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 Tours around the city…

Archive for the category “Coffee / Cocktails”

Get thee to Sixes and Sevens

The name Sixes and Sevens for the wee cafe on Taranaki Street behind Burger Fuel is an inside joke given Rob’s never been at sixes and sevens in his life.

six-seven-exterior

He started out as a fine dining patissier in Auckland, dabbled in catering, and then moved into the cafe and deli space, discovering you can choose what to bake every day. Eureka!

So Rob bakes what he’d like to eat himself, using local, fresh and seasonal ingredients. His like of order is evident in the presentation of the cabinets, the food itself and the calm excellence of the staff.

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The salad I enjoyed was a blend of several, with natural goodness (over-saucing is a pet hate), and presented very nicely for eat-in. At $10 for a satisfying lunch, how could you go wrong?

I then enjoyed a spinach and spring onion scone, which had a crispy exterior and soft flavourful interior. They were four different scones that day, so plenty of choice.

And I kicked myself all afternoon for not slipping the single remaining pear brioche into my bag for dessert too, as it looked so appealing. Next time if I’m lucky!

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Sixes and Sevens first came to my attention through Wellington on a Plate last year, when they were part of the pop-up donut store at Moore Wilsons.

And they do great donuts. There were both lemon cheesecake, and the classic cream buns still going in the early afternoon when I was there. So this is the place to come if you have a donut itch (check out their donut Saturday event this coming Saturday 11 Feb).

There was also a bunch of teas and cold drinks, Havana coffee, and apparently, damn good smoothies. With every flavour under the sun, and every superfood shot or protein supplement you could imagine, I suspect they just might live up to that claim (who knew there was such a thing as Amazonia raw immune supplement??).

If you keep an eye on their Facebook page, you’ll see what’s up each day, and can plan accordingly.

Monday to Friday, 7am-4pm (3pm closure on Fridays).

51 Taranaki Street

 

Husk on Ghuznee

Apologies for the hiatus folks, a family death, a property settlement and xmas interrupted the eating and drinking with gay abandon for a few weeks. But back in business now.

Husk Bar and Eatery has opened on Ghuznee Street opposite Glover Park, down a hallway marked by a barrel on the street.

This is the brainchild of the Choice Bros craft beer brewers (who do some interesting concoctions – including a bull semen beer for the Greenman pub a year or two ago!), and the Karamu Coffee folks. To bring you a micro-brewery (some parts yet to arrive and craft brewing to get under way soon after that), a coffee roastery (Karamu is currently in an industrial part of Seatoun), and quality eats (they’ve pinched two chefs with significant Wellington experience at places like Shed 5, Pravda, Shepherd and Ancestral).

The long-term vision is to have all their own beers on tap, both the coffee and beer matching the food, and some interesting amalgamations like barrel aged coffee. Ambitious.

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So the venture has just begun, and will develop more over the next three months. But my first visit today left me pretty impressed with the effort that’s gone into it so far. From the main decor down to the cutlery containers on the tables, the quality of the food, and the service.

We sampled the Choice Bros ‘Strung out on Lasers’ raspberry and lime sour (a little sweet and sour and quite quaffable), the coffee (well-made with subtle flavours), and the Bach Brewing ‘Duskrider’ Red IPA (reasonably hoppy). I particularly liked that one could get a 150ml tasting size ($4-$5), and try several if so inclined, and that the whole venue is smoke-free.

And although it was 1pm, the breakfast menu was still offered as well as the lunch, so I enjoyed the fried Jamaican Ginger cake with vanilla mascarpone and poached rhubarb, and the chip fiend enjoyed the house crumpets with bourbon butter and Husk preserves.

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You’ll see above that the presentation was very good, and the flavours and textures were well balanced and done with a light hand (no drowning of anything here). They also bake in-house, so easy to pop by for a coffee and scone.

Definitely a place to watch with interest.

7am to late, 7 days.

62 Ghuznee Street

 

 

 

 

 

Machete – Guatemalan coffee and tacos

As mentioned in a recent Word on the Street post, Paul and Cesar have brought some Guatemala home to Wellington.

machete-guat-people

They are both very passionate about their relationship with Guatemala (Cesar’s heritage), and the word ‘earthy’ comes up a lot in conversation. Many people there only have the basics, so they’re masters as using whatever’s to hand to spice up their lives, including the spices in the food.

At Machete, you enjoy single origin Supreme coffees roasted for the gentler siphon or V60 brewing methods, or you can still get a standard espresso if you fancy. Paul is very knowledgeable about coffee and happy to share information.

There’s also a range of coffee accessories and some interesting teas available for purchase if you fancy.

On the food front, the breakfast menu is small but tasty (check out the bircher parfait with cherries below; and the kiwifruit, ricotta and honey on Leeds Street toast), while the lunch menu mostly focuses on the tacos.

