I’d actually been on a burger date with Heath before. When I was about 20, and was quite new to Wellington, and was in the throes of being a booze-hag student. It lead to nothing, but we’ve kept in touch and have both come a long long way since then. He’s now running his own web-development company Club Soda, and after he wooed me with his beautifully labelled and rather tasty home brew at Havana bar first, we ate pork belly burgers at Duke Carvell’s for Thursday night’s date number eight.
The burger was decidedly average [in that I’d eaten a few beautiful meals at Duke’s before, and I really like it there. I had high hopes, and even though I am not a pork lover, I was enticed by the sound of Honey-crumbed pork belly and smoked ham hock torchon, with red cabbage sauerkraut, gruyere, and mustard mayonaise, on a Pandoro turkish bun. It could only be described as intense. I have eaten pork belly before, and once it was beautiful but usually I just find it fatty tasting. This was a combination of flavours that I think would work as a meal, but didn’t quite seamlessly translate into burger territory. I kind of got a film of fat around my mouth which was gross, and when the fries are a welcome reprieve from the fattiness of the burger I think we have problems. The sauerkraut was a good move, but with such a sizeable patty there wasn’t quite enough. The Emersons pilsner on tap was a really really good cut-through, as was the well-recommended Alpha Domus Syrah. The bun was quite heavy, and we both couldn’t finish the meal - but THE AIOLI WAS MINDBLOWING.]
The date was awesome [in that there was the home-brew move, which was very impressive, and we were able to laugh at both the couple next to us holding hands across the table when we sat down and at the couple pashing behind us. He told a very funny story about the one proper date he’d ever been on, in second year at university where he kindof got really into Irish culture and took this poor girl to a Lord of the Dance type show. Irish dancing. Amazing. I was shocked but also in awe, and it caused copious amounts of out-loud laughter. We talked dating, and the lack of a dating culture in New Zealand, and kind of settled on the fact that despite any good intentions, inevitably people will just get drunk and hook up. We talked music, and beer, and it was explained that chivalry doesn’t really have a place anymore, because the whole point “back then” was that woman and men were nowhere near equal, as they are now. We decided we should try and establish a culture of dating in New Zealand where you just use the trusty rock-paper-scissors for first date who-pays conundrums. The first-date rock-off, what an idea. We went to another bar, had gins and frangelicos, and then our mutual friends who arrived for the weekend gatecrashed. I had Friday off from work, got home at 4am, and tripped over (face-planted) on Cuba St. Classy night.]
The vital stats:
I asked Heath to rate this one - 6/10 for the burger and 10/10 for the date, simply because any date was better than sitting through an awkward tribute show of Riverdance, or something similar featuring men in tights and Irish jigs. 10 might have been a bit high, but it was probably the frangelico, gin, Pilsner, Syrah and agavero shots talking.
Thanks to Duke’s for hosting date #8; the drinks recommendations were spot on and the service was exceptional.