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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Tuatua, Wellington - beef burger - 7/10

Ground pure angus beef pattie made to our own recipe, served in focaccia bread, with traditional tomato sauce, salad and garlic aioli with cumin cheese - $9.50


Tuatua is located in an unassuming hole in the wall (boatshed) on the waterfront under Frank Kitts Park.  I have passed by it a number of times without paying it too much attention.

However, on a nice day it is difficult to ignore, and so Dawn and I stopped by for lunch.  We were pleasantly surprised and have since been back several times.

This is as close to a "healthy" tasting burger as I have had.  This is probably because it more closely resembles a sandwich, with a solid serving of salad leaves, and un-melted cumin cheese on a focaccia bun.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Jimmy Smiths, Wellington - Cheeseburger, 6/10

it sure had a lot of salad leaves

Beef burger with cheese, bacon, tomato and salad - $15

If you are after a bit of substance to your burger, or simply have an appetite, then the Jimmy Smith burger is for you.

Located in the James Smith building on the corner of Manners Mall, Jimmy Smiths is a retro cafe with a combination of coffee shop cabinet food (pies and slices), and a cooked menu.  The pricing is sharp.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Portlander, Wellington - Moolander, 6.5/10

 A sweet Brioche bun holds a wagyu mince patty topped with a mushroom bechamel sauce, gruyere cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and aioli. $25  With truffle handcut fries and parmesan crisp $29

Review by Bradley Cuff

Having recently won me over with the Lamborghini it was with stars in my eyes that I ventured back to Portlander to celebrate the return of the Burger Wellington finalist - The Moolander.

And like a night at the Oscars all the celebrities were there - Wagyu Beef, truffle fries, parmesan crisp, Swiss cheese - but like that movie 'New Years Eve' and that other clanger 'Movie 43' just having a heap of stars in a film does not make it good.  Unfortunately the same has to be said for the Moolander.

As always with Portlander, the burger came out looking great. Also, as is to be expected with a burger housed in a light brioche bun, it was clear from the get go that this was not a burger I was going to be able to eat with my hands. So, with sadness in my heart, but stars still in my eyes, I reached for the knife and fork ... and tucked my napkin down the front of my shirt.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Ti Kouka, Wellington - All about Longbush Pork Burger, Burger Wellington 2013 Winner


Wairarapa large black pig bacon, roasted pork belly and pulled pork shoulder, with pickled cucumber, hoisin mayonnaise and iceburg on a steamed bun" - $18.

The "all about longbush pork burger" from Ti Kouka was a clear winner of the WOAP 2013 Burger Wellington Challenge.

The burger itself was left field.  No actual pattie.  Hoisin mayo.  Pork three ways.  For it to win against some pretty high pedigree burgers, it must have something special going for it.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Canteen, Wellington - Beef Brisket Burger, 6.5/10

Beef and brisket burger with basting - $14.50

The Canteen is a relatively recent addition to the Wellington cafe scene.  It had been open five weeks when Tony and I stumbled across it by accident.  I'm glad we did.

We were actually meant to be at the Fork and Brewer, for what sounded on their menu like a pretty impressive burger.  However, when I turned up at 12.05pm, Tony was the only person in the dining area - not a good sign. I quickly ushered him out of there.

Because I had a plan B.  On my way, walking along Bond Street, I saw a beef and brisket burger special in the window of what looked like a bustling hip cafe.  What caught my eye was the mention of 'brisket' in the burger description.  This place obviously knew what made a good pattie.  Sorry Fork and Brewer but there has been a change of plan.  Tony and I were eating at The Canteen.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Reka, Lower Hutt, - Venison Burger - 7/10

Venison burger with house beetroot relish, rocket mayonnaise & handcut wedges  $19.50

Just because you can do it doesn't necessarily mean you should.  Venison burgers are a perfect example.  Venison is such a lean meat that it takes all skill just to make it taste OK as a burger.

To be fair, Reka gives it a good crack.  The pattie was seasoned and spiced liberally (I think it was fennel but I cant be sure).  Added to that, a solid helping of beetroot relish and a big dollop of mayonnaise.  But even with all that, you are only just getting back to even par.

