Chocolate Fish, Shelly Bay

Angus beef burger with cheese, tomato, caramelised onion, chilli jam and horseradish and salad - $18.50

Chocolate Fish is a neat family friendly cafe in the old Shelly Bay army base around the corner from Miramar in Wellington.

The place focuses on seafood cooked on the bbq.  So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a burger on the menu.

Now this was a pretty good burger.  Well made, cooked on a bbq giving the pattie a nice char, and with quality ingredients inside and out.

The pattie was homemade and nicely charred (as you can do when cooking over flame (assuming it was on flame and not the hotplate).  The bun was light and toasted.  Cheese was melted over the pattie, which sat on some thickly sliced tomato and salad leaves.  Topped with caramelised onion and mayo.

Although built high (note the skewer holding it together), it was a relatively small burger.  I thought maybe a bit heavy handed on the caramelised onion, but otherwise a solid effort that delivered on taste.

Apologies for the upside down photo.
Tastewise, I had no complaints.  What I did take issue with, was the accompaniment.  When the obligatory chips are replaced with a side salad, you have to question the thought process of the chef/cook.

...Hmm, I think the burger is a bit stodgy.  The customer may prefer a salad to balance out the meal...

Mr chef/cook.  If the customer is ordering a burger, it is because he wants a burger.  He/she is not too worried about cholesterol or quantity.  Don't deny them the fries!!

To be fair, I am guessing they (Chocolate Fish) have decided they don't do deep fried.  A valiant position to take but a difficult one to pull off.  I would have just gone without the side.  A burger is a meal in a bun.  There are already veg in there - tomato, onion; and even more of those salad leaves.  There is no need for more on the side!!

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At $18.50, it was a bit on the steep side.  If there was a solid side of fries it would have come in a bit better in terms of value.

But lets be clear, the cafe itself is pretty neat.  Set up in the old army base in Shelly Bay, it has a fair bit of space to itself.  This is great for families, and they seem to have locked in on this market.  A collection of old bikes and trikes were scattered around the entranceway.  The kids were onto them straight away.  The place has a bit of a camp feel, with the menu geared around the BBQ.  Families were scattered around the area, some even bringing picnic blankets.

All in all, worth a trip, especially if you have young tikes in tow.  They even do a kid's burger, which beats the old Macca's cheeseburger hands down.  Sophie ate the whole thing.  Something she rarely does when getting her cheeseburger happy meal.

Reason for visiting:  to get the kids out of your hair and enjoy some outdoor lounging.  Burger is optional.

The kid's burger is apparently pretty good as well.


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