It’s a cold Monday morning, and I’m after a tasty burger for lunch. Throwing aside all thought of places I’ve not been to before, I decide that what I really want for lunch is a beef burger. Despite the wide range of protein fillings available during Burger Wellington, fully one third of the entries have gone for beef in one form or another, whether smoked brisket, prime angus, or slow-cooked cheek. Also, I’m keen to try the third beer brewed specially for the Burger Wellington competition, Hazelnut Bruin. I put all the parameters into my trusty burger spreadsheet, and out pop five choices. One is in Lower Hutt, which is no good as a lunch time venue. Of the others, Burger Liquor looks the most promising.
Their burger is called The Score, and is described on the WOAP website thusly: Aged beef patty, double-smoked bacon and tomato jam, cheddar, shredded lettuce, and Marmite or Vegemite mayonnaise - which ‘mitey’ spread will reign supreme. That’s what it says on the website, but it appears they’ve had a change of heart…or should I say, bun? For now it isn’t the mayo that’s “mitey”, but the bun itself: the bun is black with the yeast-based spread of your choice. I’ve eaten many a burger at Burger Liquor – they’re one of Wellington’s top purveyors of burgers outside the two week madness that is WOAP – so I expect it to be of a high standard. I also expect it to be sufficiently different from their normal burger to rate being in this competition. I’ve noted that this burger is not served with fries, so I ordered a side of paprika fats.
Their burger looks like this:
As you can see, the bun is black. As you can also see, the side of fries has failed to materialise. The waiter said “fries will be along in a minute” but this turned out to be closer to 5 minutes, by which time I’d finished the burger. “Sorry about that” said the waiter, “they’re on the house”.
The Garage Project beer match was Hazelnut Bruin. Bruin is a style of Belgian beer, and is, unsurprisingly, brown. This is my first taste of it and I’d be happy to drink it with any of the other burgers – rich, deep, malty, and no lightweight at 5.8% abv.
When I picked up the burger, it was immediately obvious that the addition of vegemite (for that was my choice) had made the bun more friable, and it was with difficulty that I held it together until the end. It did stay in one piece, just about, with some tactical nibbling, but it wasn’t the robust bun experience that I desire. Also, there was a real estate problem, with a mismatch of patty to bread area. That said, the burger was well cooked, by which I mean medium rare, and the bacon jam was tasty and sweet. The cheese was lost somewhere in the mix. The burger itself seemed to be their normal beef burger.
A good burger, cooked by people who know burgers. But perhaps their pushing of the envelope led to a less satisfactory burger than their usual. I scored it a 7.