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.

So I felt obliged to return, as I really like the idea of serving a quality burger at a price point suited to the everyday lunch crowd (as opposed to the "business lunch" crowd).  This time I brought Matt-T along, who is the guru when it comes to identifying value for money lunch options.

We both ordered the bullfighter with shoestring fries to share.  There was a bit of a delay in the food arriving.  Probably something that needs to be addressed if they do want to capture the lunch crowd.  I will put that down to the North Harbour rugby team staying in the hotel and being down for lunch (like fattened cows to the slaughter - go the Lions!!).
Aargh.  no care in how the ingredients are added.  Frustrating.
When they (the burgers) did arrive they appeared slightly smaller than I remembered.  However, there was good proportions of bun to pattie, although the salad leaf was large and unruly.  As I have found with most burgers I have had, it required reconstruction.

The pattie was nicely charred and the gruyere melted on and into the caramelised onion mix.  Onion, salad leaf, tomato and then finished off with aioli and some tomato sauce.

The cross-section revealed a well done pattie, with a definite homemade appearance with a not too dense grind.  The bun looked a bit light and fluffy. Interestingly, there was no gushing of pattie juice and so no need for the side platter.

The burger was good. It was not spectacular.  The grind of the pattie provided texture, and there was a good meaty flavour, enhanced by the charring of the pattie.  The gruyere and caramelised onion added sweetness and sharpness.

Unfortunately the lack of pattie juice translated into a dry pattie.  Further, there was a distinct lack of seasoning (which I remedied by adding my own).  The bun was a bit light and could have done with a bit more of a toasting.

Ultimately, for a $12 burger ($10 if you ordered takeway) it was a pretty good effort.  I would rate it ahead of a similarly priced Burger Wisconsin or Burgerfuel burger.  Within a quality restaurant environment with cloth napkins and a choice of still, sparkling or tap water, it is streets ahead and goes up the scale in relation to Matt-T's value for money assessment.

I would love to give it a higher score, but I keep having to remind myself to hold out for a better burger.  There is a reason I couldn't remember this one from last time.  There was nothing about it that was outstanding.  A good solid burger at a good price, in a stellar setting.  Nine out of ten for value, but I can only give it a seven out of ten for overall taste and appearance.


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