In New Zealand’s fiercest culinary competition – Chaat Street – a newcomer to Wellington’s restaurant scene beat 200 other burgers with an innovative vegetarian option that delivered carb on carb perfection.
Chaat Street’s winning burger ‘Dabeli’ took the title, featuring a crispy dabeli spiced potato patty with Fix & Fogg Smoke and Fire peanut butter, coriander, onions, crispy chickpea noodles and tamarind chutney in a masala butter brioche bun.
Visa Wellington On a Plate Festival Director, Sarah Meikle, says the beautifully spiced burger tantalised the taste buds of both Wellingtonians and the judges, and is the first vegetarian burger to take the title in over a decade. “We’re so pleased to see that Chaat Street, which once started as a Visa Wellington On a Plate Pop-up has not only opened as a restaurant in its own right, but won in their first year. Burger Wellington is so accessible and anyone can take part and have some fun along the way,. This year a Four Square convenience store ended up doing nearly four thousand burgers which is pretty impressive!”
Vaibhav Vishen of Chaat Street says, the inspiration for the burger was to bring genuine Indian flavours to New Zealand, which is the ethos behind Chaat Street, and it was great to see how people have responded. “It was a bit unexpected, people generally associate burgers with meat and I wasn’t expecting to win against traditional meat patties. My team put in extra hours and this means a lot to all of us.”
In good news for Burger fans, Chaat Street will be keeping the award-winning burger on the menu throughout September. This year hundreds of thousands of burger lovers visited more than 200 venues participating in Garage Project presents Burger Wellington during the VWOP festival. This annual celebration of the humble hamburger has spurred countless spreadsheets as devotees schedule how to rate and devour as many burgers as possible. “It’s not uncommon for venues to serve thousands of burgers during the festival,
since the start of Burger Wellington in 2010 more than 1.52 million burgers have made their way into the hands and mouths of burger fans,” says Meikle.
Each burger in the competition is matched with a Garage Project beer, and the craft brewery put down three limited edition festival brews each year that encourage Wellington’s eateries to think out of the box and create the perfect pairing. Jos Ruffell of Garage Project says, we love seeing the enthusiasm year after year for the perfect beer and burger match. Burgers are delicious and allow for innovation
and creativity, just like our beer. “I think Transit of Venus and Dabeli are a great match, and it appears a lot of other people think so too. Congratulations to Vaibhav and the Chaat Street team!”, he says.
This year beef burgers were the most popular protein put forward by participating venues with 80 entries, followed by chicken, then pork. There were nine vegetarian burgers on offer. Some of the more interesting flavour combinations in burger patties this year included Graze’s Pāua to the People which featured Pāua and Venison, Ombra’s Club Exotique which had wild tahr and pork, and Whistling Sisters’ Been There Done Bap which included a kidney and black chickpea patty.
Next year Visa Wellington On a Plate will be served up twice. The May edition will present Festival Events and pop-ups, Dine Wellington and Cocktail Wellington. The August edition will see the return of Burger Wellington and Beervana. “With the growing appetite for VWOP it makes sense to serve two bite-sized festival offerings for everyone to enjoy, and we’re already looking forward to what is shaping up to be a spectacular May programme,” says Meikle.
Finalists for Garage Project presents Burger Wellington:
- Chaat Street – Dabeli – winner
- Egmont St Eatery – Saigon Smash
- Fred’s – Pork, Apple & Crackle
- Huxley’s – Doors of Perception
- Thistle Inn – Au Poivre
Garage Project presents Burger Wellington ran from 12 – 31 August 2022.
Visa Wellington On a Plate is the biggest culinary festival in the southern hemisphere, and from 2023 will be held in both May and August. Festival goers can explore a curated programme of festival events, pop-ups, chef collaborations, dishes, cocktails and burgers. Now in its 14th year, VWOP is firmly established as a key event in the festival calendar for people across the Wellington region, and New Zealand.