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New Zealand cuisine finds a home away from home at Burger Bach

The restaurant has perfected the grill on their burgers and the crisp on their fries

<p>Burger Bach — pronounced batch — is the place to go for New Zealand inspired burgers and a good time.</p>

Burger Bach — pronounced batch — is the place to go for New Zealand inspired burgers and a good time.

Burger Bach — pronounced batch — is the place to go for New Zealand inspired burgers and a good time. The relaxed atmosphere and moderate prices offer the perfect spot for a dinner before running across the street to catch a movie at the Regal theater. Their moderate price range  — between $14 and $19 for a burger — and delicious food made it a great dinner for my friend and I after a long week of exams.

The restaurant is located in The Shops at Stonefield, about a 10-minute drive from Central Grounds, and they are open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Burger Bach does not take reservations, but you may call ahead to reserve a spot on the waitlist. However, if you’re going with a party larger than 6, they require that you call ahead to ensure they can accommodate you.

Bach is a New Zealand term for a holiday cottage. Patrons experience the holiday vibe of a bach with the restaurant’s fun, relaxed atmosphere. As we walked in, we were greeted by a large mural, on the exposed brick, of a cow grazing. With booths and tables painted in a steel blue and decorative plants native to New Zealand, the competing commercial and rural aesthetics surprisingly complemented each other. The host sat us in a booth near the bar at the back of the restaurant, where many patrons were grabbing a drink, chatting and watching the NCAA Tournament. The light chatter and jaunty music made the large dining space feel small.

We were ravenous, so I ordered spinach and artichoke dip to tide us over before our burgers. Unfortunately, it did not arrive before our burgers did, and we had to gently prod the server about the status of the dish. While the wait staff was extraordinarily kind, they seemed either a bit understaffed or disorganized, so our order may have gotten lost.

Once we did get our dip, it was a tad underwhelming. The chips were very similar to Tostitos dippers — which are delicious, just not the tortilla chips that were advertised in the description of the dip — and the dip was covered in about an inch of parmesan cheese. As a parm lover myself, normally I would say no amount is too much, but this dish hit my limit. After getting through the thick layer of parm, I found the dip itself to be quite good, with a strong artichoke flavor and thick consistency. However, there was barely half a cup of it, which seemed scant for the $14.90 we were paying. Overall, I’m not sure I would reorder the spinach and artichoke dip as a starter next time I venture to the Bach.

Our burgers redeemed our starter, however. I ordered the Queenstown lamb burger, which had an incredibly juicy and flavorful lamb patty with melted gruyere and sweet caramelized onions piled on top. Mushrooms and tarragon sauce provided an herbal, woodsy flavor that elevated the burger. My only complaint was that the bottom bun started to dissolve into the burger as the juices of the burger made it soggy.

The burger came with a side of “fresh cut, never frozen fries” that were longer than my head. My basil pesto aioli on the side was bright and fresh, and they perfectly balanced the salty fries that were golden to a crisp. For $18.30, it was not a cheap burger by any means — but I was comfortable with the price given all that it came with. 

My friend ordered the Original burger for $16.90, and it came loaded with the works. Piled high with pickles, lettuce, bacon, cheddar and tomatoes, she could barely fit it in her mouth. The beef patty was savory and succulent — passing the test of good grilling. The “original sauce” — the burger’s namesake —  tasted just like ketchup. The flavors worked very well together — the sweet, fresh crunch from the lettuce and tomatoes cut the saltiness from the bacon and the pickles. The bottom bun of her burger got soggy as well — however, this was not surpringing given the number of toppings piled atop the patty.

With her fries, my friend ordered the blueberry barbeque sauce, which tasted exactly like it sounds. At first taste, you get blueberry jam, followed by a barbeque aftertaste. Despite its outlandish flavor profile, the sauce paired well with the fries.

Recently, Burger Bach has started to serve Chomp by Nightingale — locally made ice cream sandwiches with homemade cookies. I ordered the Cookie Monster, which had cookies and cream ice cream jammed between soft chocolate chip cookies. The sandwich was delicious — however, it was barely two inches thick. I don’t know if such a small portion was worth the $4.

I enjoyed my dinner at Burger Bach. Although the meal got off to a bit of a rough start, the burgers saved the day. A well-cooked burger is not easy to find, but Burger Bach nailed it. My medium rare burger was evenly cooked and flavorful. There is still room for improvement, but they certainly have the potential. From the chill interior and delectable entrees, I’d say a trip to the Bach is worth it to try their burgers — and even that basil aioli — for yourself.


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