My second burger adventure in Auckland. The recommendation came from a website claiming a definitive list of the best burgers here. There was some pressure with this pick. I was at a trade show, where I was talking up my burger knowledge with a fellow exhibitor. Best way to get a burger eating companion when travelling OS alone. We headed out with much anticipation.
He – like many others – doesn’t see the point in travelling far and wide for a burger, or any kind of good food. Something about my burger passion must have sparked his curiosity though, as he eagerly followed my lead.
St Heliers Cafe is in a beautiful Auckland location, overlooking the bay. It provided plenty of natural drama, with the sun setting over the bay, glowing against the sails of the boats enjoying the evening on the water. A comfortable and casual environment wins the day here. Cafe windows welcomed the balmy Autumn air into the dining area. The liberal use of wood echoes the buzz of the crowd, adding to the casual feel. A beautiful kitchen bar overlooks the entire area, with the skills of the kitchen on show for all to see.
The burger almost seems out of place on this menu – it’s a commoner surrounded by fancy. But then, this burger is a little bit fancy itself. A deliciously soft, buttery bun with a onion jam/puree that was packed full of umami. The patty itself was a good one. Nothing amazing, but a nice meaty flavour all the same. The cheese struggled to stand out in this flavour profile. A little disappointing for a “cheeseburger,” but there is a lot going on here. The salad inside was simple, yet a little too fancy for a burger at the same time.
Loved this place. Had a great feel, in a great location, and the burger was a tasty little number. But, in the end I would return here to try the other dishes on the menu. There is clearly some talent in the kitchen. And I’m the last person to say that talent shouldn’t be used to create a great burger. But, this particular talent seemed to want to take the burger to a place it doesn’t really need to go. Let’s keep the burger a straightforward number. We don’t need fussy burgers.