We’re two weeks into what is arguably Wellington’s best event of the year: Wellington On A Plate (WOAP).
It’s a month-long event and competition highlighting the best and most-badass food and drink in the city. During the first two weeks, chefs of the bustling restaurants of Wellington put their best feet forward, crafting a ‘festival dish’. It’s their chance to show off their creative talents, love and knowledge of food to their eagerly awaiting punters.
Whilst the first two weeks are more of a take-your-parents-for-a-sit-down-meal, the final two weeks are dedicated to the humble ol’ burger. Garage Project are on board with this and have expertly paired a Garage Project beer to match each burger (at those with a liquor license). To ensure you stay hydrated throughout all the madness, alongside the food, WOAP ingeniously runs a cocktail competition all month long. It’s your chance to drink some of the best and most impressive cocktails in the city. There are 90 cocktails on offer from some of the coolest bars and restaurants, so gather the squad and get sippin’. With the number of bars and eateries in and around the city, the event has become a yearly highlight for many foodies in Wellington, and with restaurants all aiming for the top spot, they’re stepping up and bringing out the big guns to fit in with this year’s theme: Feast your senses.
To save you looking through the 232-strong list of burgers, we’ve compiled the top five standouts to try first. But please, go and check the list anyway, it’s a thing of beauty.
Good Boy Sammies
Up first is Good Boy Sammies. They serve fresh sandwiches from a hole-in-the-wall in Newtown, change their offering daily and always have a vegan option. If you follow them on Instagram, you’ll know the boys at Good Boy Sammies are pretty weird and really wonderful and their burgers are no different. Their burger offering comprises a beef patty with black chilli, plum barbeque sauce, parsnip tempura, shichimi togarashi, candied bacon and wakame mayo on a fougasse bun, with kelp salt pickled cucumber.
Pico’s up next. Their regular menu has all your good bases covered—platters, wood-fired pizzas, tapas for days… For the burger comp, they’ve decided to fancy up a classic and honestly, you should be excited. There’s wagyu, there’s truffled jam and the fries are triple cooked. Not double, triple. Annnd, it's all topped with a smoked cheddar fondue.
Shout out to the vegans in the house, this one’s for you, and it’s at Aro Cafe. Vegan. Jerk. Chicken. Say no more. If it’s anything like the rest of the impressive treats they whip up this one’s gonna be a goodie. It’s nestled in Aro Valley and gets BUSY, so get it quick! Whilst you’re in that neck of the woods, grab a beer from the Garage Projects Taproom.
There’s probably only one thing cooler than a regular burger…A flaming burger. Maybe it’s the novelty of having your meal on fire in front of you but let me tell you, Monsoon Poon's onto something good here…Let your inner
pyromaniac out, it’s a no brainer! Expect chilli crumbed free-range chicken with dynamite mayo, cucumber yoghurt foam, pickled onion and shredded iceberg lettuce in an Arobake bun, with spiced potato crisps. And a very happy tum.
Take a bite on the boujee side at Salty Pidgin. $28 for a burger may seem a lot, but check that list of ingredients! The great thing about WOAP are the trials and experimentations that go on. Salty Pidgin are no stranger to this as seen with the burgers star ingredient: Muttonbird. But in a burger? Big Yes.
So what are you waiting for? Unbuckle the belt, pop the top button and eat your way around Wellington. Alternatively, stick to elastic waistbands for the next two weeks.
What: Visa Wellington On A Plate
When: 1-31 August
Where: All around Wellington
Image Credit: Monsoon Poon