Lil Mike - Double Beef and Cheese $8.50. All Ekim burgers come with Ekim Sauce, Mustard and a salad of fresh lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickle.
Ekim Burgers in Lyall Bay was on the top of my list of burgers to try in Wellington. I actually felt like a bit of a pretender for not having had an "Ekim Burger". I had good intentions but, being in Lyall Bay, its not something I could just pop out for. For me to try it, there had to have a broader event supporting it.
And so last weekend we piled in the car to pick up the mother-in-law, who was down for the school holidays. I knew that this was the perfect opportunity and so kept my intentions to myself, knowing that any discussion could see my plan for an Ekim Burger shuttled.
After picking up the mother-in-law, we determined she (and we) had not had lunch and decided to stop at a cafe. I headed toward Island Bay. Stupidly, I thought Ekim Burger was in Island Bay. It is not. It is in Lyall Bay!!
Heading through Island Bay I scoped the beach looking for a red caravan. I saw none. Hiding my disappointment I stopped at Floyd's, which is a great spot for a bit of lunch with the family. Having ordered for everyone apart from myself, I popped out again and went looking for Ekim. I couldn't find it. I guess you know why. I was disappointed.
[Yes. Ekim Burger is in Lyall Bay. We had driven right past it. Note to self. Do your research!!]
Anyway, the cat was out of the bag and I told everyone I was wanting an Ekim burger and that it was actually in Lyall Bay. The family, feeling sorry for me, and having had a great meal at Floyd's, agreed to go to Lyall Bay so I could have my burger. Wife, mother-in-law and kids, all now well fed, would have a play on the beach. Luckily it was a brilliant afternoon (note the blue sky in the caravan pic).
And so that was the saga re getting to Ekim Burger. But wait. There's more. Having ordered the Lil Mike, I waited...and waited...and waited. True there were a few people, but surely it should not take this long. When people who had ordered after me started receiving their orders, I lingered outside the window and eventually was asked what I had ordered. Surprisingly, they had lost the docket. How do you lose the docket???!!! Admitting there error they gave me a beer (Carlsberg) as a peace offering and said it would be ready in five. I waited closer to ten (or maybe it felt that way) but, finally, it arrived.
Not wanting to look the fool and to retain my blogger cover, I took the burger to my car for the photos. The full frontal shot was impressive!! A whole pickle and chunks of red onion prominent. A good looking bun. Fresh looking salad. Two impressive patties with cheese nicely melting into the burger.
Opening up I was a bit taken aback by the Ekim sauce/mustard combo. It looked a bit like minced onion. I should have tried it then and there to see what it was but I was obviously flustered by this point and just keen to get into the burger before the family got back from their walk!!
I couldn't do the cross section because I didn't have a knife or a plate. However, I can tell you that one of the two patties was undercooked i.e. pretty raw. Now I don't know if that was by design, but if it were you would expect both patties to be cooked the same. Unless you were going for a bob both ways approach. And this was a Mike burger.
Re the taste, I was underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong. This was not a bad burger. It just wasn't what I was expecting, which was a great burger. There was an occasional hint of cooked/charred pattie. However, more often than not, what was there was a mushy, raw texture. The pickle was actually sliced in half horizontally, with a thick end and a thin end. And there was only one. So that, while exactly what was needed, was good for a single bite. The bun was pretty bready, and the sauce was quickly absorbed. Hence, it was not really a very messy burger and, was in fact, relatively dry. What kept it moist was the raw pattie, which isn't really a good thing. I still haven't worked out what the minced grey matter on the top was.
So, to sum up, it was all there but it wasn't. I'm pretty sure that they do good burgers. The number of people there, and the reviews to date are probably testament to that. I am hoping that I was in the right place at the wrong time. In their haste to appease my wait, they may have undercooked a pattie and rushed through the construction, perhaps forgetting the mayo or something (I'm pretty sure that Mayo was what was needed, and perhaps a bit more sauce. But hey, I'm not a burger builder, I'm a burger taster!!).
The concept of a caravan dedicated to burgers works and, to be true, we could do with more burger focused joints in Wellington (I know that there is demand for them - just look at the turnout during VWOAP!!) So I'm pretty disappointed that I have to give these guys a 6.5/10 although they are lucky to score that high. However, I will be back next chance I get, and I will order the basic Cheeseburger (Esther I think they call it). I will hold final judgement until then. Otherwise, try them out yourself. It could be worth the trip!!