the BBQ).  And there was an entire butterflied lamb carcass hanging by the grill.  I have no idea what it was doing there.  Or what its function was.  I wonder if you could like point at a part of it, i.e. the rump and say "I'll have that portion please.  Medium rare if you don't mind".  However, it remained untouched throughout our visit so its purpose is still unknown.

Monday, 20 August 2012

The General Practitioner, The Great Philadelphian Cheeseburger - 6.5/10, Burger Wellington 2012

PrimeStar Wairarapa beef and pork patty with Parkvale field mushrooms, bacon, onion and a secret cheese sauce made with Kapiti Pamaro New Zealand parmesan in a Pandoro Bakery bun, with straight-cut chips - $22

The secret cheese sauce wasn't hiding and was slathered on pretty thick!!
Brad was back and raring to go after missing out last Friday's lunch at Trade Kitchen.  Joining us this week at the General Practitioner was Regan H, otherwise known as Hoppy.  Being his first burger challenge, he was really quite excited.  He turned up late!

And we were all quite excited by the Philadelphian, which from its blurb sounded absolutely delish.  I had tried their offering last year, where they raised the bar by adding pate.  This time round it was a beef and pork pattie and a secret cheese sauce.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Gusto, Krop Surtic - 7/10, Burger Wellington 2012

Harrington's eco pork shoulder with Kingsmeade Opaki manchego cheese, Rutherford & Meyer quince and celeriac remoulade on a Bordeaux Bakery bun, with gaufrette chippies - $25

We were quite excited about visiting Gusto for a burger, particularly as it was based in Petone, in the good old Hutt Valley.  Nothing like supporting the home team - and all three of us lived in the Hutt (some longer than others).

Another reason for excitement was that Gusto was a burger finalist in 2011, with a superb morrocan lamb number that my better half claimed was the best burger she had ever tasted!!

So Gav, Tony and I turned up with some pretty high expectations (Tony and Gav seeking something special after Trade Kitchen on Friday, and me as I knew what these guys were capable of!!).

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Trade Kitchen, Tradesmans Burger - 6/10, Burger Wellington 2012

Pure Wairarapa beef with Ōtaki beetroot relish and Kapiti blue cheese in a housemade bun - $20.

When asked what the worst thing about the burger was he replied "the blue cheese".
When pressed about the best thing about the Tradesman burger he replied "there wasn't too much blue cheese on it".

I'm not sure whether a tradesman would have been satisfied by the size of the burger?
Now blue cheese is one of those dividing flavours on a burger.  You either love it or you hate it.  Personally I could thing of many better cheeses to add to my burger ahead of a stinky blue.  But then it is what it is.  Blue cheese does go nicely with caramelised onion and, perhaps, with beetroot relish.

To be fair we knew there would be blue cheese on this burger.  And we have not let it affect our review...Tony liked the blue cheese!!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Atlanta, Beehive Burger - 5.5/10, Burger Wellington 2012

Island Bay Butchery corn-fed chicken thigh with streaky bacon, cos lettuce, caesar dressing, Kapiti Pamaro parmesan, free range fried egg and (optional) white anchovies on an Arobake ciabatta bun, with handcut potato chips - $20

Would you like four fries with that?

Here is another review from Fiona and her girlfriends.  By the sounds of it, it wasn't the greatest burger ever.  In fact, I probably would have scored it lower...J

I had a girl’s lunch scheduled and needed a burger location close to work, this meant Atlanta was next on my list.  My friends Jo and Loren were happy to go along with this after I sent through the link with the burger details.  Lots of positive comments and anticipation that’s for sure.  Unfortunately Atlanta didn’t live up to this anticipation. 

Upon arrival the service was good, as always, and we were quickly seated and our orders taken.  However, it took 35 minutes for our burgers to arrive during which time Jo had told us all there was to know about her new house and Loren was about to start chewing her handbag!

Cafe Polo, Polly's Gone Burger, 8/10 - Burger Wellington 2012

Freshly ground Wairarapa beef patty with PrimeStar beef bacon, caramelised onion, Polo BBQ sauce, housemade pickles and Kingsmeade Wairarapa Jack cheese on a toasted bun, with handcut truffle fries - $21.50.
I am burger.  Eat me now!!

After striking out in the first review, I have encountered my second home-run in succession. 

I sort of already knew that Cafe Polo was going to deliver a great burger.  They won last year's competition with a vegetarian offering.  This year they were going full on burger - beef, more beef, onion, pickles, cheese.  How could it not be good!!

An awesome support crew on this mission.   Anna, Sarah and Kelly - all extremely knowledgable when it comes to food.  Most with experience in eating and rating burgers.  

The table was booked and the burgers were ordered before we had even sat down.  The only option for me was burger, but I was a bit surprised the others all went burger too, considering the enticing dine lunch special that was on offer.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Boulcott Street Bistro, The T-Rex - 8.5/10 (Burger Wellington 2012)

Preston’s Hereford BBQ short rib and ground chuck patty with horseradish celery salad and beetroot relish, with handcut fries - $29
A real burger is served on bone!!

Bravo!!  Take your hat off Boulcott Street Bistro!

Finally, a burger that comes close to our vision of what a GREAT burger should look, feel, and taste like.  

And well done Wellington on a Plate, for providing a medium that allowed us to partake of The T-Rex!!

Brad acknowledged that this was probably the best burger he has had in New Zealand (apparently Bite Me in Sydney had something better - but they no longer exist?).

Best thing about the burger?  The pattie - a standout!!

