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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 tag “brunch”

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

 

 

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Comes and Goes

If you haven’t come and gone to Comes and Goes at Petone, you definitely should (Comes and Goes was named in the hope people would come and go all day long – and they certainly seem to be!).

Comes Goes decor

Comes and Goes is another in the stable of light, clean and predominantly plant-based eating (there are some meats, and copious use of eggs, but with a Korean background, Chef/Owner Sean has leaned the plant way, not the BBQ way).

And such an interesting selection of dishes (a multi-purpose daytime menu), that I’m going to bullet some below rather than describe them, as I simply won’t do them justice:

  • Rosewater yoghurt panna cotta, honey glazed muesli, berry compote, fruits, honey crumble, chocolate soil, freeze dried raspberries
  • Bibimbap mixed grains, puffed quinoa, mushroom, bean sprout, carrot, pickled daikon, seaweed salt, 63degC cooked egg, gochujang chilli paste, with minced beef or tofu.
  • Al’s sesame seed Ugly Bagel with mashed avocado, ricotta, dried tomato, 63degC cooked egg, fennel seeds, lime zest and paprika oil (pictured below)
  • Soba the Japanese noodle salad of daikon, carrot, bean sprout, red cabbage, spring onion, coriander, pickled ginger, sesame seeds, lemon wedge, with free range chicken or tofu (pictured below)
  • Cassoulet the French baked beans with duck fat, white beans, bacon, carrot, onion, mixed herbs, rosemary, 63degC cooked egg, and served with sourdough or gluten-free bread
  • The nest of pumpkin seed crumbed soft boiled eggs atop a filo pastry nest, feta and mesclun salad, and topped with beetroot ketchup (this was the dish I really, really wanted, but alas they’d served the last one just before I ordered – I did see it go past though, spectacular!).

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The dishes we had were beautifully presented, well balanced in flavour and texture, and I just wanted to stay all day and eat my way through the menu. It was that good.

I quite liked the under-stated decor, and an open kitchen you could see via a giant hole in the wall, but which kept some kitchen secrets and clutter to themselves.

They have a cabinet of cakes and slices available if you fancy afters, and I noticed a steady stream of locals coming and going (ha!) for coffee, so assume it’s good.

Be warned though – you can’t book and will likely have to put your name down then go for a wander up the street, there’s that many people coming and going (double ha!).

Comes Goes kitchen

Tuesday to Sunday, daytimes.

259 Jackson Street, Petone.

Beach House & Kiosk

The old Bach at Owhiro Bay has been taken over by the folks who created Elements.

bh-exterior

The physical layout of the Beach House & Kiosk feels pretty much the same to me, but now has a more seaside vibe, jazzed up the tables and railing out front (with the rail also doubling as bar-style seating), and I suspect a fairly significant investment into the kitchen.

Like Elements (and then later the Eat Street food truck), Scott and Zoe are focusing on fresh, seasonal, local and sustainable ingredients.

With a group of eight, I got to check out a range of breakfasts, all which met with approval:

  • crepes with seasonal fruit, lemon curd, coconut ice cream, maple syrup and candied walnuts (pretty and sweetly delicious)
  • a breakfast burger or two of Andouille sausage, streaky bacon, kasundi, fried egg, caramelised onion, rocket and halloumi (and if that wasn’t enough you could add duck fat potatoes for another $4!)
  • smoked kipper potato cakes with poached eggs, furikake and hollandaise (heavier on potatoes than kippers apparently, but tasty)
  • free-range soft scrambled eggs with free-range thick cut streaky bacon on sourdough (both boys who had this were voluble about the fantastic flavoured and textured fat in the streaky bacon)
  • baked spinach and tomato with smoked brinza, dukkah crusted egg and rocket (I’m so having that next time)
  • and a soft shell crab burger with wasabi mayo, lime cucumber, rocket, chilli jam and fries. Holy meeeoly.

And for me, washed down with a Salty Dog apple and lime soda. When at the seaside…

Other house sodas that caught my eye were the vanilla rhubarb and white cola. As well as the Storm and India organic premium coconut chai and almond macaroon teas, and the Whittaker’s iced chocolate. Beach House are also licensed with a simple range of wines and beers, but most of us didn’t get that far.

