Wellington on a Plate brings with it a huge array of delicious eats, tasty drinks and an awesome feeling of unity, as local businesses come together to produce some terrific events and menu offers. Last year the Battle of the Burger saw 81 entries, this year it is 116: that would involve eating almost 7 burgers daily – just to experience every burger in the competition. I have to say, it did not occur to me that it could tactically be done – if you grab a few friends and eat your way around the burger joints, just sharing a burger at each place you go, it can be achieved! Needless to say, I haven’t done this, although the amount of burgers I have consumed over the past few weeks has really emptied my bank account and filled my belly. This year saw all sorts entered into the competition: macaroni and cheese (Bebemos & Southern Cross both had variations), lambs brain (Artisian Dining House) and liver (WBC), dessert burgers (Hippopotamus and Carrello del Gelato), an upgrade to KFC’s double-down (Five Boroughs) and a huge variety of vegetarian burgers (my personal favourite was Basque – “Good Golly it’s Cauli” which had a yummy habanero cauliflower patty and was accompanied by maple kumara fries).
The aim of the game: to have the best burger!
How to play: visit the restaurant, order the burger, pair with the beer (one of Garage Project’s special competition brews) and then head online at the VWOAP burger page (http://burgerwelly.com/#/) to vote. Oh, and probably pay.
Credit has to be given to the Hippopotamus Restaurant’s dessert burger too. Photographed above, this dessert burger was so incredibly realistic that it was actually spooky! The burger buns were coffee macarons, the beetroot was raspberry jelly, the cheese was made from white chocolate (and had the EXACT texture of that rubbery plastic cheese you buy in individual packets at the supermarket), there was a mint and kiwifruit gel to act as the pickle and it was all served with sweet polenta fries and raspberry coulis ketchup. Full marks for creativity!
#3: Apache “Bang Bang Burger”
I was lured to Apache by the mango, the prospect of bim bim (whatever that was) and a housemade cashew bun, and I am so pleased I went! The Bang Bang burger was comprised of grilled lemongrass chicken with mango, tomatoes, coriander, with a chilli, lime and coconut mayonnaise on a housemade cashew bun, with a kumara bim bim. Like the rest of Apache’s menu, this meal was a delight.
#2: Egmont Street Eatery “Sichuan Two-Tooth”
Last years winner, I wasted no time in making my way here. And it was well worth it. A mutton blended patty (medium rare) served with Sichuan sauce and pickled celery in a bao bun, with crispy fried squid – it was delicious. The sole let down for me was that it was just a teeeeeny tiny but too spicy (my tolerance is below average, so I’m guessing most people wouldn’t have a problem). I ate it early on in the competition and it sat at number one for the majority of the competition, until…
#1: Annam “Boa Burger: De La Sauce”
I had no idea what I was in for when I came here. The burger sure sounded nice, but I wasn’t predicting it to take home the overall prize! In fact, I almost ordered the festival dish because I had been to Apache recently, and with an Asian theme the burgers seemed kind of similar. But the people at the table next to us were gushing over it, so I decided to give it a go. I did not regret it. A delicious beef patty with pickled vegetables, red onion, roasted sesame seeds, coriander, mango and three homemade sauces in a steamed yeast-rice cake bun, and it was served on a bed of salad and kumara crisps. It was decadent – it was so light, healthy and fresh feeling. A clear winner in my books.
A look alike to the perfect beef burger but for the sweet tooth. Whittaker’s Dark Ghana parfait with Whittaker’s white chocolate and raspberry jelly, mint and kiwifruit gel and Kāpiti vanilla crème fraîche, with sweet polenta fries (GF, V)
Thanks also to Garage Project for the sweet beer matches.
Bring on #BurgerWelly 2017! (I might refrain from burgers until then)