What makes these tacos Guatemalan is the use of chilli (judiciously), and simple un-adorned ingredients. You can choose one, two or three, which gives the option of trying all fillings, or mixing and matching to suit your personal preferences (including one vegetarian).

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I had two and found them both to be fresh, light, and well balanced in flavour and texture, and interestingly, a good match with the coffee. And if you fancy afters, there’s a very Kiwi hokey pokey biscuit, or scones and one or two other house-baked goodies.

Machete make all of their food and fillings in-house, with only the taco shells coming from other specialists, so you truly are getting hand-crafted and quality food.

Monday to Friday 7.30am-3.30pm, Saturdays 9am-4pm.

9 Boulcott Street.

 

Tasty Tokeyo

Tokeyo is the new venture by the Wellington Hospitality Group (Munchen, Coene’s, Bethel Woods, and many other suburban bars), in the former Vivo premises. And should definitely be on your must-try list (assuming you like Japanese food).

Developed under the hand of Vincent Lombino of Hideaway fame, Tokeyo hits all the right notes in terms of decor, mood, authentic Japanese food (albiet with a little dab of Korean here and there courtesy of Chef Kim’s background), and excellent service.

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A couple in my group have lived in Japan, and were able to explain some of the finer points like the Okonomiyaki being the Osaka style where ingredients are mixed first before cooking, as opposed to the Hiroshima style where they build layer by layer.

The freshness and execution was excellent, with the pork gyoza being a lovely mix of al dente-ness and porky softness, the grilled eggplant sauce so good I licked the plate clean, and the rainbow rolls so tender and flavourful that I nearly didn’t share.

Tokeyo desserts are sake, whisky or dessert cocktails, so we finished with a lightly warming pear-flavoured Gekkeikan sake while contemplating what to try next time.

And then checked out the beauty and precision of the sushi master at work behind the bar, including some pretty nifty blowtorch skills!

They have a DJ later on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings; do lunches on Fridays; have an excellent big group dining table; and are available for hire on Sundays and Mondays. Too easy.

From 4pm Tuesday to Saturday, and from noon Fridays.

19 Edward Street

 

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. And one of the country’s best and most innovative cocktail makers.

Definitely worth a jaunt out to Miramar.

 

 

 

Mojo St James

Mojo have added another cafe to their enterprise, not dissimilar to Poneke, with food created by Martin Bosley and steampunk and cold brew coffees featured. The decor is light, bright and airy, and a nice fit with the theatre foyer.

Additional to dishes you will recognise from Poneke (yes the fab super grain salad is here too), is a section of ‘on bread’ gourmet sandwiches made to order and served nicely on wooden boards if eating in, or packable for takeaway. These range from $9 to $16, include some interesting ingredients, and can also be provided on Paleo Pantry gluten free bread if desired.

Pictured below is the smoked fish, beet caviar, caper and lemon on wholemeal, which was tasty with quality smoked fish. My recommendation is to eat in to get the full experience.

And I couldn’t go past my favourite Greek yoghurt mousse, thyme honey, poached figs and granola crumble either (yep more than just my mouth doing the dining!)…

MSJ yog mousse

 

Mojo SJ are also in the process of applying for their liquor licence and intend to open for pre-show dinners and possibly post-show nibbles in the near future (currently 7 days until 4/5pm, but later openings from 26 February to 20 March for the Arts Festival). I imagine enjoying casual but quality food and drink here will do nothing but add to the pleasure of an evening at the theatre.

St James Theatre, 77 Courtenay Place

 

Happy birthday Astoria!

Check out details about Astoria’s 20th birthday happening soon.

If you’re an Astoria fan, I’m sure you’ll want to help them celebrate.

And they are also one of our iconic coffee places, roasting their own in the cafe in the wee smalls of each morning.

Hanging Ditch cocktails

Tucked in beside Goldings Free Dive Bar is the newest addition in the Eva-Leeds laneway – the Hanging Ditch cocktail bar.

The bar is compact with a nice vibe, and spaces for lounging, or more upright pursuits (like lifting one’s glass), and a short menu for food and drink alike (there are wines and beers as well, but it was the cocktail’s I’d gone to check out). The point to the short menu is so it can be creative and changed regularly.

The cocktails include very local ingredients (Fix and Fogg smoke and fire peanut butter, WCF Peruvian chocolate, Six Barrel salad cucumber and mint soda), as well as some more unusual (organic bee pollen, umami salt, salted pistachio orgeat).

The food leaned savoury and a little retro (popcorn shrimp, crumbed camembert or salami toastie), but given we are on our way to dinner, I’ll have to return to check these out.

The Flowers’ Peaches and Cream cocktail with organic bee pollen, peach, lemon juice, sugar-free soda and albumen (or egg white for us lay folk) was sweetly unsweet with pleasing bits of texture courtesy of the pollen. And the Earth, Wind, Peanut Butter and Fire was smoky, tangy and moorish.

