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 tag “American / Burgers”

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.








Butcher and Brewer, Petone

BB smoke headerI’d heard good things about Butcher and Brewer, so dug my passport out and went to meet friends at Petone.

B&B is the reincarnation of the old Empire tavern (same owners), and has a nice warm vibe, with decor that made me think of the many swizzy suburban pubs done up in recent years by the breweries or other local cooperatives (gastropub being the technical term these days).

Their point of difference is that they’re into meat, traceable to the grower or supplier, and braised, smoked or slow roasted themselves.

There’s a fair range of mainstream beers and wines, and a selection of BB meat plattercocktails, cocktails, shooters and non-alcs. I had a chuckle at the Bloody Butcher cocktail (equal parts of pepper and citron vodka with spiced tomato juice, worchester sauce and lime served with celery, spinach and crispy smoked bacon) and then settled for a Mac’s ginger beer (driving) which wouldn’t overpower the food.

Most of the meals were served on wooden boards (very appealing), and all had some degree of smokiness. Like many other places these days, a mac’n’cheese side is de rigeur. The half porker was BB haloumi pumpkinjudged moist and satisfying, the cheeky chicken (infused with basil and wrapped in bacon) also moist and flavourful, and both boys commented on the pleasant spinach (what?!). The chargrilled haloumi on spiced butternut puree with spinach and oil got the big thumbs up and the house smoked meatloaf sliders also hit the spot nicely. The side salads were well dressed (not overdressed) and included many crisp colours and textures.

BB meatloaf slidersWe didn’t make it to dessert, but I noted the mini donut medley, and cookies and cream ice cream layered in a mason jar with either chocolate or strawberry sauce for next time.

Although the restaurant area was full, we could easily hear each other and the background was just a nice ambient buzz, along with a bit of retro toe-tapping music and associated videos on the wall to reminisce to.

B&B have a children’s menu, and a number of nooks and crannies if you want a more private or large group session, and various weekday specials. Hard not to be pleased here really.

7 days from 10am (Fri/Sat/Sun) or 11am (rest week).

175 Jackson Street, Petone.
BB MenuBB decorBB cutlery

Wellington on a Plate 2013 (Part 1)

I have to talk about this, sorry!  There’s just so much wonderful food around at the moment.  And the good news is there’s still a week left to partake in many of these…

Muse pork pieFirstly, the set dinner at Muse on Allen.  Elegant refined food heading into fine dining territory. They definitely deserve their 2013 WOAP restaurant award (pictured here the Goodbye Pork Pie entree). The only issue I have with Muse is each time I come away thinking they’re in the fine dining territory in terms of food (portion size, cleverness, pricing) but their environment  and service isn’t what you’d expect for fine dining so there’s a sight disconnect for me.

Portlander moolander


Secondly, the Portlander moolander burger. Pretty damned good and very filling.  A decent wagyu pattie, and divine truffle steak fries.  I particularly liked the bun being brioche for something different.

Zico salmon burger


Thirdly, the Zico Salmon Flatbread burger.  Extremely delicious and very nicely done in my opinion. Georgous bread, tender salmon, fantastic polenta fries, and incredibly tasty pesto beneath a ball of bocconcini.


Then the Kai and Kakapo at Zealandia.  In the interests of not repeating myself too much, follow this link to my Wellingtonista post which has all the details (photos here because it was just so pretty).  But suffice it to say that this one has stayed strongly in the memory and was impressively done (including them growing and harvesting all their own natives for it).

Zealandia entreeZealandia dessert







Sadly French chocolat was cancelled on Friday due to pesky earthquakes (building needing inspection and clearance before re-use) and it’s likely to be re-scheduled for this coming Friday when one has other foodie engagements, doh!  Will have to live vicariously through a friend for that one now.

And lastly (for this week), the Artisan high-5 sliders. Delightfully presented, interestingly different, and mostly pretty tasty (I wasn’t such a fan of the dessert one as the mousse squished – technical word – straight out the side and the proportion of donut to filling was a bit much for me).

One week to go, bring it on….!

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