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.

The lettuce leaf just stood out!!
 Burger presentation was interesting.  The burger arrived with a lettuce leaf spread out across it (the only way I can explain it - see the pictures and you will see what I mean).  It was stabbed through the top with a steak knife.

Aside from the lettuce leaf, the burger looked good.  The bun, in particular was impressive.  For once, it wasn't an oversized slab of bread, but rather a quality, in proportion to the pattie, bun.  and it was toasted.  The pattie was charred, as was the bacon (extra crispy).  A solid clump of caramelised onion and two good squeezes of aioli - one squeeze on the bacon and one squeeze on the top bun.  All positive but, aue, the swiss cheese was not there!!  Always disappointing when an ingredient is omitted, regardless of whether it adds value or not...

See how the bun fits the fillings - like a glove...
I folded the lettuce leaf in half (it was an unruly beast of a leaf) and spread the onion and aioli a bit more evenly.  Then I followed up with a halving of the burger with the impaled steak knife.  The pattie was cooked through but with a slight pinkiness on one side.  The quality of the bun could be seen in the way it formed itself around the fillings.

Now for the tasting.  As expected, the bun was the star.  It is difficult to understand why so many cannot nail this aspect of a burger.  Surely it is not so hard to source a good bun!!?

The flavour was good - sweet by design.  Caramelised onion and aioli.  A bit of saltiness with the bacon.

Unfortunately, what let this burger down was the pattie.  It was overly dry and grainy.  Not sure why, considering it appeared to be well prepared.  While the burger did have enough moisture with the aioli and the caramelised onion, it missed the pattie juice.

Sloppy application - it needs to be evenly spread if you are
to get the best out of each bite!!
Gareth (staff) asked me how the burger was.  I told him it was OK.  He asked what would make it better.  I told him.  "Fix the pattie."  With a better pattie, it would be a pretty awesome burger that could potentially score 8+.  Oh and take the Swiss Cheese off the menu description - not necessary with the other flavours in the burger.

As an aside, the fries were really good.  The aioli/special sauce mix added value.  The wait staff were very helpful and friendly.  Most importantly, for a cafe, the coffee was top notch - one of the best I have had in Wellington.  An excellent cafe, one I could easily be a regular at if I lived/worked nearby.


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