Wellington on a plate is again here. To be honest, I thought the programme this year was just overloaded and too many restaurants and bars participating. Nothing in the Festival programme really excited me as some of them are repeated and some of the restaurants that are offering them I do not rate. On the burger point of view, there are just too many burgers on offer. How are you meant to try so many burgers in so limited time? It is physically not possible, so how do you decide what to try. Finally, the cocktails, well I do not drink, so nothing really there to try.
I thought I would write a more detailed review of the burgers that I have tried and get them on paper. I have also included my score and will be interesting to see what other people think.
Wilson Barbeque @ Tutara Bar
Brewed to the Bone
Smoked beef short rib with candied bacon and Zany Zeus boozy cheese sauce in an Arobake bun, with curly fries
This was the one that excited me the most and the one I think got the most hype leading up to WOAP. I got this on the first day and shit, I was excited when I got my hands on it. I loved how the beef was still connected to the rib and that I could just pull it off without difficulty. The first bite was amazing and the tenderness of the beef was unbelievable. The bun was toasted on the inside and the cheesy sauce was such a good idea. I loved the sweetness and slight saltiness of the bacon and also that slightly extra bit of sliced cheese. Overall a fantastic burger and I loved the curly fries with the sauce that was on top. Score: 10 / 10
Breakfast for Dinner
Chicken with maple-candied Waikanae Butchery bacon, Kāpiti smoked Havarti cheese, Pickle & Pie pickles and Lucky sauce in a waffle bun, with gravy fries
This was a monster of a burger and although it sounded weird, it was a great combination of different flavours. The fried chicken was fantastic, being crisp, juicy and tender. The maple candied bacon added a nice sweetness to the burger and the cheese gave it a nice savoury flavour. The waffle at the bottom of the burger was interesting but the best part where the Pickle and Pie pickles. They really made this burger. Score 9/10.
Mini Angus beef patty, smoked cheddar, iceberg and chilli jam in a steamed bao bun, with kettle chips.
This was an interesting burger, and I only tried it because I was at the Press Hall. This was pretty disappointing. I did like the beef patty and the cheddar, and the chilli jam but it was just to small to enjoy. Score 7/10
Are You Being Surfed?
Whitebait fritter, prawn cocktail salad, chorizo, and buffalo tomato salsa in a Pandoro lemon and chilli milk bun, with fries
This looked like a good burger and the fries were really with the aioli, but that was basically all that was good. The bun tasted slightly stale and the filling was pretty non-existent. The whitebait fritter was far too crisp and too thin to really enjoy. The prawn cocktail consisted of a prawn cut in half with dressing and the chorizo was cut paper thin. Basically, you could not taste the filling and the only thing you tasted was the lemon and chilli milk bun. Score 6/10
Adobo beef patty with bak kwa jerky, pineapple achar, confit lime mayo in a housemade milk bun, with kūmara crisps and Sriracha mayo
I did not know what I was expecting from this burger. The kumara crisps were nice, especially with the Siracha mayo. The adobo beef patty with the bak kwa jerky was unbelievable, with the patty being slightly sweet. The pineapple matched well and the lime mayo tied everything together really well. The best part was the housemade milk bun being nice, soft and crusty. Overall a really good burger. Score 9/10
A Royal Gala
Apple Tarte Tatin patty with panko-crumbed leche fritter, rhubarb and burnt cinnamon cream in a cinnamon-spiced bun
This was another interesting burger. The bun was nicely toasted and was like a hot cross bun. The apple patty was nice, but I really enjoyed the leche fritter and the burnt cinnamon cream. It is not too sweet but is quite heavy. I especially loved the Potato and Gravy, which was Wooden Spoon vanilla ice cream and housemade caramel sauce. A great dessert burger. Score 8/10
Pomelo Kitchen and Bar
Slow-roasted pork belly, streaky bacon, mango and pineapple salsa and homemade relish, with hand-cut fries
This looked really good and when you go with a table of 10 people and eight people order it, it is a site to see. The fries were really nicely seasoned and I loved the spicy aioli with them. Taking the first bite out of the burger was unbelievable. The pork was so tender and the mango and pineapple salsa was amazing. However, the best part was the crackling which was a real surprise but gave this burger such a good point of difference. Everything in the burger worked really well. Score 10/10
Pickle & Pie
Drip Pickle & Dip
Roast New York strip loin with horseradish aioli on a salted pretzel bun, with dipping gravy and crinkle-cut fries
Honestly, this burger did not originally intice me, when I read about it. However, a lot of people were talking about it that I had to give it a try. I loved how you just pour the gravy over the burger and the fries and I love how they decided to use a pretzel bun instead of a normal bun so the bun didn’t whittle away. The fries went really well with the gravy and so good. However, the New York strip loin was just fantastic and nicely cut with good seasoning. I loved the pickle and the salt from the pretzel bun was a great idea. Overall a fantastic burger. Score 9/10
So there was my first week of Wellington on a Plate. I suppose there will be more to come and maybe an event or two.