Saturday, 7 November 2015

New Zealand - Fergburger: legendary burgers?

While we were skiing the wonderful mountains in Wanaka, New Zealand, we'd been hearing of a near mythical place to eat up the road in Queenstown.  I'd pretty much had every day planned for food, but after hearing about a little place called Fergburger, I had to satisfy my burger craving and get along to check it out.

I was told to expect long queue wait times.  I was told that the place was open for twenty two hours a day, just to cater to all the ski freaks and ski bunnies.  I was told all sorts of stuff, but mainly, I was told that Fergburger pumped out the best hamburgers that most people had ever eaten!  I love burgers and I like to think I know a little bit about them too, so I was keen to see if I shared that popular opinion.

Fergburger stared as a little hole in the wall burger joint around 2001 in well known Cow Lane, where there were not too many casual food options after a hard day on the ski fields.  As it's popularity grew, Fergburger outgrew its little spot, but it wasn't until the threat of its original home being torn down that a move was initiated.  

It was to this remodelled burger joint that we rocked up for a sampling of the Fergburger burger. Looking very much at home in a ski village, Fergburger stood out with its exposed wood and slate floors.  We didn't see the expected queues, but we'd timed our run to perfection, hitting the joint at 3pm, too late for lunch and too early for dinner.  Even though there were no long queues, it was still really busy, with most of the seats taken and about 6 people in the line before us.  SC grabbed one of the only seats left while I jumped in line to wait.

There was a decent number of burgers to choose from the menu, around seventeen in all, ranging from standard beef burgers, to fish burgers and chicken burgers.  My task was simple, we both wanted to grab the simple Fergburger, after all, if the burger was named after the joint, it had to be the best! Orders taken, we perched on our stools and watched the hive of activity as more and more people rocked up for their afternoon burger hit.

After what seemed like an age, our number was called out and I went up to grab our burgers and the side of fries that I'd also snuck into the order.  The fries were served in a brown cardboard cup with the ubiquitous bearded man that was clearly the face of Fergburger.  The fries were great, cooked with the skin still on, nice and crispy and with the right amount of seasoning, they were an encouraging start to our meal.

Following on with the rustic feel, our burgers were given to us in a couple of massive brown paper bags with that bearded face featuring prominently.  There was a reason why the paper bags were massive....  As we ripped open the packaging, we saw that the burgers were simply huge! Probably the biggest burger I'd ever seen and to be honest, I was a little taken aback!

I'll start off with the good.  The buns were delightful, not too sweet and lightly toasted, and the ingredients were high quality.  The butter lettuce was fresh, as was the tomato and both were in abundance.  Where things started to fall a little flat for me was the meat patty.  As is often the case with big bun burgers, the meat patty was really really thin, to make sure that there was coverage across the whole burger.  Because the patty was so thin, the ratio of bun to salad to patty was all wrong and therefore the meat was lost.

I actually liked the flavour of the burger, the aioli and tomato relish that came with the burger was tasty, although it could have had a little more zing.  What I'd love to have seen was a thicker meat patty, along with a slightly smaller bun, which would definitely have helped with the balance. Alternatively, if I was to go back, I'd ask for two, or even three meat patties in the burger - although with their already massive size, I'd have had to cut it in half to share!

In the absence of any really competitive burgers, I can see why Fergburger was so popular but I can't help but think that if there was any really competitive burger joints nearby, then Fergburger might suffer a little.  While the super queues didn't appear on the day we went for a burger, we'd walked by on a couple of other nights at dinner time and saw ridiculously long queues.

I guess when you've got such a vibe happening and queues out the door, you're doing something right.  Good burgers but far from the best I've had.

Huge burgers but where's the beef?  The patties were too thin!
It was a two hand job for the Fergburger - lots of salad but it needed more beef
There were a lot of burger options!  And that bearded man was everywhere! 
We picked a great day and time to go, it was pretty quiet
Compared to how it was the next day at dinner time!

Fergburger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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