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 “beer”

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.








Monteiths Wild Food Challenge time again…

And fortuitously ending up at Fork and Brewer in Bond Street.

Wild Food sign

Wild Dim Sim three ways – wild goat dumplings with leek, garlic and chili paired with chili oil; wild wallaby wontons, wallaby and rice noodle mix marinated in hoisin, sweet chili and ABC sauces, paired with .50 caliber hot sauce; wild boar spring rolls of cider slow braised boar, cabbage, carrot and English mustard. Accompanied by a bowl of noodles, vegetables and Asian-style master stock.


The platter was extremely well presented and I liked the effort in creating a number of different experiences within an overall themed (and complementary) dish.

Wild food platter

The Challenge menu came as a mini scroll topped and tailed by two empty bullet shells too.  Nicely done.

The goat and wallaby parcels in themselves weren’t strongly flavoured (and the dumplings a smidgen chewy at the top where they were gathered), but good meaty textures and lifted by the sauces in the bullet shells.  The boar spring rolls were stronger in flavour, and the accompanying Asian noodles and Double Hopped IPA all complemented well (and I wouldn’t usually vote for an IPA at all).

Kudos to the Manager who (a) noticed me struggling to get one of the bullet shells out of its platter mooring without splattering all and sundry and (b) immediately raced out to the kitchen to grab me another.

Wild Food dessert

And at the end of that little lot, there was the offering of a $3 mini-dessert of vanilla ice cream with ginger and nut praline crumbs, as they’d noticed a number of people not getting through the whole bottle of IPA with the platter (of course he who had a boring burger fancied a little dessert too, so beer cinnamon donuts also found their way to our table!).

The staff at Fork and Brewer have always been spot on in my times there, and their standard ‘pub’ menu has some interesting offerings (manuka smoked duck salad), so worth a visit even if you’re not Wild Fooding.

As to the rest of the July Challenge, I’m rather fancying the SOI ‘History of the Hunt’ rabbit offering and the Realm Bar and Bistro ‘Wild Boar Meatball Burger’ (the appeal of rewana (Maori) bread with hand cut chunky kumara wedges alongside wild boar).

Have you got your Wild Food game on?








Pickle Jar pizza…

An evening with friends at Karori and a 2-metre pizza.  Yep, you heard it here, a 2m pizza.  At the Pickle Jar Neighbourhood Pub.

Pickle Jar pizza

They actually sell them in 1/2m and 1m lengths but offered us 2m for $90 given there were 10 of us.

And the most impressive thing (other than the pomegranate – not pink mind – shirt wearer)? One person carrying this long (weighty) board alone and skilfully sliding it down the centre of the table.

We chose four toppings – Margeurita (simple and traditional), Capricciosa (artichokes, salami, olives, Il Zucca (chicken, pumpkin, zucchini, pinenuts) and Amore (pepperoni, choirzo, ham, bacon, bbq sauce).

The pizza was thin crust and the toppings plentiful.

Verrrrrrry impressive.  And about the right amount for 10 (not bad at $9 each).

For another occasion we noted the gourmet pizza selections including venison, lamb shank and scotch fillet.  Also by the 1/2m.

The pomegranate shirt-wearer decided on a pint of beer brewed for the Pickle Jar, and it delightfully came in a pickle jar with a handle.

Again, a nice touch.

Pickle Jar pickles

There are also a range of pickle jars around the place, including all sorts of interesting fruits and vegetables above the bar (animal, vegetable, mineral?), candle holders hanging on the wall out front, and many of the light fittings throughout the bar.

For a sunny afternoon there was outside seating on a pleasant-looking deck, and the service was friendly and helpful.

Again for another occasion, a dessert of cheesecake in a jar was spied on the menu, so that sounds worth a look (purely for research purposes you understand).

This is definitely another place worthy of a visit, even though it might be slightly off your normal beaten path.

And any kids around (big and small) will love it.

They do also offer a range of mains and non-pizza meals, but I really think you’d have to come here for pizza.

Found at 5 Parkvale Road, Karori.

Do have a look at their website too.  Quite funky with more to come.

Pickle Jar Pint






Fork and Brewer, Bond Street

And so the Wednesday night wander has rolled around again (along with the rain). Having wandered past the Fork and Brewer on the weekend and thinking we should try it out again (having only been for a beer previously), here we are…

The boys from Malthouse are the main drivers behind this consortium, and they know what they’re doing in terms of decor, details and customer service.  There are lots of interesting little touches like different handles on all of the beer taps (and there are many) from utensils to tools to a hose head to a gun, a mix of booths, leaners, tables, balcony and relaxing couchy spaces, and a xmas tree made of beer bottles with twinkly lights.  Cute.

AND the brewing tanks and equipment are in the process of being installed (we wondered if they might be ex-Macs actually).  In fact, we had a wee table overlooking  the balcony right where they lifted another big piece of brewery structure in whilst we were there.  Entertainment as well as food and drink!

So the drink of the night was a Renaissance Barley Wine (one keg only available), which would have been rude to go past.  Actually it was rather unexpected.  We were imagining a pale drink like a dry lager.  But in fact it was rich amber, almost a bit thick in taste like a light stout, quite sweet and definitely not hoppy (yay!).  Very tasty.  Unlike in Vanuatu (where I discovered their beers are quite light, sweetish and not hoppy), I restrained myself from drinking all of R’s beer tonight.

And the meals were perfectly pleasant.  In fact probably a notch above that.  I had a light  Tandoori Chicken Salad with crispy noodles, turmeric potato and chili peanut dressing.  Very tasty.  And R had the pork burger off the snack menu (and a beery caramelly bread and butter pudding, just to be sure!), which also was interesting in that the bun was a thin light turkish style as opposed to the usual bigger boring burger bun (go the b’s…..), with a large home made style pork patty and the ubiquitous fries.  Not bad at all.

Nice and easy, a notch above usual large beer bars, and relatively close by.  We’ll definitely be back.

20 Bond Street.

POSTSCRIPT: And a few more recent F&B images:



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