The rise of the gourmet burger joint has been a happy one. Aucklanders now have more options available to them than they can shake a peanut butter thick shake at. Some burgeries focus on simplicity done well whilst others offer all the bells and whistles and then some. So where does Corner Burger fit into all this, in what may be a near saturated burger market?
Last Saturday evening, my friend Steph and I went to find out. Corner Burger can be found in two locations currently; one at Greenwoods Corner in Epsom and the other on the literal corner of Mt Eden and Valley Roads. As I walked to this corner which shares its outdoor space with old faithful Eden Kebab Stop, I wondered where the next Corner Burger store would pop up next. What happens if no corner real estate was to be found? Would they have to rebrand that store to Middle of the Road Burger? Central Burger? These thoughts were quickly replaced by my surprise at how full Corner Burger was at six thirty on a Saturday evening; all seats in the house were taken. Luckily a high table to perch on vacated just as Steph and I were trying to weigh up our hanger (that is, hungry anger) versus the fact that Steph did not bring a coat and therefore could not sit outside.
Mt Eden Corner Burger evokes a feel of old-world glamour from a bygone era with it’s tropical palms, dark green façade and plush vinyl (or leather, I’m not here to judge) booths. The menu is an easy read of classic burger options ($12) and Corner Icons, burgers with that bit extra ($15-$20). There is the option of making your burger bun gluten-free and for people who feel the need to mess with a good thing, the option of a ‘bunnuce’ or naked burger (read: meat salad) is open to you as well. Few extras are needed to complete the holy burger trinity, but there’s hand cut agria and kumara fries (topped or not with gravy, pulled pork or beef brisket), fried chicken, slaw and pickles at your disposal.
I opted for the Corner Classic ($12), which constitutes a beef patty with cheddar, iceberg lettuce, tomato, caramelised Balsamic onions, special sauce, mustard aioli and ketchup. Steph went for the Lamb Classic ($12) of a Moroccan spiced lamb patty with minted coriander pea salsa, feta, tomato, red onion, iceberg lettuce, minted yoghurt sauce, special sauce and ketchup. On advice from our waitress we ordered a half scoop of hand-cut agria fries to share ($3.50).
I did not manage to muster a bite of Steph’s Lamb Classic, but she did exclaim several times over ‘This is so goood’ between bites. I think it must be good. As for me, I think I’ve found my new favourite burger joint. The patty on my Corner Classic was tasty, perfectly seasoned and meaty; it didn’t leave me feeling ill and full of regret. Ditto for the fries.
The burger was in fact, enormous (as was the half scoop of fries), had a lovely charred crust to the patty and was covered in gorgeously melted plastic cheese. McDonald’s built the empire you see today with its winning formula of plastic cheese and special sauce; who am I to turn my nose up at it? Sometimes you want to be reminded that you’re eating fast food. If it weren’t for the dire lack of salt on our greaseless crispy beauties, our fries would have been perfect. They had their skins left intact which added to the ultimate fry eating experience, and when time eventually turned our hot crispy fries cool, to our amazement and delight they were still crispy. What is this sorcery?
I don’t need to carry on much more, the proof is in the patty. Corner Burger is great and good.