A connoisseur tastes Wellington’s most expensive burger – gold leaf and all

Biting into the most expensive burger in the capital, food blogger Tim Yamat’s first sensation was of juice and fat dripping down his fingers and onto the wooden board below.

He had expected it to be a novelty – it’s not every day a $185 burger hits the market – but the gold leaf-topped burger turned out to be more than just a gimmick. It actually tasted pretty good.

“First bite, all the juices came out, it was so good, it was luxurious,” said Yamat, who was trying “Le Burger Bourgeoisie,” created by the Sofitel’s Jardin Grill, on the opening day of the Burger Wellington festival.

Yamat ate more than 50 burgers during last year’s burger extravaganza, part of yearly Wellington on a Plate food festival, including 11 in one day.

He had already eaten two in the morning before he sank his teeth into the gold-plated specimen. Stuff asked Yamat to give his professional opinion on this year’s most lavish offering.

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Jardin Grill began serving the Le Burger Bourgeoisie for $185 a pop on Friday.

Juan Zarama Perini

Jardin Grill began serving the Le Burger Bourgeoisie for $185 a pop on Friday.

“The burger had a variety of flavors that were nicely tied together. I wouldn’t say it’s the best burger, but it’s up there. It was decent,” was his verdict. He gave it a 6.5 rating. “Above average – my hands got messy,” he wrote on Instagram.

“Le Burger Bourgeoisie” is a Japanese Wagyu A5 beef patty with crayfish remoulade, free-range duck egg aioli, caviar, Kurobuta pork belly bacon, aged cheddar, kawakawa tea-infused cucumber and tomato, baby gem lettuce and whiskey barbecue sauce in a 24-carat gold-plated milk bun.

It has an eye-watering $185 price tag ($195 when paired with its humble Garage Project beer match).

A lot of trial and error has gone into these gold leaf-coated buns, which are baked fresh in-house.

Juan Zarama Perini/Stuff

A lot of trial and error has gone into these gold leaf-coated buns, which are baked fresh in-house.

“The only thing I didn’t like about this burger was that it was really wet,” Yamat said. Despite this, the bun held together well. “One thing I look for in a burger is how the bun holds itself,” he said.

The infused cucumber was the burger’s saving grace, Yamat said. The rest of it was quite fatty and rich – and you’d expect it to be, between the Wagyu beef and the duck eggs – and Yamat said it was nice to have something light and sharp to cut through it.

Wellington food blogger Tim Yamat tried the restaurant's first burger of the festival.

Juan Zarama Perini

Wellington food blogger Tim Yamat tried the restaurant’s first burger of the festival.

The decadent burger’s creator, Jardin’s executive chef Royxeenn Giam, said he had taken inspiration from expensive burgers around the world. There were similar offerings in the United States and The Netherlands, but these cost thousands of dollars.

Giam said he wanted to give people a “one-off experience” – a way to experience ingredients they couldn’t find at the supermarket. They had received a lot of backlash online, with people criticizing the restaurant for offering such an expensive item as the cost of food rose around them.

The burger contains a Japanese Wagyu A5 beef patty with crayfish remoulade, among other sumptuous ingredients.

Juan Zarama Perini/Stuff

The burger contains a Japanese Wagyu A5 beef patty with crayfish remoulade, among other sumptuous ingredients.

Giam wasn’t bothered, he said. Nobody was forcing the haters to eat it, and they’d had 50 bookings for the burger already. One man was flying from Christchurch to buy two – one for himself, and one to take back for his wife, who couldn’t accompany him.

Burger Wellington is a festival in which restaurants, and lately even a Four Square supermarket, create limited-time meals, burgers and cocktails.

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