Sometimes what a person really, really wants is a really, really good burger. Not from a chain outlet but from a specialist maker.I asked our colleague May-Lee Wong for her recommendation, and she said to head to Fort Street to Velvet Burger.Fort Street is going through a transformation both business-wise and in its street décor, so if you haven’t been there for a while you are in for a pleasant surprise.Velvet Burger is located in an older heritage building, and it has a sort of warehouse vibe. Think old varnished timber floors, wooden tables and counters, bar stools and hanging lights.The only downside of being located in a heritage building is that they were not allowed to take out the original stairs and build a ramp or other wheelchair access, for which a staff member apologized.
Velvet Burger is pitched to the office worker/backpacker/social drinking crowd but it works for a family too. It started in Dunedin (home of student pub drinking) and it has brought its sense of fun along with it to Auckland, using Captain Cook and his discoveries of New Zealand as its theme.
More importantly, it has brought the makings of a good burger along too. The menu features both “regular” and “mini” burgers in variations of beef, venison, lamb, chicken and vegetarian $8.90-$16). Extras are available to customize your burger (1-$4).
You can up your carbohydrate intake with your choice of wedges, kumara chips, hash browns and either fat or skinny chips ($2.90-$7.50). All great for soaking up beer and wine!
Velvet Burger is licensed and has beer, wine and even cider on the menu as well as “not beers” (ie soft drinks, juices and coffee).
The lunchtime that I visited I ordered their lunch special of a regular burger and soft drink for only $10. I thought I would try something different so ordered the lamb burger. I also ordered a mini vegetarian burger ($8.90 – purely for research!). You can dine in or take out, but I liked the atmosphere so I sat at the counter and watched through to the kitchen. The staff were working in an orderly fashion, grilling burgers and lining up the buns and various toppings.I loved my burger – the large bun was soft and fresh, and the lamb burger perfectly cooked and juicy. It was topped with lettuce, tomato, minty yogurt sauce and relish. I scoffed the whole thing! I took the vegetarian burger home and can report that the kumara and coriander pattie was very tasty, and it was also topped with lettuce, tomato, yogurt sauce, aioli and relish.
If you work in the CBD or are in town for some fun, Velvet Burger is a good choice to get your burger “fix”. And by good fortune it is located next to a Revive vegetarian restaurant, so you have all your bases covered!