foodiegemsofwellie

For worthy eating and drinking experiences around Wellington, NZ (and the greater region) – you can also catch Heather out and about hosting Zest Food Tours around the city…

Archive for the category “Cafes / Brunch”

Lido’s better than ever

I always liked Lido, but after their refit and re-opening they’re better than ever (in my humble opinion!). Although previously relatively plant-based, they’ve gone even more that path, showcasing local, fresh and seasonal in interesting combinations.

I also rather like the blingy brass-look counter, mixing casual with a little sass.

Lido decor.jpg

I had a really, really hard time choosing between the cauliflower cheese; the leek and goat cheese gnocchi; the baked flatbread with ‘many’ greens (that one scared the chip fiend!), ricotta, feta and haloumi; and the green olive, walnut and fresh herb-stuffed kumara fritter with a broadbean, avocado and spring onion salad.

After a round of eeny, meeny, miny, mo (modified for todays sensibilities of course), I settled on the kumara fritter, and was not sorry.

Lido stuffed kumara fritter.jpg

It was crispy and flavourful and the side salad was super fresh and tasty. As well as nicely presented.

When did veggies become so cool?

There are bunches of add-ons to pimp your breakfast if you so desire (including some meats), and some interesting entrees and extras at dinner – bombay potatoes with tamarind and coconut chutneys, giardiniera Italian pickled vege relish with the smoked warehou pate, and brugge cheese ripened with beer.

And lots of options for vegans, vegetarians, dairy-free and other people with dietary restrictions.

Lido menu

I am so going back very soon for the orange-ricotta pancakes with poached tamarillo, biscuit crumb and mascarpone. Sold.

81 Victoria Street

7 days and 5 nights (dinner Tuesday to Saturday)

Qilin tea house

I rather enjoyed my first sojourn to Qilin teahouse for a late pastry and iced tea lunch.

Qilin decor.jpg

I’m going to borrow some of the Qilin website words here, because they sum it up pretty well:

  • a large range of flowering, premium and house blend teas served hot, iced or in latte form
  • exciting flavours like Iron Buddha and Qilin Chai
  • nitro coffee and homemade kombucha on tap
  • Asian nod on the food menu

There’s even a little tea running through some of the food – I spied fresh mozzarella, basil pesto and black tea drizzle on sourdough. Goodness.

Qilin iced tea.jpg

I went for iced tea since I’d been running around – the Jasmine with basil, strawberry and hibiscus. Very flavourful and very, very refreshing.

Well known and local ingredients like Lewis Road butter, Zany Zeus, and Fix & Fogg are dotted throughout the menu, as well as interesting Asian components like dragon ball, peking style mushroom and onigiri rice ball, and house-made ingredients like bacon jam.

Qilin pastry

The Xian roast pulled lamb bun sounded like a lunch with my name on it sometime soon, with a side of flowering tea methinks.

8/64 Dixon Street

7 days, daytime

The greatest of the latest

I’ve been a little distracted by selling a property with a short move-out date, but I’m back now with a summary of the recent openings I think are worthy for different reasons…

Lola Stays

Lola has a very appealing new decor (the old Vista on Oriental Parade), and is a sunny, very pleasant place to wile away time over a leisurely brunch or scone (excellent cheese scones!).

If you lived around Oriental it’d also be a very easy place to pop in for a wine and nibble on the way to or fro.

Full write up here.

Lola brioche berry creme fraiche french toast.jpg

7 days 7am til late.

Lulu Bar

This is a bar and eatery inspired by Hawaii, with Pacific twists throughout – from the tropical plants under grow lights, to a very smart poke dish, and rum flights.

Also check out the large mural in the bar out back, very cool (and yes the former Ancestral warm concrete seats still exist).

Full write up here.

Lulu poke HERO.jpg

7 days from noon for the bar, 7 days from 4.30pm for Oceanic eats (full restaurant side).

NOTE – Boom burger right next door is also theirs (shared kitchen), so if you fancy your burger sitting down with a beer, order and enjoy it inside Lulu.

Bellamys by Logan Brown

This is iconic dining – you’re getting the Logan Brown expertise from service to plate, in one of the most iconic NZ buildings, while rubbing shoulders with the power players (two of my three visits I spied MP’s at other tables).

At very reasonable prices too I might add.

Full write up here.

Bellamy spinach ricot gnoc salt baked beet.jpg

Tuesday to Friday, lunch noon to 2pm and dinner 5.30pm to 8.30pm. Via Parliament’s main security / tour desk entry. NOTE – Bookings required 24 hours prior so they can provide numbers and names to the security desk.

