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New Britomart burger joint

We have just murdered one of the most satisfying cheeseburgers we've ever had (with fries and a strawberry shake of course) - and we don't even feel (that) bad about it. The latest offering from the Britomart Hospitality Group is the booming American style Better Burger. Sitting alongside Britomart Country Club, this cool corner aims to be an alternative to greasy fast food joints like McDonald's and Wendy's. Better Burger are flipping simple, affordable burgers ($5.50 for a cheeseburger, $11.50 for the combo) all made with lush local produce. The buns have been specially baked (after 6 months of taste testing) by Bread & Butter, using honey made by bees on the family farm of co-owner, Nick McCaw. The spuds are trucked up twice a week, fresh from Pukekohe farmer Balle Brothes, chopped upon order and tossed in the frier. The strawberries for the delish icecreamy milkshake and brewed in to a sweet syrup, on site, by chef Dan Smith (of Orleans fame). What we love most are the quirky stories behind all the bits here - from the pickles on your burger to the rickety World War II army trestle tables we dine at, the Polish school chairs we sit on and the cheeky illustrations on the burger wrappers. Business is seriously booming so you might be up for a wait - we suspect late night lines snaking around the streets, these guys are open till at least 4am on Friday and Saturday. But it's so worth it.

Bird on a Wire has a facelift

There are few more belly-rumbling aromas than that wafting out of a rotisserie chicken shop. And our friends at Bird on a Wire are killing it. Their flagship Ponsonby Road store re-opened this week, decked with a flash new fit out. The savvy young owners, Sophie Gilmour, Ben Grant and David Holmes, have made more room for dining-in on beautiful polished wooden seats made by George and Willy. The feature wall is adorned with black and white photographs taken locally, when we popped in upon opening the whole place just felt a bit more slick. The menu has also been given a boost with a special burger each week, different bastes, juices and seasonal soups. However, they've not forgotten to stick to what they're famous for - tasty, pulled free-range rotisserie chicken atop a fresh seasonal salads ($16 for a medium). These guys have big plans beyond their two current outlets - they're looking to expand the Bird empire to space downtown on Elliot Street and the North Shore. Stay tuned!


Boutique Wine Festival - last chance for early bird tickets

We reckon the rich Imperial Buildings are a winning location for a cosy winter wine festival. Lucky us, the Boutique Wine Festival has decided to return for a second year. Rounding up the grapes from 21 boutique vineyards around the country, this Sunday festival will showoff more than 200 wines across a range of varietals. There promises to be beautiful food to match, live music and master classes for those keen to exercise their connoisseur. There's just one more day left to grab early bird tickets ($29) or pick up GA tickets for $39 or $49 at the door (covers entry, festival glass, and your first tasting). For something more special, there are a limited number of VIP tickets valued at $89 which includes a two course set lunch designed by Everybody's head chef James Pask, with matching wines. Great news is, we have a double VIP pass to give away to Life & Style readers. Find out how to enter below (we might see you there!) For more info on the festival visit the website and purchase tickets here.

WIN! A double pass for the 12pm VIP lunch valued at $178. Pass includes entry to the festival, festival glass, event programme and first tasting token. A beautifully prepared Two Course Set Lunch designed by Everybody's head chef James Pask; with two expertly-matched NZBWF wines.
This competition is now closed. Thanks for entering!

- www.nzherald.co.nz