foodiegemsofwellie

For worthy eating and drinking experiences around Wellington, NZ (and the greater region) – you can also catch Heather over at KNOW Wellington's Word on the Street Blog or hosting Zest Food Tour guests around the city…

Olde Beach Bakery, Waikanae

This is another of my must-do-this-summer places, as they have quite the following. It’s not quite summer, but was a sunny day, so that counts right?

Olde Beach Bakery is owned by the folks who have Long Beach and the North End Brewery at Waikanae Beach (their salt and wood barrel aged beers sound interesting). So a good bit of customer and food experience on board.

The kitchen of the bakery is open, and partly in the front window so you can see the bakers at work (you can wave to them through the window from 4am!). They like to use local and seasonal, including from their own vege garden, and hand craft right down to the milkshake syrups.

I was there at breakfast time so after much eeny-meeny-miny-moeying, I settled on a northern Brittany (French) kouign-amann – a light sourdough with sweet apple that’s created like a croissant with buttery layers, crispy on the outside, and softer on the inside. It was a revelation, and I’d most definitely have one of these again (didn’t help much with the elimination process for next time!).

Bakery Kouign-amann

They also make a range of fresh artisan breads, cheese scones that are highly sought after (verified by a local I was chatting with), miles of pastries, sweet cakes and indulgences, and some very appealing-looking filled baguettes and sandwiches.

The staff were all really friendly, informative and helpful and I’m sure as eggs, that if I lived anywhere near Waikanae, I’d be here more days than not.

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7 days

3 Ono Street, Waikanae Beach

Moustache are here!

The Auckland Moustache Milk & Cookie bar girls have come to visit Wellington.

Moustache bus

They’ve brought their bus down for a few months ahead of a South Island summer tour, so we can enjoy their delicious shakes and cookies on the way (check out their back story). Although they’re likely to be here until December, it might pay to pop along soon if you fancy working your way through their offerings.

They bake their cookies in situ, and display what’s available in jars along the counter. And make their shakes fresh with real ingredients, as evidenced by my gingernut version. Given they bake small batches, odds are you’ll strike a cookie warm from the oven, which is surely the penultimate way to enjoy one of these babies (my fave so far – the white chocolate and macadamia).

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The front of the bus is decked out with seats, so you can wait in comfort if its a brisk Wellington day, including being able to  jump into the drivers seat and fulfil childhood fantasies, hat included. Good thinking.

The other thing of interest is the collaboration with the Garage Project lads to brew another batch of Moustache Ale, the first of which funded the bus outfitting. Apparently it should be ready in a month or so (somewhere around WOAP time), so keep your eye on their Facebook page for how to get your hands on one. It’s a limited run, so you might need to be quick when they appear.

Nice one girls, looking forward to my next visit already!

7 Marion StreetMoustache bus3

 

Bars, bars, bars…

Okay guys, here it is finally. My round-up of the new bars in the city recently.

Slim Daveys

A neighbourhood saloon which is a mix of wild west, nana’s lounge and a kitschy American diner. They do light bites with a range of drinks including house sangria and some wines I haven’t seen too often before. Brought to you by the Ortega Fish Shack folks (right next door in fact!), with Davey the award-winning maitre’d the face of it. Relaxing and fun, with deceptive quality. 4pm til late Tuesday to Saturday, no bookings. Read more.

Slims header inside

The Top Garden (Hop Garden) rooftop bar

Another rooftop bar, above the restaurant area of the Hop Garden. Sheltered from three sides, and with a long western aspect, its in a prime spot for sun (you might need your scarf and beannie with it at the mo though!). The food and drinks are the same as the downstairs bar, with the ability to hire the rooftop for your own function. And no drama to just pop up there for a coffee or brunch, you don’t have to be beering or wineing. Open the same hours as the Hop Garden – Monday/Tuesday 3pm til late, Wednesday/Thursday/Friday 11am til late, Saturday/Sunday 10.30am til late. Read more.

