Posted by: Joan Spiller | June 19, 2014

Best burgers, ever – Recipe

What does surprisingly good smoked yoghurt, wicked artisan burger buns, crisp butter-crunch lettuce + a few other things & me have in common?


It is no secret to anyone that one of my fave meals in Wellington is made by the lovely people at Ti Kouka cafe. And it’s “simple”..  just a burger & chips..

Except oh wait, the burger is laden with haloumi.. to which they add avocado, rocket, mayo, tomato chutney, smoky BBQ sauce & beetroot.. Served alongside this delight?

Chunky cut fries & 3 beautiful sauces – aioli, tomato and harissa ..


I make a pig of myself and order these every time I am there, yes .. even with a coffee .. OK, no I don’t ..but they’re the best fries I’ve ever had and the sauces are divine. I wanna say there is cinnamon and apple in the tomato one but .. who knows .. what I DO know is – it works!

However I no longer live in Wellington so cannot simply meander down Willis St to help myself to this lovely lunch treat .. Which is why I set to trying to replicate it (pls forgive me, TK!)

With the help of my lovely friend Sandy (of Kapiti breads.. yes, OK fine – she’s someone I stalked via facebook after trying their wares  but I am gonna claim her as a friend!) I secured some hand-made hamburger buns .. the ones I am sure none of you have had (cos they don’t sell them to Joan Public).. these babies do not turn to mush when laden with goodies, they spring back when bitten into and they’re so tasty to boot!

Unable to replicate or even know how to make smoked BBQ sauce, I simply opted to buy smoked yoghurt from Zany Zues (I confess – I did gasp at the price tag – as I had to use it or lose it in a fairly short time frame, but it was worth it and I would buy again.. but plan menus ahead to use it all before it expires) cos I thought it woul work.


Griddled (til golden) hand-made burger buns, schmeared with smokey yoghurt & ripe avocado. Gently seasoned with salt and pepper.. Layer these incredible buns (settle!) with golden crispy haloumi cheese, some fresh crunchy lettuce, a dollop of my own tomato chutney, some beetroot that I semi-chutneyed (is that a word?) I wanted to try and replicate the sweet / sour red deliciousness that TK manage ..

I didn’t quite get it but I was happy enough for someone too far away to get there and order it off the menu 😉


And there it was, my perfect burger!

Where’s the beef? I hear you wail..well, hello I am fairly sure you could sub haloumi for dead cow and it would be just right for ya .

.All I DO recommend is you try this flavour blend in some way cos it is DIVINE! And if in Wellington? Go eat this dish at Ti Kouka, tell them I sent you – they may remember me but who knows, it’s been awhile for all I still dream of their kai!

Oh and while there? Buy all their salt caramel cookies .. TRUST ME Buy one, walk away nibbling and you will wish you’d bought them all!


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