However, the rewards if you do make it work are great.  Venison suggests healthy, which draws in a whole new market - the health conscious diner.  And at Reka, the clientele did appear to be the type that would tee off on a venison burger...

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Portlander, Wellington, The Bullfighter - 7/10

Free range wakanui beef pattie in a bun with lettuce, caramelised onion and
gruyere cheese - $12

[Actually this is my second review of the Bullfighter.  I have a really bad memory.  Interestingly this time I only gave it a seven - must have been the lettuce leaf!!]

Would you like a lettuce leaf with your burger?
It had been a while since I had come to the Portlander to review "The Bullfighter".  And for the life of me I couldn't remember any details about the burger apart from the need to get a plate as it was releasing pattie juice all over the table (I was thinking that those chopping boards need to have a juice groove if they want to keep using them as a serving platter).

Further, it wouldn't be a good look to have "the Lamborghini" review up on our site and not "the Bullfighter", considering that "the Lamborghini" doesn't contain a pattie and so, technically, is not a burger.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Cobar, Eastbourne, The Co-burger (WOAP 2013) - 6.5/10

Rosemary lamb patty, Zany Zeus halloumi, beetroot and salad in a Pandoro bun served with hand cut chips - $19

Being stuck out in the Hutt Valley during Burger Wellington did have a silver lining in that it meant I had to try the suburban offerings.  I had tried the Empire entry in Petone the week before, and now had a chance to head out to Cobar in Eastbourne for the Co-burger.

What had been holding me back from going there was the lamb pattie.  After a disappointing experience at McDonalds, I have steered clear of lamb burgers.  However, with limited options, I thought I would go with the flow.  Joining me were fellow Huttites Tony and Gavin.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Portlander, Wellington, Lamborghini - 7/10

Shredded lamb shoulder twice cooked with duck fat in a bun with mushroom, lettuce, cucumber and mint jelly - $12

review by Brad

I like lamb. I like lamb a lot. But I am yet to have a great lamb burger. So like going to a romantic comedy at the movies, I ventured into Portlander to take on The Lamborghini with low expectations but hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

I will also come clean and say I had previously had a less that satisfying burger experience at Portlander with The Bullfighter.  I was trying not to let this influence me.  The stage was set.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Little Beer Quarter - Burg as Bro (WOAP 2013) - 7.5/10

Beef and lamb patty with pork belly, fried quail egg, aged cheddar, chilli-onion jam, pickled beetroot, Tuatara APAioli and lettuce in Pandoro bun, with chips and dip - $21


You can argue all you like about the merits of bacon, the necessity of cheese, the lack of condiments or whether a pickle has any place in a burger, but what I want to discuss today is engineering, burger engineering.

A burger with everything might look great but, when it comes to eating it in the traditional way, with your hands, there's only one way for its contents to go - all over my shirt. And that's detrimental to both my dignity and my relationship with the person who has the overall responsibility for getting the stains out of my clothes.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Joe's Garage, Wellington, beef burger - 7/10

Beef pattie, streaky bacon, lettuce, swiss cheese, caramelised onions, and aioli with hand cut chips - $17

See what I mean about the lettuce?
Joe's Garage is a pretty cool cafe at the bottom of Tory Street in Wellington Central.  Decor is, surprise, industrial/nostalgic - a bit like an old garage.  There are some cool vintage Tonka toys around the place as well.  Looking at their website, Joe's Garage is a franchise, with locations in seven spots around New Zealand.

We had been here before, but I didn't have the burger.  Last time it was just too early in the morning. This time it was still relatively early in the morning (10am) but I felt it was my duty to review the beef burger.  Particularly as the menu offerings suggested that Joe's would do a good burger!!  Further, as the burger has bacon, it was pretty much breakfast in a bun.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Empire, Petone, 20/20 Burger (WOAP 2013) - 6/10

Deluxe cheese burger of handmade minced scotch fillet, Zany Zeus smoked brinza cheese, rocket, beefsteak tomato and homemade aioli on a brioche bun, with roast duck-fat potatoes - $20


My anticipation for Burger Wellington has been dealt a blow with a change in my employment status.  Being in between jobs, I am no longer in Wellington during the lunch hour and so my plan for four burgers a week has been foiled.

