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.

The burger arrived and it certainly looked like they had ticked all the right boxes.  A large pattie smothered in cheese sauce on a bed of lettuce in a toasted sesame seed bun.  it was simply supported by a small bowl of not hand-cut fries and tomato sauce on the side.

Opening her up there was a solid helping of sauteed mushrooms, a couple of slices of bacon, and the onions were in there somewhere.  Dissection revealed a nicely textured pattie, which was ever so slightly pink.  A pretty good looking burger.

You just knew it was going to be messy!!
We had been warned that it was a two napkin burger; and going by the cheese sauce it definitely looked that way.  Brad and Hoppy immediately went for the cutlery and started hacking into their burgers.

In no time Brad's plate looked like a big breakfast, with bits and pieces of the burger all over the show.  It definitely didn't resemble a structured burger.

Hoppy simply stated that he always ate his burgers with a knife and fork.  Who knew he was so refined?  I certainly wasn't going to question the manliness of his approach to burger eating!!  As per my usual modus operandi, I realigned my burger and ate it the way it was designed to be - with my hands!!

Staying on the discussion of form, Brad suggested that his pattie was more of a meatball, which was why there was no way he could possibly use his hands.  Closer inspection of his mangled burger suggested he did have a relevant excuse.  Hoppy simply stated that he always ate his burgers with a knife and fork.  It was a messy burger.  I was onto my second napkin before I had finished my first half.  The juiciness of the pattie, combined with the sauteed mushrooms AND the cheese sauce were just too much.

The pattie was significant, accounting for a large proportion of the burger's mass.
 Brad blamed the bun for not being able to absorb the wetness of the ingredients.  He was right, to an extent.  The bun did tend to fall apart and not quite hold the burger together.  I did have this problem last year as well if I recall.  However, Brad was using a knife and fork so really the ability of the bun was irrelevant.

And so we get to taste.  I thought it was pretty earthy.  Hoppy suggested Beef Stroganoff.  Brad agreed.  I could see where they were coming from.  There was no sweetness.  There was no tartness.  (no t-sauce, mustard or gherkin).  There was mushroom, cheese sauce and pattie.

The lettuce was fresh and crunchy.  Added value.  Tomatoes.  There were some in there but they were lost in the mix.

The pattie itself was pretty good.  The pork gave it some additional fat and texture.  Perhaps slightly on the dense side but still a good quality pattie.  Brad reiterated that his was more of a meatball.  Hoppy commented how easy it was to eat the burger with a knife and fork!!

Scoring it required a bit of negotiation as we had not all tried the other burgers.  Brad suggested a six based on his difficulties in actually eating it (the fact he didn't like mushrooms swayed his score as well I'm sure).  Hoppy had no clue, it being his first burger and couldn't offer up a score.  He did rate it as on a par with the Green Man offering.  Considering Green Man wasn't even in the competition suggests that GP could have done better.  I definitely thought it was better than the Tradesman from Trade Kitchen but not as good as the Gusto Krop Surtic.

And so we agreed that 6.5 was a pretty good reflection of the burger.  I think we need to acknowledge that the quality of burgers this year is much higher than last.  Perhaps its just we are smarter with our selections.  But the scores are relative.  What that does mean is that 6.5 is by no means a poor score.  It is actually quite a good score and one not to be scoffed at.  The difference between a 6 and an 8 is one or two person's personal taste preferences.

I would absolutely recommend this burger.  It had its own personality - a messy earthy mass of meat and mushrooms.  Hoppy rightly ate it with a knife and fork!!


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