The past year has seen a resurrection of the humble burger. With lineage preceding the American gold (read: fast food) rush of the 1950s, the food was destined to become the fodder of Happy Meals, tired restaurant menus, and a mate to soggy chips. 2014 changed all that. The potential between two buns was realised; the trend towards artisan fast food reached a tipping point. All of a sudden, the burger had matured into a legitimate meal option for grown-ups once again.
We’ve loved burgers for a long time at the What’s Good office. They’re the crux of most editorial meetings, the essential ingredient of most long nights at the office.
Given that one of our favourite local haunts is Britomart Country Club, it was only fate that when we threw around the idea of making our own burger, it happened to be within BCC’s four walls. Soon enough, we were in talks with the Head Chef, and spending afternoons eating different combinations of ingredients.
We started at the basics. We thought, what would we want in this burger? This involved a focus on selections of meats, vege options and what would serve as the main attraction for the burger - the patty. We started simple, choosing between lamb, beef, chicken, and pork. Lamb was simple - chuck in an egg, some beetroot, cos lettuce and tomato and you’ve got your classic kiwi fare. We figured this was too “Kiwiburger-ish” (see: McDonalds). Next up was beef. Everyone's favourite; every man and his dog has tried a beef burger - after all, it's the original hamburger. In that sense, we found it was over done. Because it is the original, everyone has done it, and you can’t do anything too special with it as the flavours are so generic, given the basics elementary choices of cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickle. This led us to shredded meats, pulled pork in lieu of Al Brown’s genius slider incarnation of 2012. But it was simply messy, and we wanted something easy to eat, satisfying, not a code-red high level risk of ruining your clean white Vans.
Then, one day, we finally tasted the one. The one that caught our taste buds off-guard. It was so obvious, yet until that point, we'd managed to overlook it completely. After a few brews we spun a few yarns about the best times we had in our childhood summers, and they all involved a hearty dose of fush and chups wrapped in the good ol’ Sunday Star Times - the days where the only time you read the paper was from under your chips. The Fish n’ Chips burger was born. We stuck to the idea of Beer Battered Fish, like the stuff you buy at the local fish pot cafe, but all agreed the best fish batter was crispy, and crunchy to the bite. We all threw around ideas of pickles and lemon aioli, until we settled on the best ingredients sourced locally. We're using Pukekohe cos lettuce, fresh vine tomatoes, and a stunning homemade kelp aioli. Yeah, like the seaweed; it adds that saltiness we all crave. Sesame seed buns are soft, and encase the masterpiece. This isn't just a burger, this is a memory, fond nostalgia from summers passed - in the form of food.
Each tasting inevitably involved a few brews, and some side-dishes to complement each of the masterwork burgers being pumped out of the kitchen. It didn’t take long to put two and two together, realising not only had we stumbled upon a great burger, but a proper meal. In line with the kiwi summer appeal, we went for kumara Fries, the sweetest, brightest kumara fries you’ve ever had, matched with a healthy dose of garlic aioli to match. Paired with a Monteith's beer or cider, we feel we've made the whole package.
This weekend, along with our friends Britomart Country Club and Monteith’s, we’re releasing this beauty into the wild. Come dine with us.