Food trucks and pop-up restaurants have been transforming Auckland’s dining landscape over the last few years, gracing us with innovative, inventive and affordable food. But sometimes you don’t want to have to wait for the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month to eat your new favourite food, so happy news it was to hear that Tiger Burger had found a permanent home in the suburb of Grey Lynn.
The new home of Tiger Burger is a clean and minimalistic space, their white walls adorned with quirky illustrations of Oriental rabbits and their spirit animal, the tiger. Six girlfriends and I swooped in on Grey Lynn on a cold Wednesday night in the hopes of sampling Tiger Burger in a less outdoorsy setting. However, even at the early hour of 6.30pm we were too big a party to fit ourselves around a table inside. Luckily there’s a long high table out front under heat lamp that would be agreeable to most parties, provided there’s no breeze and you come dressed in a puffer without bare ankles.
The menu is small in a good way. There are four burger options to choose from, a beef, pork, chicken and vego option. The Kimcheese ($13), a grilled beef burger with sautéed kimchi, aged cheddar and chilli mayo was the obvious choice for me, being somewhat of a burger puritan. The chicken option (The Gang-Jeong, $13) featured double-fried chicken thigh whilst the pork option (The Bossam, $14) came with a massive slab of pork-belly that protruded out from the bun in all directions.
To accompany our host of burgers, we ordered a selection of fries with sesame mayo, the Kimcheese fries (fries loaded with kimchi, aged cheddar, crème sauce and kimchi ketchup) and a few rounds of the Seoulful bites (Korean fried chicken with yang nyum sauce and honey garlic mayo). The Seoulful bites were a real winner; hot and crispy fried chicken without an ounce of greasiness, served with a traditional Korean dipping sauce that was warm and punchy.
Their fries were of a similarly high standard, although I must gripe that when cheese makes an appearance on such dishes, it really should arrive all molten and gooey; theirs unfortunately came intact and grated, a cold reminder that the cheese had probably come straight out of the fridge.
The same thing happened in my Kimcheese burger. Everything was perfect: the bun had just the right texture, the beef pattie was medium-rare, hot and juicy, and the sautéed kimchee delivered a nice, warm bite. But the slice of aged cheddar inside was doing that awkward thing cheese does when it’s subjected to something warm, but not hot enough to melt it (I call it ‘cheese sweat’).
The fusion of East meets West in fast food is still a novel one here, and the best of both worlds was generally well executed at Tiger Burger. However I’m not such a fan of the sesame mayonnaise that accompanied some of the dishes. I get it, it ain’t Korean unless it has sesame oil in it, but the flavour rather overpowered the fries and chicken that was dunked in it.
If you like a bit of spice, if you like a bit of Korean, and if you’re hungry for a burger but a bit bored of the conventional, do try Tiger Burger.