The focus of the bar is the forest of 2m long bungies from the ceiling holding all their myriads of bottles (short staff need not apply!), the fuller ones the lower hanging fruit, so to speak. Pretty funky, and a definite talking point. I’m sure I’ve read about the same concept overseas, but it may well be the first of its kind in Godzone.

A fun addition to the laneway. I’m definitely going back.

Tuesday to Sunday 3pm til midnight.

14 Leeds Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another cup of java…

I’m seeing new coffee places everywhere lately.

Firstly there’s the new flagship shops for both Supreme and Mojo, selling an array of single origin coffees, coffee equipment and accessories, and keen to teach you anything you could possibly wish to know about coffee.

Supreme has moved from Woodward Lane to a bigger, brighter space on the edge of Midland Park next to Soho Brown. They do cupping sessions at 10am Wednesdays if you want to go further than just sampling the filtered coffees they have on brew each day, or are very happy to help you decide what interesting single origin you’d like to take home (pays to pop by and book your slot for the cupping).

Mojo’s Beanery is in the ground entrance of Lambton Square. You can experience a steampunk coffee (a version of filtered), and again buy interesting single origins to take home, with any kind of accessory you desire. Both places have exceptionally welcoming, friendly and helpful staff, so don’t be shy.

On the slightly more cafe front, Zumo is now open on the corner of Tory and Wakefield, as is Franks on The Terrace (probably others around town I just haven’t tripped over yet!).

Zumo breakfastZumo’s new Wellington premises are along similar lines to their Nelson HQ – large, airy, and warehousey. There’s a load of indoor and outdoor seating, a range of single origins and blends to try (with very helpful large descriptions on the wall) and counter food that includes at least some from French CanCan (I saw Sophie slide by with a food box while there…).

Although I’m a decaf drinker and they can often be a bit nebulous, my Swiss decaf was flavourful and made me think dark caramel. I thoroughly enjoyed a quiet read of the paper and wee graze in that lovely airy space. Daytime 7 days, from 7am weekdays, 8am weekends.

Franks buildingAnd then theres Franks on the Terrace (opposite PWC tower in the space that’s had a chequered past – most recently Bureau wine bar), part way up the hill.

I like the crisp, white, clean feel of the place, and the staff are similarly well presented, professional and competent. Using Red Rabbit Roastery coffee, and bakery food from the Leeds Street Bakery, you’ll feel quite at home here in a Mojo/Leeds Street blended kind of way.

Again my decaf was flavourful, well made, and had the word toasty popping into my head. There’s plenty of seating upstairs, and there was a nice ambience from people coming and going enjoying quality fare while I was there. Monday to Friday daytimes, 6.30am opening.

 

 

 

Ti Kouka

Its been years since I’ve talked about Ti Kouka in a dedicated way, so figure an update is due. Because they are that good.

TK smoked fish potato

They’ve matured into a consistently high standard daytime cafe, serving delicious well-executed food with interesting components.

TK muesli

Something as simple as muesli is still out of the ordinary – coconut muesli with puffed amaranth, hazelnuts, plum and Ti Kouka yoghurt (the hazelnuts both in the muesli and separately as a crumb) – and the smoked sardines and potato with sour cream, preserved tomato, poached egg and bacon vin got two thumbs up. I’m pleased to report that there was enough fruit and yoghurt to go with the muesli and not a mountain of muesli beneath (a pet hate).

Ti Kouka pork

Shep (co-owner and Executive Chef) has long been a proponent of the Longbush black pork and you will find it used throughout the menu – pulled pork sandwich, as bacon, and on this recent platter in several guises. Others around town are now cottoning onto the quality of Longbush as well.

And both Jesse and Alice work the coffee machine like the pro’s they are, turning out faultless Red Rabbit coffees (a joint venture next to their Leeds Street bakery).

Red Rabbit coffee cookie

TK do degustations from time to time (the most recent an art focused one where you got to take home the featured artist’s work as part of the dinner), and are conscious consumers supporting Kaibosh food rescue, as well as composting and recycling wherever possible.

If you’re just after coffee, I’d recommend you make room for one of their famed salted caramel cookies, a fresh baked muffin (which is kind of a work of art by itself) or a slice of their macadamia cheesecake if there’s any going (I’d nearly walk over hot coals for that).

TK decor

The cafe is always busy and buzzing, so pick your moment, or be prepared to hang out at the tables in the counter area until a spot opens up. And yes, they are licensed if you fancy a glass of wine with that delish cheesecake. And yes, the art changes regularly, so you have something different to contemplate each time you visit.

Monday to Saturday daytimes, from 7.30am weekdays and 9.30am Saturdays.

76 Willis Street (upstairs).

TK tables

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