The 2019 WOAP burgers have been announced, and HECK is there a lot of competition (thank god I don’t work hospo anymore). In light of the recent announcement, I thought I’d share a little bite-size breakdown of my top 8 Burger Wellington’s from 2018:
The Library – A Royal Gala: Apple tarte tatin patty with panko-crumbed leche fritter, rhubarb and burnt cinnamon cream in a cinnamon spiced bun. This was by far one of the most innovative burgers I tasted last years WOAP. I HATE dessert pizza, so I was kinda’ sceptical about this one, but holy moly. Just one bite of this blissful burger paired with a sip of their mango milkshake IPA milkshake was enough to send you to heaven. The only dessert burger I tried, but the best burger I tried.
The Botanist – The Incredible Hulk: Broccoli and pistachio patty with smoked vegan cheese, slaw, avocado, apple and kiwifruit salsa verde and herb aioli in a Pandoro spirulina bun, with beetroot crisps. This burger was the literal mean-green-vegan version of the Hulk, and I’m sure it’s something that Mark Ruffalo himself would be more than happy to sink his teeth into. The hero of the dish? That apple and kiwifruit salsa. It added the perfect pop of freshness and tartness to the burger, complementing the richness of the patty, avocado and cheese.
Monsoon Poon – Son of Siam: Thai coconut-glazed tandoor fish with lettuce, lemongrass and coriander mayo, and lime-pickled cucumber in an Arobake bun, with spiced crisps. This burger was awesome. The spicy and rich fish fillet was enough to light a fire on your tongue, but that lemongrass mayo came to the rescue, and cut through that spice perfectly – making you want to go back for another bite, and another. The burger also came with some spiced crisps, which definitely weren’t the star of the plate, but were a nice addition.
Beach House and Kiosk – The Crusty Crab: Spicy soft-shell crab, pickled cucumber and seaweed salad, wild rocket, nam prik and furikake, with fries. THIS. THIS WAS IT. If I didn’t go to The Library and try their burger, this would have been my 2018 WOAP winner. Dockside tried to do a similar burger(which I also tried), but it wasn’t a patch on what Beach House served. Every single ingredient brought an element of freshness, spice, bitterness, sweetness, tartness, sourness to this burger, and to this day, it has still been the best savoury burger I’ve ever tasted.
WBC – Mao Khaang Burger: Thai fish cake with cucumber, chilli, mint, quick pickle, and nam jim mayo in a grilled milk bun, with sweet chilli fries. Now I froth a $3 fish cake from the supermarket, so when I heard Wholesale Boot Company was doing a fish cake burger, I knew I was in for a treat. The flavour of the fishcake was unlike any I had had before, and it really worked as a burger patty. However, the chips really took the cake. I don’t know what was in that sweet chilli seasoning, but I need more and I need it now. Best chips of the competition, hands down.
Mount Vic Chippery – Tuk Tuk Tarakihi: Prawn floss and kaffir lime-crumbed tarakihi with bean sprout, peanut and coconut salad, herbs and Sriracha mayo in a Pandoro squid-ink bun. For a place that specialises in Fish & Chips, I had high expectations for this burger – especially after reading its bougie summary. But as always, our much loved Chippery Chaps delivered a mean burger that kicks any other fish & chip shops ass. The Asian flavours and texture were an awesome match for the Tarakihi fillet, and that soft squid ink bun was definitely the best bun choice.
Leroy’s – The Ghost of Zorro: Pork chorizo patty with mango chutney, Kāpiti Smoked Havarti cheese, saffron aioli and rocket in a Zaida’s Bakery squid-ink bun, with dirty fries and gravy. This was the only meat burger I tried last year (as you know I’m mainly pescatarian), but to be honest, I reckon I broke my diet for a decent burger! Though there weren’t many elements in the burger, all the flavours still packed a punch and delivered a fire flavour combo. The mango matched the chorizos spice wonderfully, and the aioli acted as a tasty coolant against the sizzle.
Artisan – Kapiti Fish Fillet Burger: Panko crumbed smoked tuna in a soft milk bun with gribiche mayo and Kāpiti Aorangi Brie, with kūmara chips and beetroot ketchup. This was probably one of the most interesting burgers I tried, as it used ingredients and elements that I would’ve never paired together. The crunchy-fishy tuna patty packed a super strong aroma, which the gribiche mellowed down nicely with its creamy and rich eggy flavour. The chips I didn’t think matched the burger all that well, but on their own they were a tasty snack, and that beetroot ketchup was TO DIE FOR!
So that’s my summary of 2018, but let’s not dwell on the past. The 2019 WOAP schedule is out, and it is NOT playing. This year is going to bigger and better than ever, and with the split of festival dish and burger wellington, I am going to be one broke foodie. Stay tuned.