It’s a much nicer day today than yesterday, and I took myself out for a walk along the waterfront to Karaka Café, housed in Wellington’s Wharewaka building. I’ve been there for coffee, and maybe eaten there once before, but it certainly isn’t one of my regular haunts so it qualifies under my self-imposed rules – OK, guidelines – for this year.
Their burger is called Pōhutu Me Whenua Karaka Surf And Turf Burger, which is a bit of a mouthful. (As was the burger! I thangyou, playing here all week.) Pōhutu Me Whenua translates as “surf and turf”, unsurprisingly (or "splash and land", if you use Google Translate). It’s described on the WOAP website like so: Venison patty with chilli tempura squid, smoked beetroot pickle and chilli jam, Pandoro beetroot bun, with kūmara fries, and it looks like this:
The Garage Project beer match is Death From Above, another staple from their range, and a powerful one for a lunchtime, at 7.5% abv. I am familiar with this brew and found it tasty as ever.
The burger was pretty tall but squashed down to be manageable. Unfortunately this led to some of the liquid being squeezed out of the beetroot relish, which formed a puddle on the plate. Beetroot is a key ingredient of any kiwi burger (even McCrapshit’s put it in their kiwi burger), but it’s a tricky ingredient, as you don’t want any of it on your shirt. I felt that the relish here was a bit too liquid. The venison patty was pretty substantial, and cooked well done, which was a pity – as it had clearly been handcrafted by the café, they could have risked a bit more rareness. The squid rings were tempura, but not chilli, so far as I could tell. The beetroot bun was a pinky-purple, and held its integrity until the end. The kūmara fries were lacking in crunch, and the alleged chilli jam appeared to be sweet chilli sauce from a bottle. This was a reasonable burger, cooked to café standards. With a bit of care and attention it could have been a great burger. As it was, I scored it a 6.