TopG 3

Orpheus Kitchen

Although marketed as a New Orleans-style restaurant, one of the features here is ordering by iPad from your table (both food and drinks), including the ability to access 5,000+ cocktails. If mucking around with filters isn’t your thing (first ingredient, second ingredient etc), they have some pre-set categories (some with fairly outrageous names, so be warned!), and a few beers and wines. I had a pleasant nibble and exceedingly delicious dessert platter here recently, while knocking off a couple of those cocktails. Only 4,998 to go! Orpheus Kitchen is in Allen Street in the old Muse on Allen premises, Wednesday to Sunday 5pm til late, and you can make bookings. Read more.

Orpheus ipad

Five and Dime

A new venture by Elie Assaf of Five Boroughs fame in the old Phoenician Falafel premises up Cuba Street (Phoenician is dad). A combination wine/spirits/tapas bar with some very smart food, so not your standard diner by a long shot. Although they do brunch, that feels more lunch/late afternoon fare (with the exception of the pancakes with fried egg and bacon ice-cream – odd-sounding but very smart), with the weekday lunches simpler Lebanese/Turkish sandwiches and bowls. Again some less-common drinks across the whole range and only 6 beers here, so NOT a craft beer bar (yay!). I’d come here over many other places just on the food alone. Not 100% sure of their hours yet as they’re still settling in,  but currently weekdays from lunch onward, and weekends from late morning onward.  Read more.

F&D fried bread bacon icecr

Noble Rot

A pure wine-bar back in the city, since Arbitrageur and Vivo both disappeared. With a master sommelier at the helm, and over 350 interesting wines from places as far flung as Tenerife, and both 100 and 150ml pours, you’ll be able to try lots. They also have a coravin wine system which allows extraction of wine through the cork via a slim needle, replacing what’s taken with heavy argon gas to prevent oxidation, so they can offer normally bottle-only wines by the glass. The food is by by the Salty Pidgin folks, and is designed appropriately to go with quaffing (plates, some raw, build-your-own platters). Busy as a busy thing at night (ergo fairly noisy), but you can at least make bookings. Seven nights (from 5pm Monday/Tuesday), from lunch Wednesdays to Fridays (noon) and from brunch on weekends (9am). My pick – go in the daytime for a peaceful experience (but then again I am getting old!). Read more.

Noble main header

Eva Bevas

Doing a mix of everything (sports, quiz nights, small plates, cheap steaks), this is in th told Hope Brothers site at the entry to the Eva Street/Leeds laneway and makes me think a little of Bethel Woods (from the bits I’ve seen, haven’t had a full experience yet). Brought to you by the Hospo Gurus who have the Ivy, Bad Grannies, and various Courtenay bars. 11am til late. Read more on Stuff.

Fat Angel

A music/rave venue immediately upstairs from Eva Bevas, definitely aimed at the youngsters with the hottest local and international DJ’s strutting their stuff. From 5pm Fridays and Saturdays. Read more on Stuff.

Fat angel teaser

There you have it, we’re clearly a thirsty city!

 

WOAP 2016…

I’m not usually this quiet for this long huh?

I’ve been salivating over the Wellington on a Plate (WOAP) programme for 2016, trying to shortlist what I most want to try.

And trotting round all the new bars in the city (a post on those next week for you).

So to WOAP, here are my observations:

Ram shop burger

The Ramen Shop noodle burger, 2015

More interesting burgers this year, with quite a few new players to the game. Some of the ingredients that popped out at me:

  • yorkshire pudding bun (Furnace, Trentham)
  • Creole spiced meat and crispy grits (Coco at the Roxy)
  • house-made cashew bun (Apache)
  • lasagne toppers as buns (Scopa)
  • monkey gland sauce (Butcher and Brewer, Petone)
  • ghost chilli cheese (Hideaway)
  • kangaroo in a wattle bun (The Larder)
  • foraged seaweed (The Ramen Shop)
  • grilled lambs liver (WBC)
  • turkey breasts as buns in a turducken (Five Boroughs)
  • eel (Kelburn Pub)
  • soft shell crab (Coene’s Provisions, The Olde Bailey, the Crusty Crab food truck)
  • pork belly with octopus (Zibibbo)
  • beetroot in EVERYTHING!
Concrete cocktail

My favourite cocktail last year – Concrete (bacon and maple)

More cocktail players, with a variety of entree/main/dessert tapas:

