This year, Wellington on a Plate’s Burger Wellington event had a whopping 63 restaurants participating, yep, that’s 63 separate burgers. I kept meaning to make a Top 5 list beforehand, but every time I looked through the Wellington on a Plate programme I got a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices out there, so.
I still hadn’t made up my mind on the first Monday of Wellington on a Plate when I went to the Pecha Kucha: Imbibe event put on by the good people at the City Market (a riotously entertaining, informative and all-around good-time event, and a really good use of $10, by the way).
And at Pecha Kucha, one of the speakers was Rex Morgan, head chef and part owner of Boulcott Street Bistro and someone I generally admire. He talked about his life and career so far, and at one point he mentioned – so quickly you’d have missed it if you blinked – “this” (pointing to a dimly lit photo of what looked like a burger) “is our T-Rex burger for Burger Wellington this year, and it comes served on a bone” – and on he went to talk about work he’s done in New Zealand and internationally, people he’s met, and so on.
But afterward, I was still fixated on the idea of this T-Rex burger. By the next day, I had made up my mind that if I was going to try one burger during Wellington on a Plate, it would be this one.
My friend Riki made the booking. And this is how she said the phone call went:
R: Hi, I’d like to make a booking for lunch tomorrow, for the burger?
B: Yes, okay, oh I’m really excited for you, you’re going to love it.
R: I’m really excited too.
B: You’re going to feel like a T-Rex eating it. You’re going to go “rarghh”
B: And you won’t really be able to use your hands, because T-Rexes have such small little arms.
R: I’m going to have to stick my face in it.
R: I’m really excited now.
B: I’m really excited for you too.
…and so on. So, anticipation was building. Expectations were high. And the next day, we sat down to a crisp white tablecloth, crystal-clear wineglasses, gleaming silverware, and – a burger on a big slab of bone, skewered with another slab of bone.
Aside from the presentation itself, which was fantastic, the burger was one of the most delicious things I’ve eaten in the past two weeks – a medium-rare, char-grilled patty topped with falling-apart tender barbecued short rib between halves of a flawless bun, with beetroot relish and a crunchy horseradish-celery salad an added highlight.
Accompanying the burger were thick-cut fries and a smoky tomato sauce (served in a hollowed-out bone). They were fine, though I was really too distracted by the burger to pay much attention to the fries.
The very best part of this lunch, though, might have been getting our hands and faces all messy with burger while fancy-looking suits around us daintily clinked their glasses and tucked into their fancy meals. Did I feel like a T-Rex? Maybe. Did I let out a roar of delight? Probably. Do I hope Boulcott Street Bistro will bring back the burger from time to time (and let me know beforehand)? Definitely.
Boulcott Street Bistro99 Boulcott St
(04) 419 4199
Visa Wellington on a Plate ran from 10-26 August 2012.