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Burger Wellington: Goan Chicken Ros Pao takes top prize

An Indian street food-inspired burger has taken out first prize at the Burger Wellington awards.

After a week of judging, it was decided One80 Restaurant's winning Goan Chicken Ros Pao burger was a "real flavour journey".

The burger was packed with a richly spiced chicken curry and a Ros omelette inside a unique Poee-style bread bun.

Executive chef Chetan Pangam took inspiration from his hometown of Goa and the street food there he loves.

Pangam told RNZ he was over the moon with the result.

"I'm still struggling to find the words. It's been an amazing journey."

He said crowds of people turned out to try his entry, but things really blew up after One80 was announced as a finalist.

"The Monday - it just went, as you'd say, nuts. In that first half-hour after the announcement, we had well over 50 phone calls and emails. Our team did an amazing job and everyone stepped up".

As for whether Goan Chicken Ros Pao would stay on the menu at One80, Pangam said that was a definite.

"For sure we will. We need a break for a few days, but we are going to celebrate this to the max."

One80 Restaurant executive chef Chetan Pangam.

One80 Restaurant executive chef Chetan Pangam. Photo: Wellington On a Plate / Supplied

Wellington on a Plate festival director Sarah Meikle said it had been fantastic to see Wellingtonians eating out and supporting local venues.

"The One80 Restaurant burger brought together the fragrant herbs and spices of India. It's an absolute pleasure to see chef Chetan and the team take the title."

There were more than 200 entries into the Burger Wellington festival this year. Burger fans across the city tested them out throughout August, and their 11,500 online ratings helped determine the five finalists.

Head of programming Beth Brash said there were plenty of great-quality burgers with a range of flavours and concepts, including chocolate 'patties' and Yorkshire pudding 'buns'.

Elixir's The Phial Of Eären-Dill won best use of theme

Elixir's The Phial Of Eären-Dill won best use of theme. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

This year's theme for Burger Wellington was 'breaking the mould', and the award for best use of theme went to a cocktail named The Phail Of Eären-Dill.

Elixir cocktail bar wanted to break the mould by putting up a burger-flavoured drink as their entry into the festival this year.

Co-owners Alex Grumball and Alexia Kealey were inspired by an American Pickleback in designing their burger cocktail.

"It's a bourbon infused with the elements of a cheeseburger, so you have beef, bacon, gruyere cheese, brioche and shallots," Kealey said. "Then we took Garage Project's pickle beer, decarbonated it and added it to house made spices and pickles. We finished the drink with a mustard spray over the top."

Grumball said they wanted it to be a palate cleanser for people testing out all the burgers on offer in the festival.

Myrtle's Belly and Jelly won most innovative

Myrtle's Belly and Jelly won most innovative. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Popular Wellington bakery Myrtle took out the prize for being most innovative.

Their 'Belly and Jelly' burger used jellyfish as a pattie.

Owner Jacob Brown said their burger was all about highlighting food sustainability.

"We need to look at our food systems differently now. We probably need to cut down on beef and that's the classic burger, so we thought let's do the opposite of that and do jellyfish".

The 2023 Burger Wellington presented by Garage Project award winners were:

  • One80s Goan Chicken Ros Pao - first place in Burger Wellington
  • Field & Green's Reuben-esque - 2nd place
  • Ernesto's Cocina Cubana - 3rd place
  • Elixir's The Phial Of Eären-Dill - best use of theme
  • Myrtle's Belly and Jelly - most innovative
Field & Green chef/owner Laura Greenfield with their Reuben-esque burger.

Field & Green chef/owner Laura Greenfield with their Reuben-esque burger. Photo: Wellington On a Plate / Supplied

This year the festival team introduced a new regional awards category. The winners were:

  • Wairarapa - Café Medici's A Perfect Swine
  • Upper Hutt - Boneface Brewing Co's Yorkie Dork
  • Hutt City - Twenty Eight's Spice is Right
  • Porirua - T Bay Cafe's The Hot Chick
  • Kapiti - Hey Coastie's Coast with the Most
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