  • 10th Year Delight – rum, lemon, eggs and sauerkraut with the remains of a rueben on the side (Hawthorn)
  • Shogun – Japanese whisky, plum brandy, sake and mirin (phew!) with local sashimi (WBC)
  • the Elitist Martini V2.0 – citrus martini with liquid nitrogen-charged champagne popsicle (St Johns Bar)
  • BGR – salted caramel rum with orange juice, spices, red wine and cardamon spice foam, with a dessert burger of macarons, Wellington Chocolate Factory patty and aged cheddar (CGR Merchant)
  • A Regional Tale – bourbon with dessert wine and chocolate bitters, limoncello, thyme liquer and champers, accompanied by bone marrow fudge, oxtail and almonds (Matterhorn)
  • you need to like grapefruit (beware those on some types of medications!)
  • a whole section of mocktails, some just tame versions of the above, some totally separate concoctions.
Portlander WOAP licorice

Portlander’s liquorice cheesecake, 2015

Changes to the DINE menus so that restaurants can offer a festival dish on its own at lunch-time (i.e. don’t need to have 2 or 3 courses, and will be able to dine quicker), with many offering different lunch and dinner options:

  • the theme this year is ‘element of surprise’
  • again, many new players to the game
  • some super-cheap options – $15 dish and beverage at The Kanteen (NZ Post House) and Southern Cross
  • a good few unique Gelissimo gelato flavours at various restaurants – American pale ale gelato (Backbencher), blue cheese gelato with a pork main (Glasshouse Rydges Thorndon), rose petal (One 80 Copthorne Oriental)
  • and a good bit of craft beer flavouring – Panhead Blacktop Oat Stout cheesecake (Backbencher), Garage Project Aro Noir stout gravy (Bethel Woods), Tuatara Dubbel-braised beef short rib, and Panhead Canhead Hardtail Henry Oaked Stout ice cream (Little Beer Quarter) and more
  • also a bit of vegan – seitan ‘steak’ (Bin 44), jackfruit with beans, kumara and pickled snap peas (Little Beer Quarter), walnut and mushroom meatballs with beetroot noodles and coconut bacon (Southern Cross), tamarillo tarte tatin with feta panna cotta, onion marmalade, rosemary and chocolate dirt (Glasshouse, Rydges Thorndon) and more
  • and the most unusual menu in entirety – free range crispy pigs ears wth black garlic and mushrooms three ways, free range pork brawn dumplings, and Wellington Chocolate Factory cacao and pig’s blood mousse with sweet pickled walnuts, praline and pear (Wellesley) – crikey!

I’m sure that’s enough to well whet your appetites. Bring it on!

 

The Seashore Cabaret, Petone

The Maranui folks have done it again. This time in the Rowing Club on the Petone waterfront.

Like Maranui, the downstairs remains the club while the upstairs is now a funky diner. You can feel the Maranui vibe throughout, from the art and signage, to the writing on the stairs, the jazzy ceiling, the menu design and the old collectables (including 4 pinball machines, and a delightful set of scales that start at 12 stone!).

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They also have a coffee roasting section where local roasters Good Fortune Coffee recently became the first roaster in the country to receive a living wage accreditation, and plan to extend the living wage accreditation to all cafe staff over time.

To highlight the amount of coffee sold to support fair wages for the growers, there’s a prominent counter showing the number of cups sold since they opened only a couple of months ago. Look at those those numbers – we clearly love our coffee!

Petone coffee1Petone coffee2

The food is diner and seashore classic, with a little Mexican thrown in. Items such as surf’n’turf, cheeseburger, fish tacos, vegetable quesadilla, a truckers breakfast or dinner, a range of hot dogs and more.

Between four of us enjoyed a hot smoked salmon pide with capers, mascarpone and chives; crunchy fish tacos with slaw and jalapeño sauce; the cheeseburger with handcut fries; the vege quesadilla; key lime pie; and a lazy berry sundae. Everything hit the mark nicely as we’d expect from this team, other than the prosciutto, gorgonzola, caramelised onion and mozzarella pide we’d started with, which was a bit heavy and greasy. All other dishes, however, had a lightness that left one well satisfied but not overloaded.

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Being persons of mature persuasions, the sundae artfully dripping over the side made us think of milkbars and the Fonz, and the use of frozen berries on top was noted as a clever texture and flavour move.