Luckily, friends wanted to meet up for lunch on Monday, and they were keen to try a burger.

Being in the Hutt, we recommended the Empire Bar & Restaurant in Petone, whose offering did sound exciting, and had been highlighted on my burger bucket list.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Crabshack, Wellington - Big Welly Buffalo 6.5/10

The Big Welly buffalo burger, 300g pattie w beetroot, chipotle slaw, smoked provolone cheese & tomato - $26

 I had heard good things about the Crabshack on Queens Wharf, which offers a priced down version of fine cooking.  It is attached to Shed Five, which is the high priced half of the duo - commonly referred to as fine dining.  Factor in a focus on seafood = even more pricey.

However, its not often that one can afford to go to a "celebrity" chef's establishment.  And Simon Gault is definitely in the "celebrity" category in New Zealand.


Monday, 15 July 2013

Portlander, Wellington - Bullfighter, 8/10

Free range Wakanui beef pattie in a bun with lettuce, caramelised onion and gruyere cheese - $12

Read a review in the Sunday Star Times, which noted that Portlander had a burger range on their menu. Finding a restaurant that had more than one burger on their menu was rare. It almost made them a bona fide burger joint. We (Brad and I) had to go check it out. Here is what we found!!

The Portlander has a really good feel about it.  Not too stuffy but still with a bit of class about it.  You wouldn't know you were in a hotel restaurant. Which is good if you want to feel comfortable just dropping in (without actually staying there or visiting someone who was staying there).

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Burger Wellington 2013

The WOAP lineup for 2013 has been revealed, with 69 entries for Burger Wellington.  It will be a mission, but one that I will subscribe to with relish and gusto (with some help from a few trusty burger aficionados!!)

I'm thinking I will probably get through a dozen.  Any thoughts on which they should be?  Here is the list.

Note that I only very reluctantly stray away from Beef patties...Lamb maybe, Chicken? At a pinch.  Seafood?  If you pay me.  Vegetarian? not a chance.  Dessert?  Thats what ice-cream is for.

Regulators.  Saddle up!!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Crazy Horse, Wellington, Prime Beef Cheeseburger - 7.0/10

Prime beef cheeseburger - Lettuce, beetroot, tomato, gherkin & horseradish mayonaise, hand-cut jumbo fries, tomato sauce - $28.

They say you get what you pay for.  And at $28 we were expecting something pretty spectacular.  Outside of the Wellington on a Plate competition, this was the most expensive burger we have reviewed!!

Crazy Horse steakhouse is the premier steakhouse in Wellington, only open for lunch on a Friday.  On arrival we were greeted by quality wait staff and shown to our table.  The step up in service was apparent.  As was the quality of our surrounds.  Quality cutlery, crisp white napkins.  Three types of water to choose from (we chose tap) and free bread and butter.  Just to digress, the butter was white, which was quite novel.

The Crazy Horse was chosen by Gary a.k.a. Puller, who was obviously eager to impress upon us his love of burgers and keenness to become a part of our growing burger afficianado following. (To be honest the only growing happening has been our waistlines).

Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Craftsman, Wellington, Cheeseburger - 6/10

The Craftsman was a place that I hadn't heard of before, but with a GrabOne offer of two burgers and two beers for $20, I was all ears.  Actually, in searching for the menu on one of the many menu sites that are around they list 'burgers' as one of their keyword searches.  (Alas I could not find an online menu and their website was "undergoing maintenance", so I can't actually give you the burger description).  However, I do recall that the cheeseburger I had cost $12.50.

From this angle, a pretty substantial looking burger!!
So I organised with my fellow burger afficianado, Brad, and we headed off for a jaunt down to the end of Courtney Place, where The Craftsman had a perfect position on the corner of Courtney and Cambridge.  I recall it was perfect Wellington weather (when isn't it?).