1154 Pastaria

The latest venture from the Bresolin lads directly opposite Scopa, focusing on simple, traditional pasta dishes done well.

Upstairs the team make all the pasta by hand, downstairs they pass it through cooking, saucing and plating in a streamlined flow, so that it almost could be labelled pasta fast food.

Beware you need to order at the counter, and seating is a matter of luck in arriving when there’s a space at a table somewhere.

Full write up here.

1154 Tortelloni

7 days 11am til late.

Sugar Flour

Pastry and art combined. This is something everyone should make an effort to get to at Kilbirnie.

Young Maxine (seriously, I think she started patisserie straight out of nappies) slaves all week to make gorgeous works of art that sell from 10am to 3pm Friday (or until sold out prior), and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 4pm (or until sold out prior).

Full write up here.

Sugar Flour lem meringue.jpg

Hours above. Get in early.

Phew!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oodles of cool at Coolsville

I was out walking recently and tripped over Coolsville Trading Post at Hataitai. And what a groovy place!

Coolesville art.jpg

Turns out to be part of the Bambuchi family, with most of the food coming out of the kitchen across the road (shows in the quality), and includes a good number of alternatives for those with dietary restrictions – healthy grab’n’go food, in compostable and recyclable containers.

Because I was on a long walk, I felt totally justified in having two dishes (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it), and thoroughly enjoyed both the kumara and egg nest, (nicely crisped in a toastie machine and not sogged in a microwave) and the salmon noodle salad. Along with my friends moose and bear at the table!

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Both were fresh, flavourful and satisfying. And the coffee was also well made.

There’s both cabinet and menu options, with many of the dishes named after random people like Lisa and Bart Simpson, or people from the Bambuchi family like Richie, Oliver or Tommy.

Coolesville gifts.jpg

The gifts range from artisan to quirky homeware, which I confess I made good use of (a mojito candle anyone?), and on the food front included Nice Blocks, Hakanoa traditional ginger beers, local O manuka honey chocolate (it’s really good, you should get your hands on some), and Joco glass keep cups, among others.

This is soooo going to be one of my favourite walk routes now!

Daytimes 7 days.

3C Moxham Avenue, Hataitai

Lola Stays

The new iteration of Vista on Oriental Parade (Lola Stays) has groovy contemporary decor (love the flamingos!), a breezy fresh feel on days when the bifods are right open, and the best cheese scone I’ve had in a long, long time.

Lola exterior.jpg

They also do tasty classic dishes with kiwi or contemporary twists (smashed avo on rye with goat cheese), interesting cocktails (The Pink Flamingo, The Talulah, The Wolf Gan Jack with Lewis Road chocolate liqueur), NZ wines and local Havana coffee.

Lola brioche berry creme fraiche french toast

We did find it quite noisy on a heaving long weekend Saturday (lots of flat surfaces as well as lots of people), so go between peak times for a quiet coffee, or with a bunch of friends for a grand old catch up.

More detail here on Word on the Street.

Open 7am til late, 7 days

106 Oriental Parade

Sweet Vanilla Kitchen, Lower Hutt

OMG, here’s another ‘how did I not know of this place’..

After shopping for motorbike gear we needed rejuvenation and found it right here at Sweet Vanilla Kitchen in Lower Hutt (that’s the excuse for the caramel macadamia slice anyway!).

Sweet Vanilla exterior

SVK is found on a suburban corner in a quaint wee villa, and is totally deserving of its online reviews, and accolade as the 2017 winner of Hellman’s best suburban cafe crown.

The brunches were a sight to behold, as well as being very nicely executed with fresh and tasty components. The banana bread with seasonal fruits was light and very generous (nice thick slices which didn’t sog or sag under the weight of the fruit), and the dukkah and crushed avo on toast with poached egg was also nicely done (although the chip fiend noted the avo was more mashed than crushed, Mr Pedantic!).

Sweet Vanilla bana bread fruit

Sweet Vanilla avo dukkah

The cake cabinet is a sight to behold, and it took me some time to decide what delight to enjoy, and when I couldn’t, took home the rhubarb butterscotch cake for breakfast the next day as well (be rude not to right?).

Between here and Comes and Goes, I’m never going anywhere else for delicious brunches in the Petone/Lower Hutt area.

Sweet Vanilla cara macad

Daytimes from 8am, 7 days per week (and yes, you can book).

49 Pretoria Street, Lower Hutt

 

 

Gipsy Kitchen comes to town

For CBD lovers of Gipsy Kitchen, your prayers have been answered. The Gipsy has taken up a spot in Jessie street opposite the Il Casino apartments, operating daytimes til 3pm.

The very groovy exterior sets the tone from the get-go, continuing inside with luxurious wall panelling, funky decorations, and plenty of quirk.

