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...

The bun was nicely toasted. the components were in proportion, and the burger was constructed with care (bonus points).  The pattie was large and cooked medium.  Basically everything was done right.  

And here is the reason you shouldn't do venison if you want a tasty burger.  Even with at its best, a venison burger just cannot compete against beef.  It just doesn't have that pattie juice, and mouth feel that you get with a well cooked beef burger.

It was a tough call for me.  I had to remind myself that this was a well made burger.  And it was venison.  Healthy?  Yes.  Tasty?  Not really.  Appropriate for Reka?  Yes.  Appropriate for me?  Not really.

At the end of the day, I scored this one using a handicap system.  It was after all, a venison burger made well.  If it was beef, it probably would have scored an eight.  Tastewise, it was a six.  It just didn't have the juiciness or the texture, with a slightly overpowering spiced pattie giving it a herbal flavour.

It was an A for effort so lets split the difference - 7 out of 10.

And to save myself the angst, I will not order a venison burger again...

By the way, Reka is a great place to bring the kids.  Located in the Dowse museum and with the outside square the kids have a great space to play and leave you to enjoy your meal.


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