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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.


A couple of weeks later, an abandoned lunchtime squash game due to an unforeseen injury gave me the perfect opportunity.  I convinced Hayden to instead accompany me to lunch at Astoria to try their burger.  I'm guessing Hayden would rather have played squash (always a martyr) but he agreed anyway.  Probably in protest he then ordered a muffin and pasta!!  Hayden will not be mentioned again in this review.

Surprisingly, as the place was quite busy, the burger turned up pretty quickly.  Presentation was excellent, with a skewer holding everything in place.  First thing I noticed was that they hadn't used their normal fries throwing in some crinkle cuts.

(If you ever do venture to Astoria get the Shoestring fries with Aioli.  They are up there with the best I've had).

I probably wouldn't have gone for the ciabatta type bun as it was too dry and crumbly and didn't provide any bite.  Further it wasn't toasted nearly enough!!  Apart from that all looked good under the hood.  Plenty of pickle and chipotle mayo.  There was  lettuce and tomato as well as cheese.

The cross section sort of got me a little worried.  As depicted in the third photograph the burger looked pretty dry and crumbly.  The cheese was not melted.

Taking a bite I quickly worked out why the burger was so quick to arrive and the cheese was hard.  The pattie was not hot.  In fact it was probably less than warm.  It was almost luke-warm; and we all know that's not going to get you into heaven...  Actually, what it will get you is a pretty disappointed burger lover!!  And boy was I disappointed.  For a burger that appeared to have been put together with thought (apart from the bun), the cool pattie completely put me off.  I couldn't get past that and so therefore it completely failed to deliver.

I understand that in a busy restaurant you might take shortcuts to deliver, but I truly wasn't expecting this from Astoria.  Not sure whether this was a precooked pattie and it needed to be reheated or god forbid zapped in the micro.  Perhaps this was a one-off incident.  I really hope so.  It was just before Christmas and the place was busy but that is no excuse.

Despite the quality ingredient list and the appearance, the pitiful pattie means that I can't really give this burger a score higher than three.  Sorry.

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