I wouldn’t say I’m typically one to participate in junk food veganism but when burger joints like Wise Boys are available, it’s darn hard to resist.
Located in what feels like the unofficial vegan capital of Auckland - Grey Lynn, Wise Boys presents a wide selection of unique, sustainable and bloody delicious plant-based burgers and sides.
Since the opening of the first store in May 2019, I have officially become a Wise Boys fan, making my way through the menu and tasting everything the team has to offer. I’ve never come across a Wise Boys burger I didn’t like but in the interests of the public good, here’s my ranking of their current menu. Yes, I have tried them all...drum roll...
1. Crispy Fried Chick - Vegan chicken... need I say more?
2. The Shroomin Show - In my opinion, you can’t not love a burger that references the late 90s classic, ‘The Truman Show’. This is a double whammy of tempeh and crumbed deep fried meaty mushroom.
3. Moroccan - The Moroccan is my personal favourite more ‘classic’ burger on the Wise Boys menu. It’s fresh, and it leaves you feeling a little lighter and healthier than the other burgers. Like the Smoke and Fire, the tomato relish is the star of the Moroccan, and brings all the flavours together. When feeling like less of a heavy burger, it’s my go-to.
4. Smoke and Fire - It’s got a bit of a kick that’s for sure, but as someone who loves their spicy food, it’s perfect. However the sweetness of the tomato relish brings the burger together and cools down some of that overwhelming spice. As well, if you’re a bit of a tofu sceptic, this burger truly embodies what good tofu tastes like - trust me. It’s the perfect firm texture with a deep fried crispy exterior.
5. Hungry Jack - Definitely more of a messy burger but it’s all worth it for this flavour packed masterpiece - bringing the best of all worlds with the smokey bite from the bbq jackfruit, a zingy and tangy slaw and cutting through with some sweetness from the pineapple for balance.
6. Dirty Boy - If you’re feeling like a bit of indulgence, dive into the Dirty Boy burger. It’s deliciously smokey from the plant-based bacon (yes!) and the crunchy addition of crumbed onion rings make it all that much better.
7. Spicy Mex - A tasty take on Mexican flavours and dishes by including a punchy kick from jalapenos and salsa and a crunchy breakthrough with a classic corn chip. Simple, but effective.
8. Classic Cheese - It’s a classic, a safe choice, you can’t go wrong. Great for those of us who tend to steer clear of vegan ‘meat’ substitutes - which I find can be quite realistic. Wise Boys’ classic kidney and black bean patty features widely across the menu and is dependable.
If I’m being truly honest however, my all time favourite from Wise Boys would be the Super Katsu Special which featured as a special last year. This was a crispy katsu tofu with a zingy slaw and was the perfect balance of flavours and texture. Petition to bring that one back? I think yes! In all seriousness though, Wise Boys regularly has featured burgers and loaded fries to keep things interesting and they never disappoint. Previously they have recreated the Kiwi classic, fish and chips as well as a fish burger - completely vegan! Keep an eye out for these specials as they don’t stick around.
Of course, no burger is complete without a side. Wise Boys covers the classics of potato and kumara fries, tater tots and onion rings. If you’re a kumara fiend like me, you know it’s hard to find a good kumara fry that isn’t undercooked or soggy, but Wise Boys provides some of the best I have ever had - crispy and perfectly soft inside. In addition to this, the onion rings too stand out. I’ve found that the perfect onion ring is crumbed rather than battered, and that’s exactly what Wise Boys serve. All great to share.
Don’t just take my word for it though. As the name says, these guys are wise and they are going places. Watch out too for their food truck popping up at a festival near you or their new operation at Commercial Bay. (Sofia Roger Williams)
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