Gipsy exterior

The food is the quality we know and love from Gipsy, ranging from pastries to salads, to quiches, to lunch rolls, pies and sweets. And they have their heavenly (vegan) seed bread available for takeaway too.

I haven’t had a rhubarb scone fix for a while, but alas there were none, so I settled for bread and butter pudding for breakfast instead. Soft, moist and flavourful, I was sorry when it was gone.

We didn’t have coffee on this visit, but there was a steady stream of locals popping in for theirs, so we take that as a good sign (especially with Prefab, L’affare and Moore Wilson all within a stones throw). The herbal teas we did enjoy were nicely presented and real, not teabags.

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There’s only seating for about 12, so either pick your time or be prepared to take away. And do have a wee peek in the fridge of deli products available too.

They utilise a wood fired oven, and say the may well run into evenings as summer appears.

Amen!

37 Jessie Street

 

 

 

Delicious Doppio

Tucked behind the Sprig and Fern in the Tinakori Village, is a delightful bakery and patisserie by the name of Doppio.

Doppio outside.jpg

Zoltan Loranth is a self-trained pastry chef from Hungary, recently relocated to Wellington with his wife and Cafe Manager (different people!) from Nelson, after an original relocation from Hungary.

The decor is ‘little Europe’, with a large community table for sharing, a few ‘piazza’ tables out front, and smooth Billie Holiday-style tunes in the background.

My berry custard pastry was excellent, with the pastry still crispy (not easy with soft fillings), the berries sweet, and the custard smooth. And the sourdough loaf I took home for lunch excellent also.

Doppio is so going to become one of my regular walk routes (Hillside, Doppio, The Gardens cafe, I might never get out of Thorndon….!).

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I particularly liked that all products are hand-made with love and passion.

8am – 3pm Tuesday to Friday, 9am – 2pm Saturday and Sunday.

342A Tinakori Road.

 

Moss Caff

OMG, how did I not know about Moss Caff, which opened in the ASB Tower on Hunter Street at the end of 2016???

Moss decor

What gorgeous fresh, light, tasty, paleo and plant-based food (it’s okay carnivores, there’s meaty things too!).

The decor is warm, sunny and plant-y with lots of lovely open space, and if on your own, could quite happily sit at the window seats watching the world go by.

We enjoyed a mushroom stack with paleo bread, and a paleo spiced lamb and kumara pie. Both of which were superb. And had me immediately plotting my next visit.

ASB Tower, 2 Hunter Street.

Weekdays.

 

 

 

The Botanist at Lyall Bay

Having given them a month or so to settle in (that’s my excuse anyway!), I finally trucked out to the new Botanist at Lyall Bay for lunch.

Brought to us by the folks of Beach Babylon, Little Beer Quarter, and Basque, the point of difference here is that everything is vegetarian or vegan.

Botanist decor

The atmosphere is inviting – an old villa with views out to the south coast, a north facing garden / deck area and lots of light and plants indoors – and the staff were welcoming and friendly.

We tried out the pea, smoked brinza and zucchini fritters with pickled cucumber raita (with optional poached eggs), and the crumbed halloumi burger with herbed fries.

With the winner being the fritters (and my apologies, I just realised the pic is nearly all eggs!) with a pleasing texture and tangy raita offset. The burger was pleasant but nothing exciting and we struggled a bit to get herbiness off the fries, although they were nicely cooked. We probably should have tried one of the other burgers – marinated tempeh, or black bean, corn and pecan patty – to really sample something outside the norm.

The drinks cover all bases, with a range of local and NZ craft beers and ciders, all wines by the glass and bottle (virtually all NZ), and a bunch of appealing-sounding cocktails (Garden of Babylon with pea pods, Basil Crush, Flowerbed Martini, and Lavender Cosmo with lavender leaves). Unfortunately I was driving so kept to the non-alcoholic, which included the usual coffees, HardieBoys, Humble honey soda, Salty Dog apple and lime soda, smoothies, T Leaf organic teas etc. Next time.

I did chuckle at the drink menu saying ‘sorry we don’t serve marshmallows as they contain animal gelatin’, as we sat under a [wooden] deer head eating our vegetarian lunch!

Botanist deer

On the way out I saw the dinner menu (they’ve just started this week), and thought it contained more interesting dishes, so might head back for an evening soon.

Beware the place is apparently heaving at weekends (and was pretty full today at a Tuesday lunchtime) with a lot of flat surfaces, so fairly noisy. But bookings can be made online, so you should be able to pick your moment.

A pleasant addition to the South Coast.

219 Onepu Road, Lyall Bay

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