Having work, study, and, in Mrs P’s case, jury duty, can seriously get in the way of good kitchen time. All the better then to excuse us to eat out. I’ve been quietly keen to try Velvet Burger for quite some time. I spent a lot of after school job money on Burger Fuel when they opened their first store in Ponsonby, I also dropped a fair bit of my adult salary on Murder Burger before they sadly faded away. Let me digress for a moment to tell you Murder Burger was one of the funniest burger joints to ever fail. They would have cool things at their shop like analog blogs, which would be little post card size jokes or memes. Out of all my frequent burger joints, they had the best advertising, and their blog is still good for a couple of laughs.
So a burger joint rising up from the Highlands of the South Island to have a go on Auckland’s turf was a compelling proposition. Looking over the menu caused the eyes to widen and my usually decisive brain to become an added muddle, not helped by the neat little range of beers on offer. In the end the idea of venison with portobello mushrooms and blue cheese pulled my hunger into its sharpest focus, while Mrs P had been hankering for a burger with avocado, which saw her opt for the Velvet Lady. We also got some wedges and some hashies.
Our impression of the hashies and wedges was that they were exceptionally well cooked, but nothing we couldn’t get from the frozen section of a supermarket, or a less expensive pub.
That same sense of mass produced disappointment greeted Mrs P when she lifted up the bun on her burger, hoping to feast her eyes on some nice slices of avocado. What she got was this:
Not really what one hopes for in the avocado department when paying $9.90. Mrs P remarked ruefully that the burger didn’t satisfy her any more than a Wendy’s chicken and avocado burger she’d tried a few days earlier.
My burger was a much happier affair, although not for what I thought was the central selling point. The mushrooms, cheese and plum sauce were doing their job so well that the venison faded into the background. It was like I’d started dating someone, only to discover that I’m only sticking with them because I enjoy hanging out with their friends so much.
Also, consider the price. $53.60 got us two burgers, a couple of sides, a beer and juice (oh and side sauces, which they charge $1.50 each for). However, just a short drive up the road is The Food Truck garage. There we got a burger, chicken and vege wrap, crepes, baked chips, a beer, a homemade cola and a homemade lemonade ($5 for homemade versus $4.50 for Keri Orange at Velvet Burger). How much for all that? $60. So, if you’re on your way into town and thinking about somewhere to go for a good burger, I’d definitely recommend going to The Food Truck garage for both your taste buds and your health (and your wallet, especially if you add in parking, which is far more mercenary around Fort Street. However, if you’re already at the bottom of town, Velvet Burger might hit the spot for you if you’re prepared to pay a premium and maybe stick to the beef and venison over the chicken.