This year’s Burger Wellington entries vary wildly in their meat content (oddly, no-one’s doing a vege burger this year), so I thought I’d try some of the more unusual ones as well as the standard beef burger. This lunchtime, a colleague and I wandered down Willis Street to Ti Kouka, a café which specialises in free-range, organic food. Their burger offering was the All About Longbush Pork Burger, which contains pulled pork, bacon and pork belly, served with an Asian-inspired garnish of pickled cucumber, hoisin mayo, coriander and mint leaves, and side dishes of bean sprouts, crackling and chilli relish; the whole served in a steamed bun, and, unusually, no chips. The deal also offered a Garage Project dark German lager (a contradiction in terms, surely?) as accompaniment – The Garage Project’s Smoke And Mirrors.
Firstly, the burger: this was definitely one for eating with a knife and fork – bun integrity would have been compromised by being hand-held. The pulled pork was really good, juicy and tender, and the bacon also very good. The pork belly let it down a little by being on the chewy side. The garnishes really enhanced the burger. I scored the burger a 7.
Secondly, the beer: The Garage Project are a Wellington-based micro-brewery, and have recently been re-popularising the concept of beer in tins; the technology has moved on from the old days, and you no longer get a tinny-flavoured beer. The beer itself, a dark, malty brew, is also a smoked beer (hence the name). Never had a smoked beer? Then try one, if you can find it! (Greenwich Meantime brewery make one in the UK, called Winter Time.) I tried it for the first time at Beervana.