When you hear somebody mention Nelson, you generally think of long golden beaches, beautiful sunny weather, and marvellous mountain walks – but you don’t really think of its food do you? Well, think again, because of the past few years Nelson has been carefully crafting its hospitality scene so it can compete with the likes of Auckland and Wellington for being known for New Zealand’s best bars, cafes and restaurants.
Within the last 3 years, old restaurants have been given a lick of new paint and devised menus inspired from Michelin eateries around the world – but it’s the new places that are really something else. From American style food to vegan takes on everybody’s favourite dish – Nelson’s food scenes got everything going on. But I think the whole city can agree with me when I say the best place that’s graced the streets on Nelson is Burger Culture. Now, this place ain’t any old burger shop. Oh no. Think of the best burger you’ve had in your life, then think about a chicken version of it, or a lamb, or fish, or chickpea or jackfruit…basically, what I’m trying to say here, is that these guys know no burger boundaries. Every single burger they’ve got on their menu has been carefully crafted with local ingredients that when combined together creates nothing less than the perfect burger.
When it comes to burgers, I like them bougie. I’m not gonna go around spending good money on something I can cook up at home – I want to be eating a bun-hugging combo of flavours that I’d never even think of putting together. That, my friends, is the only negative about Burger Culture. That being they have too many god-damn delectable burgers on their menu that it makes it impossible to choose. As a vegetarian you might think it’s easier because there are only a few veggie burgers – but think again, as these guys have your beef-cravings covered with beyond patty substitutes. So, when 4 of us were trying to place an order – you bet it took a good 15 minutes before we were happy with our choices (though food envy was still on the horizon).
I ended up going for their tofu-fighters burger, a sky-high stack of deep-fried tofu, cucumber slaw, roasted peanuts and chilli soy sauce. To say this burger was delicious would do it injustice. Honestly, this burger alone would convert the meatiest of carnivores to a plant-based diet. The tofu was PACKED with flavour, and that crisp gave it the perfect texture to harmonise with the juicy fresh slaw & sticky sweet sauce. I love satay – and those roasted peanuts gave the flavour profile a pop of nuttiness that just took every mouthful to another level of pure burger heaven. I also had a bite of their jalapenō beef burger (with a beyond patty of course) and heck it had me guessing whether I was eating real beef or not – and once my patty-awe had faded, I was now in awe of the Mexican flavours that were dancing a salsa on my tongue.
Phew, that was a lot of burger talk. But heck, when you taste burgers that good – all you can do is rave about them. And let’s be honest, it’s probably better that I jabbered on in a blog post rather than pester you all in person about how dang good these burgers are. Living in Wellington, NZ, I’ve been to a lot of burger bars, but I cannot say that any of the places I’ve been to in Wellington have been as good as Burger Culture is in little ol’ Nelson. The chefs here treat the menu like it’s Wellington on a Plate every single day and do their best to serve up locals & travelers Nelson-grown ingredients in interesting and unusual ways – but always between a bun of course!
If I’ve made you hungry, or you’re wanting to drool a little more, check out their menu online here!