Describing their menu as "a collision of Korean cuisine and Western street food", Esther Jeong (who grew up in South Korea) and Matt Shephard (who grew up in England) initially set up Tiger Burger as a pop-up. The couple had a mission to bring flavoursome Korean-inspired fare to Kiwis, using the familiar form of the burger. From just cooking during the evenings, to running the pop-up full-time, and now making the move to a permanent restaurant, the team have come incredibly far – especially considering they don't come from hospo backgrounds. Their new home is fresh and simple in decor, white walls are carefully painted with black tigers and seating can be found both inside and out.
Tiger Burger's menu is comprised of four burgers, four sides and two desserts, favouring local, free-range ingredients, while all their sauces, pickles and fermentations are proudly house-made (the deliciousness is in the details). The spiciest options are the Kimcheese burger (grilled beef, sautéed kimchi, aged cheddar and chilli mayo) and the Gang-Jeong (double-fried chicken thigh, chilli-soy glaze, pickled daikon, lettuce, sriracha and chilli mayo). The Bossam is filled with twice-cooked pork belly, kimchi, lettuce, pickled daikon and honey garlic mayo, and inside the vegetarian Goguma (the burger we tried) you'll find a crispy shiitake and kumara patty, slaw, yang nyum sauce and mayo. Extra meat, cheese and kimchi are on offer if you're after an additional flavour hit and burgers can be made vegan by swapping out the sauces and switching the bread buns for lettuce.
Fans of the food truck will know Tiger Burger have quite a few more burgers and bite-sized sides in their repertoire, and probably quite a few that haven't made it to menus yet, so they'll change up the menu again once the team have settled in a little. Kimcheese fries come topped with kimchi, a creamy sauce and a drizzle of kimchi ketchup and we saw a fair few plates of their Seoulful Bites go by: piled high with Korean Fried Chicken along with yang nyum sauce and honey garlic mayo. A fresher option is their slaw, tossed with tasty bibimbap dressing.
Sweet options are there to tempt you at the end of the meal: there's perfectly round Chapsal Doughnuts with condensed coconut milk, but we couldn't go past the Spiced Apple Doughnuts, which are poached in plum wine with ginger, and come with two scoops of Kohu Road organic salted caramel ice cream. It was an incredibly sweet way to end our dinner, both in presentation (they're so cute) and flavour. Far from your average burger joint, Tiger Burger's inventive menu and unfailingly friendly staff means they've been bustling since day dot. They now offer takeaways if you're on the go, although it's a lovely place to sit a while.
549 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland
Tuesday to Thursday: 5pm–9pm
Friday and Saturday: 5pm–10pm