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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Ti Kouka Cafe, Wellington, Sticky Beef Burger - 7/10

Sticky Beef Burger with braised beef brisket, red cabbage, beetroot, smoky BBQ sauce & Watercress - $16.

 Glistening chunks of brisket with  fatty goodness still attached.
With Burger Wellington over for another year, I was feeling a bit down.  Luckily, I went for lunch with Dawn to Ti Kouka, one of her favourite haunts.

Surprisingly, their menu had a Sticky Beef Burger on it.  Despite my disdain toward non-minced-meat burgers, how could I resist?

Now just a bit more about Ti Kouka - its a really neat place hidden away upstairs on Willis St (It used to be Katipo).  Has a really awesome vibe to it.  The menu is tight and well planned out giving a range of options.  The actual food looks great and the service is excellent.  A bit hard to get a table (we were seated on the benches next to the counter) but well worth it if you do.  And now back to the review.


The burger arrived and, thankfully, looked like a burger (apart from the pattie of course).  I took the obligatory shots but decided against the cross section (as it didn't have a pattie of course).  So points for appearance.  Now on to taste.

They could have spread the fillings more evenly across the bun
so you could get a bit in every bite!!
On first bite I was pleasantly surprised.  The meat was definitely tender, and there was a good ratio of meat to bun.  The beetroot and the cabbage gave it sweetness and crunch, and the delicate, dressed, watercress gave it a certain elegance.

The bun was actually appropriate for the burger in terms of it ability to hold it all together (it could potentially be a really messy burger) and it was ever so slightly toasted.

Now I had only two qualms with the burger.

First, the brisket could have been warmer, particularly as they rightly left the fatty bits in.  Unfortunately these had coagulated a bit, which is worse than not having the fatty bits in.

Second, the Sticky Beef Burger could have been stickier.  That is, it needed to be more intensely sticky.  The beetroot and BBQ sauce didn't add quite enough sweetness.  As a burger, it could have handled it and, to be honest, as I was eating it, I expected it.  It was a bit like those herbal teas, where they sound and smell really neat and intense, but when you take a sip, its like drinking water out of an unrinsed bottle of gatorade.
Another full frontal shot.  Just because it was there...

Ultimately, I added salt to the burger to get over both the fattiness but there was little i could to about the lack of intense flavour.

So to the scoring.  It was a really good concept.  Sticky beef in a bun.  The additionals were all supportive and I forgive it for not containing a pattie (you really couldn't do a sticky beef pattie burger!!  And the meat was tender.  I score it a 7/10.  It could have been more.

As an aside, their fries are brilliant.  Thick, chunky, crispy on the outside, pillowy on the inside.  Served with three sauces - aioli, tomato, and halloumi.  Well worth getting!!

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