A three out of five burger

Ali Baa-Baa burger

In Wellington at the moment there’s a food festival running called Wellington on a Plate, where some genius has encouraged restaurants and cafes to create a burger on their menu for the duration. There’s over 30 Burger Wellington’s and being community-minded workers of  our capital city, Tom and I thought we’d partake.

We did Duke Carvell’s Ali Baa Baa Burger on Tuesday.

Duke Carvell’s, on Swan Lane is where the cool kids hang out. If there wasn’t a car parking building in the way, the place would literally be a stones throw from my workplace but I rarely go in because I find it intimidating. The entrance is closed up and when people do occasionally hang out the front they seem like school’s cool kids – smoking and drinking and looking far too nonchalant.

Tom and I arrived a Duke Carvell’s at 12noon – there were two other people in the restaurant. We sat, had our orders taken and then waited. Meanwhile the staff pinned new menus to a noticeboard in the middle of the eating area, two new people arrived (about ten minutes in) that were obviously known to the staff and general chit-chat and milling ensued. The new people were welcomed warmly and their serviettes and cutlery were laid beside them – ours came in a stainless steel container. I’ve had the stainless steel container before and it’s cute – but when someone else is getting the first class service, it made me feel second rate.

I began to feel, with the noticeboard maintenance and other goings on, that I was in a family home – and not in a good way. But in a way where you’ve come to visit and the family is too busy to stop and say hello and you feel rather uncomfortable and wish you hadn’t arrived. I’m not a service-psycho but if I’m paying for something then I like good service – service that is friendly but not over familiar, welcoming but not cheesy and attentive but not over-bearing.

Tom had a train to catch, which meant he had to leave at 12.40pm. Given there were only two other people in the place when we arrived and there was 40 minutes to make and eat two burgers, we didn’t mention it. We waited and waited and waited and the anxiety levels continued to increase. Around 12.30 we asked about the order – it was a minute away. Our burgers arrived at the same time as the table next to us – it seemed that the kitchen held ours back to do the two table orders together.

The burger was fine. The ketchup was super tasty. I liked the bun, the shredded lamb was a pleasant unexpected surprise – much better than the average pressed patty – and the spreads filling the burger were tasty. Just not super tasty. Although, by this time the lunch was something to be done before Tom caught the train, rather than the middle of the day treat it was supposed to be. He had to leave halfway through me finishing my burger so I was left dateless.

Experience-wise I’d rate this visit as a 1.5/5. Burgerwise I’m going 3/5

The burger could be hugely improved with a good seasoning, a glass of good, crisp white wine (may a Greenhoughs Apple Valley Reisling) and the time to relax and enjoy it.

The experience would have been greatly improved with better service.

If you want to eat a Burger Wellington then here’s the full list. Also, here’s The Wellingtonista’s review of another Burger Wellington.  And here is Burger She Wrote, a blog by one woman eating every burger on the menu.


2 Responses to A three out of five burger

  1. Tony says:

    At $15 I would expect more than a 3 out of 5 burger. Next time you are in Dunedin try Velvet Burger in Stuart Street just down from the Octagon.

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