You’ll find separate breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend and kids menus, an interesting range of sodas and shakes, and a fair selection of wine, beer and other tipples.

The views over the harbour are pretty darned fine, the environment is warm and welcoming, and you won’t need to consult with the bank manager to enjoy an outing here.

Daytimes Monday-Thursday, day and night Friday to Sunday.

160 The Esplanade, Petone.

Coco and the Roxy turn five

Happy birthday to Coco and the Roxy in Miramar! Five years on and just getting better and better.

Coco header.jpg

Check out my recent visit and thoughts from the key players there. I particularly like their playfulness and community spirit.

They’ve also got quite a lot going on for WOAP with Creole flavouring, a crack at defending their 2015 Capital Cocktail win, and a couple of events as well. Definitely worth a jaunt out to Miramar.

 

 

 

Arthurs re-opens

Arthurs up Cuba Street has just re-opened under new ownership.

The decor is now sleek and simple, there’s a wee cake cabinet up behind the counter (with strawberry milkshake cupcakes and straws when I visited, courtesy of a cup-cake fan in the kitchen), and Schoc hot chocolates featured.

They’re currently operating with a small menu and daytime hours until settled in, and then will extend both.

At an 11am brunch we spread ourselves around coffees, a geranium and orange hot chocolate, a cayenne and cheddar scone, baked eggs benedict, avocado on toast with slow roasted tomatoes and rocket, and ricotta/basil ravioli topped with zucchini ribbons.

The presentation was pretty, with herb garnishes on most dishes, and despite the eggs being a little firmer than anticipated (potentially continued cooking in their dish after serving), the ravioli pockets needing a smidge more seasoning, and the scone being fairly solid, there was definitely some finesse around many of the components, and the flavours were well balanced in all dishes. The slow roasted tomatoes on the avo dish were outstanding, as was the hot chocolate.

I totally enjoyed having a mug of nicely stretched and foamy milk to dunk and swirl my Schoc chocolate stick (a good way to control the strength if so desired), including extracting it every now and then to slurp the melty gooey goodness (well why wouldn’t you?).

The coffees were Flight, and well made, and the service welcoming and personable. I also had a wee chuckle at the kids drink list including ‘Thomas the tank engine’ apple juice, ‘Minions’ orange, ‘Peppa pig’ strawberry and ‘Dora the Explorer’ blackcurrant.

I will watch their development with interest.

272 Cuba Street.

 

 

 

Caroline music and burgers

The Meow folks have opened a music venue and burger bar upstairs on Manners Street. Undertheradar are calling it Wellington’s finest dive bar and music venue.

At Caroline the burgers are simple (but fresh and delicious), the beers are simple (four craft on tap and a range of others by bottle), and the fittings likewise simple. However it’s taken some clever hands and eyes to make all this simple so characterful (definite shades of Mighty Mighty). And check out the Game of Thrones pinball machine!

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The music section is a separate hall at the back segregated by curtain – the size venue that’s been missing in the Wellington music scene for a while – and will host a wide range of alternative, travelling and start-up musicians and bands. Keep an eye on their Facebook page to see what’s coming.

But even if the music’s not for you, its an easy spot to pop by for a burger and beer, with lots of glass making it feel open and light. And enough nooks and crannies that you could have a quiet conversation if you wanted.

The burgers are between $7 and $13, including a haloumi with pineapple, a happy chicken (again with the pineapple), a classic fresh ground beef with artisan cheese (yay, no pineapple!), and an ‘old school’ (yep back to the pineapple, but also a little beetroot this time). The buns are brioche, so the burgers are light, and the fillings were fresh. And yes, I’ll admit it, the pineapple does add a lovely burst of sweetness.

You can also get a green salad, coleslaw, or other sides such as salt and pepper squid rings, hot chicken nibbles or cheesy broccoli croquettes. Nothing is over $13, which is darned fine value for central city eating.

The beers on tap last Friday were Parrot Dog pilsner, Mussel Inn golden goose, Cassels and Sons IPA and Dales APA. The golden goose was suitably light and gentle for the useless drinker of the household (yours truly) and went well with the haloumi burger.

Open Tuesday through Saturday 11am to 1am.