Worst thing about the burger? Interestingly while the presentation was amazing the bone was not the most effective dish.  While they did supply a plate on the side, I somehow managed to spill beetroot relish onto their nice white starched table cloth.  Luckily I had just put the starched white napkin on my lap, because that wore it as well.  Hey!  We needed something to criticize and it was pretty hard to fault the actual burger.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Arthurs, Just a burger - 7/10, Burger Wellington 2012

a very homely looking burger!!
Arthurs 'Just a burger' burger.  Beef patty with Harrington’s bacon, Wairarapa Jack cheese, winter coleslaw, Arthur’s mayonnaise and Ōtaki tamarillo chutney on a homemade burger bun, with crispy fried potatoes - $19

With over 60 burgers to review, you didn't expect me to do them all myself...

Thankfully, Fiona has stepped up to the plate as well and will be doing a few reviews as well.  Although after reading the review I would be quite keen to give this one a go anyway!!

The brown crockery plates were stolen from Phil's Nana's house
A rainy Sunday afternoon in Wellington is best spent in a café.  Arthur’s, at the top end of Cuba Street, is a good spot for this – not just from the point of view of the food but because of the quirky, entertaining décor and the good service.  For these reasons, Phil and I opted to begin Burger Wellington here.

Arriving on brown crockery plates that looked like they were from Phil’s Nana’s house, our burgers were of a good size and the crispy fried potatoes were of a good portion.  As a first impression we were not disappointed by the presentation or the size of our $19 meal.

We expected a beef patty with bacon, cheese, winter coleslaw, mayonnaise and tamarillo chutney, and that was all included.  We also got tomato and lettuce to keep the winter coleslaw in check.

The cheese was thickly sliced and worked well with the bacon and beef patty.  The beef patty was thick, and had a good combination of herbs and onion.

The winter coleslaw was tasty, particularly with the mayonnaise and tamarillo chutney.  Our only question about the meal relates to “on a homemade burger bun”.  As the photos show, those sesame seed buns don’t look like they were made on site.

It is going to be messy to eat...
Phil loved the crispy fried potatoes – they were well cooked and seasoned and were a good compliment to the burger.  If he could repeat those chips at home he would never eat fish and chips again!

The only downfall of this burger was trying to eat it.  Once the burger was cut in half it was messy to eat, with sauce and filling spilling out.  However, the crispy fried potatoes were on hand to mop up any spillage, so not a complete disaster.

The burger got a 6, but with the crispy fried potatoes and the size and price of the meal, we gave it an overall rating of 7.
Arthur’s was good place start to Burger Wellington, and I look forward to my ‘working girls’ lunch’ at Atlanta and their Beehive Burger.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Arizona, Surf & Turf – 3.5/10, Burger Wellington 2012

The best thing about the burger was the presentation!!

It’s always hard being first up in a burger competition, particularly when Brad and I had been anticipating Burger Wellington for such a long time.  So you have to sort of feel sorry for Arizona … but only sort of.

 To be fair, we did slightly misread the entry and so were surprised when the burger actually wasn’t a burger but steak in a bun!!  When I got back to the office I checked out their entry and yes, it was clearly listed as “Wairarapa beef steak with cos salad, a parmesan and garlic dressing and tempura prawn”.  So we are not really sure why Arizona was on our list, but it probably had to do with their memorable entry in 2011, where I scored it an 8.5/10.  But anyway here is our review.

Burger Wellington Starts Today!!

And i can't wait.  An event within Wellington on A Plate, Burger Wellington is now in its third year, and sees over 60 restaurants competing to serve the best burger in Wellington.  Try a burger.  Text in your rating out of 10.  The top five restaurants are then involved in a cook-off, with four informed burger aficionados rating the burgers and selecting a grand champion.

I just happened to luck out last year and be one of the four judges, and am still hoping like crazy that I am one again this year.  To hedge my bets I have seven burgers lined up already and am hoping to hit some more.

Chef David Thrulow with Café Polo's The Polly Burger
 - Winner of Burger Welllington 2011
BTW, the winner last year was Cafe Polo, with the Polly burger, which was vegetarian!!!  Don't let this happen again people - so make sure you get out there and try the burgers and vote!

Burger Wellington starts today and runs through to the 24th August.  Jeremy Taylor "the Omnivore" will be taking on the challenge of a burger a day in his blog.

BERL is the sponsor of the event. If you are thinking "what is the link between an economic consultancy and Burger Wellington?" the answer is  "Me".

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Empire, Petone - Beef Burger - 7.5/10

The Empire is a gastro pub in Petone.  It serves some awesome food, with an English slant.  
This is a burger that I tried quite a while back but never got around to writing the review.  

It is listed on the menu as 'the Empire Burger - a 180g pure beef pattie with salad, bacon, melted brie, and crisp onion rings in a gourmet bun with B.B.Q sauce and a side of crisp fries.'

Presentation was pretty good.  Fries were kept separate from the coleslaw, which was pretty good thinking that kept them from getting soggy!
 From memory it was a solid burger and came with a tasty coleslaw on the side.  What made it really good were the onion rings (I can never go past onion rings!!)  
The pattie didn't really stand out as far as I can remember. And the BBQ sauce doesn't really do much for me.  

However, the main thing that I felt let it down was the bun.  All of those seeds sitting on the top actually detracted from the flavour and texture of the burger. They could have saved some money by not going with the 'gourmet' bun and probably improved the offering.  Same with the brie cheese.  I am not a real big fan of brie in a burger.  So, considering the ingredients, at $19 it was good value for money!!
I cant really thing of anything else.My apologies for the half-assed effort at a post here, but they say a picture tells a thousand words and I offer you three.