Burger Wellington is drawing to a close. A group of us went down Cuba Street to sample the delights of Grill Meats Beer, one of Wellington’s finest purveyors of all thing burger, meaty, and…what's the other thing they do? Oh yeah, beer.
We set out at 11:30 to beat the rush, and it was a good job we did – 10 minutes after we’d arrived, the restaurant was full. We already had a minor cavil with the restaurant, and it’s one I’ve noticed with a few places already this year: whilst restaurants are free to charge what they like for their burgers and beers, there does seem to be a wide variation in these when it comes to the beer. Today’s Garage Project beer match is Loral Royale, which I’ve had before and liked. What we didn’t like was the fact that GMB were charging $11 for a can, where other places were charging a far more reasonable $6 - $8. We boycotted the beer match en masse, and ordered individually from their extensive craft beer menu. I had a Double Vision Smooth Operator – a cream ale, which was unusually flavoured, similar to an old-fashioned cream soda.
We drank our beers, we chatted, and cast increasingly anxious glances to the kitchen. People who’d come in after us were getting their burgers. Where were ours? I went and inquired of the waiter, who said he’d “check with the kitchen”. We surmised this to mean he’d forgotten to put the order in, or lost our docket or something, as it was a further 20 minutes before our burgers materialised. No apology, no explanation, no round of drinks on the house. I’m not impressed, GMB.
GMB’s burger is called Mr. Beefy. The WOAP website describes it: Cheese-stuffed pasturefed beef patty with Tuatara London Porter-braised beef brisket, bell peppers, jalapeño hot sauce and pilsner cheese sauce. It looked like this:
The Garage Project beer match was ignored.
The burgers, when they finally arrived, were good. The patty was cooked medium rare, the brisket was in strips of beef atop the patty, and the whole thing smothered in cheese sauce. It contained the correct amount of lettuce for a burger – zero. The flavour was good, there was a hint of spice from the jalapeno sauce (it could have gone a couple of hotness notches higher, in my opinion). I was concnerned at first about bun integrity, but I should have known that seasoned pros like GMB wouldn’t be offering a substandard bread, and it remained intact to the end.
So what was wrong with it? Well, firstly, it was almost an hour after we sat down that we got any food. That is unacceptable, and I’m deducting marks from what was otherwise a pretty good burger because of it. Secondly, their beer pricing is iniquitous. And finally, I felt that the brisket should have been pulled, rather than served in slices. I awarded it an 8.