Always on time, Brad was waiting for me when I arrived.  OK surroundings.  There was a choice of high bench tables and normal tables.  A slightly tired look and nowhere near as busy as "Sweet Mother's Kitchen" next door.


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Kotuku Rendezvous Cafe, Lower Hutt, - 7/10

Finally succumbing to a cold last week, I decided to stay home.  However, the cold wasn't bad enough for me to turn down lunch with Dawn, who had a rare day off.  Trying to think of somewhere we hadn't been before,  I suggested Kotuku.  We had been there previously when it was the Tiki Lounge AND I thought I had heard they did a burger.  Reaching agreement we headed out to Waiwhetu, which is where Kotuku lived ; off the beaten track.

Thankfully, the burger was on the menu and it sounded good.  I'm pretty sure it said 200g Wagyu but it could well have been Angus.  At $16, it probably was Angus.  Like I said, I had a cold so you can't hold it against me for not having all my facts straight.  Further, Kotuku doesn't have an online menu so I can't verify. I can say that the burger came with Thrice cooked homemade chips, which were winners!!

To summarise, this is the best looking burger that I have had so far.  The top bun nonchalantly offset to show off the charred burger and melted cheese.  They appear to have even glazed the outside of the bun!!   Unfortunately, it was almost as if they didn't want to take away from the appearance by providing any bold flavours.  That is not to say it was bad - far from it.  It is just that there wasn't much in the way of taste.  Again I did have a cold, so maybe my taste buds weren't as vigorous as they could have been.

Chicago Bar and Cafe Wellington, Americana Burger - 4/10

The Americana burger - house made burger with sweet and sour coleslaw, cheese, pickles, American mustard, and our chipotle BBQ sauce served with fries - $18

With a description like that you need to be intrigued!!  Sweet and sour, chipotle BBQ sauce, American mustard.  A wacky mix that would either be sublime or substandard.

Chicago Bar is a self proclaimed American style sports cafe, so it had to have burgers on its menu that required rating.

Taking along my fellow burger afficionado Brad, we hit the joint for lunch.

Both of us had consulted the online menu.  Brad bagsed the Hurricane burger, which was described as "the biggest burger in town" and had a $22 price tag to match.  That left me with the Americana burger.  I must add here that they also had a burger on their $12 menu- a beef burger with cheese, mesculin (sic), BBQ sauce and fries, which I didn't consider.  In hindsight it might have been a better option.


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Deville Cafe, Nelson, Beef Burger - 7/10

An unexpected trip to Nelson for a business meeting resulted in the unearthing of a hidden gem!!  It is highly unlikely that I would have stumbled across Deville if it had been me and my family on holiday.   My colleagues took me to lunch to their local.  And it was the local.

Deville has an unassuming entrance, off the main road.  One minute we were walking through car parks and past offices.  The next we were in a vibrant cafe, with a wonderful outdoor setting.  A bit like an oasis in a parking lot.  Not many tourists.  Not surprising as if you didn't know it was there you wouldn't find it.  It seems they like it that way - the locals that is.  Ha! I'm in on your secret Nelsonians.

On the menu board, a range of enticing items surrounded the burger.  The description contained all the right ingredients.  Lettuce, cheese, onion, tomato, pickle, Chipotle mayo.

Sensing that this cafe was above the ordinary, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to give it a go even if it was a business lunch.  I was sure my hosts would understand when I started dissecting and photographing my lunch.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Astoria, Wellington, Beef Burger - 3/10

Beef burger with Monterey Jack cheddar, tomato, dill pickle, baby cos, & chipotle mayonnaise.  Served with Fries - $18.50.

Astoria is a pretty busy cafe in the heart of Wellington's business district.  Set back from Midland Park, the only green space in a fair distance, it has a good vibe to it.  When Dawn and I lived around the corner it was a favourite weekend brunch spot.  Good coffee. Quality food.  Excellent service.

On a weekend visit with the wife and kids, I noticed the burger on the menu, which pushed all the right buttons.  quality cheddar, pickle, cos lettuce and a chipotle mayonnaise.  Scanning the room, I saw a few burgers being devoured.  I made a mental note to get back to Astoria and test run the burger.