1 Manners Street, first floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wellington Food Show giveaway

It’s that time of year again folks.

The Wellington Food Show is returning to Westpac Stadium from 20-22 May 2016, with the latest and greatest from Wellington and around the country. Over 100 exhibitors, 14 live cooking demonstrations over three days, countless new ideas, and new products to add to your shopping lists – what more could you ask for? (and I guarantee you’ll come away with a full tummy too).

The Wellington Food Show have kindly donated  a gourmet prize pack valued at $140 to give away, so you can attend and be inspired. The prize includes 1 x double pass to the show, and a goodie bag of exhibitor products as below. The tickets will be made available at the door for the lucky winner, and the goodie bag shipped to you.

WtgFoodShowHamper

To enter, simply email your name, street delivery address (where best to send that goodie bag should you be the lucky winner!), and contact phone number to heatherc@hcnutrition.co.nz, with ‘Wellington Food Show’ in the title, by 5pm Tuesday 17 May. The winner will be selected at random and notified by email on Tuesday evening 17 May. I will also post the winner’s name in the comments section below so you can check back to see who won.

Conditions of entry:

  • Open to NZ citizens only.
  • One entry per person.
  • Your contact details will be deleted after the competition has been drawn, and are not retained or used for any other purpose.
  • All other costs and expenses not specifically listed as part of the prize pack are solely your responsibility.
  • The prize is non-transferable and no substitution or cash swap is permitted.

Have a wee peek at what’s going on at the show, get your entry in, and note that you can get tickets online at the best rates also. Access to all show features and cooking demos is included in your ticket.

Game on.

 

Pinot May – Tequila Joe’s

2016 is the inaugural Catch Pinot event, courtesy of the Visa Wellington on a Plate team. To celebrate the pinots that come out of the Wairarapa region, restaurants across the region have free reign to match them to whatever food they like. To be as creative as they fancy.

CATCH-PINOT-BANNER-2-620x420

Given I like the unusual and slightly out-of-the-box, my first stop was Tequila Joe’s (more below), but some of the others that take my fancy are:

  • Afrika’s crocodile tail gumbo – crocodile meat soaked in lime juice and grilled, with wok-fried maize and salad. With a Pencarrow Pinot Noir.
  • Coco at the Roxy’s glass of Paddy Borthwick Falloon Block Pinot Noir 2014 with a culinary cocktail bringing together a new way to experience Pinot Noir – a modern fun cocktail experience with molecular gastronomy and a side serving of childhood nostalgia (intriguing!).
  • The Larder’s duck confit with pomegranate molasses, confit gizzards, roasted cauliflower, liver and chestnuts. With a Porters Estate Pinot Noir.
  • One80’s masala lamb cheeks, sago sandige, and mango mint chutney. With a Russian Jack Pinot Noir.

So Tequila Joe’s. A fun Mexican taverna and cocktail bar near the corner of Vivian and Tory. I’d spotted their maytag fries (never heard of them) with Applewood smoked bacon (ditto) and exclusive gorgonzola bleu cheese sauce, matched with a Paulownia Estate Rose 2014. Definitely in the I-can’t-imagine-how-that’s-going-to-work category.

The Rose was so delicious on its own, I damn near hoovered it all up before the dish arrived – off-dry and with plenty of body and flavour, so a more intense Rose than I’d expected – but I did manage to control myself and enjoyed it with the dish as well (and the ‘Death Rides a Pale Horse’ blonde ale we sampled was pretty fine too!).

The maytag fries are a crispy waffle cut fry imported from the USA (took a month to get here), as is the Applewood smoked bacon, while the bleu cheese sauce is made just for TJ’s. Because the Rose was richer than expected, and the smoked bacon and bleu cheese more subtle than expected, the flavours actually met and melded well. The waffle-cut chips gave great texture and crunch against the softer bacon, with the only issue being the bottom chips sogging before getting to them (I can confirm the plate was clean at the end though!).

And it would have been rude not to finish with the recommended apple cinnamon churros, right? Also light, crispy and flavourful. And refreshingly different to the norm.

So there you have it, a match that I thought couldn’t possibly work.

Here’s the full line-up of offerings to whet your palate further.

 

 

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