They’re currently doing daytimes, 7 days per week, but have recently advertised for additional staff so they can throw in a few nights as well.

410 The Esplanade, Island Bay

PS. The Kiosk is around the side doing frozen yoghurt, takeaway coffees etc on weekends and public holidays when its crazy inside and you just want a quickie (so to speak!).

 

 

 

Sterling on the Terrace

Sterling is a must-do.

This next venture from the Egmont Street Eatery folks is a bigger establishment on the Terrace where The Pub used to be, with a feature wood-fired oven.

Sterling oven

The decor is simple but classy-feeling; the staff professional, courteous and helpful; and the food the absolute standard we’ve come to associate with ESE.

On this first visit only a few days after opening, we enjoyed a late lunch of vanilla-rum baked French toast (divine) and a Wagyu burger (moist and flavourful, and although shoestrings are my least favourite chip, they were crispy and well cooked). They’ve taken care to make sure things are right from day one, super important in Wellington’s saturated dining market.

Sterling rum-vanilla baked french toast

Sterling wagyu burger

I spotted a whole bunch of things on the menus that appeal to me no end, so I’m delighted that Sterling are open 7 days, and only a block or so down from where I live.

The drinks include a typical range of beers, wines, spirits, digestifs and non-alcs, with good NZ representation. A couple of champagne options caught my eye, as well as there being several choices by the glass for most wine varietals. Nice. There are even a few big reserve bottles for those who like something altogether different.

Sterling brunch menu

Sterling dessert menu

I’m also currently trying to figure how to fit a couple of their delicious-looking scones into my WOAP schedule over the next week or two. I’m sure my inner planner is up to the task, even if my eyes prove to be bigger than my stomach.

Sterling scones 2

I’m not sure there’s much more I can say other than get thee to Sterling soon.

And check out their WOAP offerings (bookings recommended).

101 The Terrace.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

A Matterhorn resurgence

MH green bowl.jpgUPDATE: Matterhorn have ceased doing brunches and are back to 3pm onwards 7 days.

Matterhorn has been around a long time with various food styles. But recently has returned to an a’la’carte style with the return of Executive Chef Sean Marshall as co-owner.

They’ve also re-established weekend brunches, which are a delight in that lovely sunny courtyard (if only summer continued all year round!). With the menu being a mix of traditional dishes (corn fritters) and newer trends (smoothie bowls).

The service and ambience remains personable, they still do a cracking cocktail, their Sunday roasts remain one of the best around, and they still have a variety of live evening entertainment.

Full details here about the new brunch experience.

106 Cuba Street (down the corridor, not far from the bucket fountain)

MH courtyard

The Brooklyn Deli

I’ve been to the Brooklyn Deli twice now, and twice enjoyed the food and vibe. And I really like that they offer up something different to everywhere else, being Austrian.

BD pancake

The Kaiserschmarrn Emperors Pancake is sensational – shredded caramelised crepes souffle with plum compote. It was soft, sweet and crispy in all the right places, and totally pleasing in the belly (don’t be ashamed if you need to take some away in a doggy bag, apparently a common occurrence). Traditionally a dessert in Austria.

The avocado, feta and mint mash on house rye sourdough with poached eggs got the double thumbs up for flavours and textures, as did the Kas’nockn Austrian-style mac’n’cheese.

BD mac cheese

The mac’n’cheese is a softer dough either cut by hand or put through a collander to make the macaroni-like pieces, and topped with tangy cheese, so again super pleasing in the belly. I liked it much more than the standard wheat pasta version which can at times be chewy and denser in general.

The Viennese Breakfast was also pleasant, but a smidge disjointed by comparison to other dishes (typical European though).

BD Vienesse plate

Because of the interesting and different offerings, there’s plenty more I still want to try – the Speckknodel (bacon and sausage dumplings which also use up stale bread – efficient!) on Sauerkraut, the Austrian Beef Goulash, Bratwurst, and more – and that’s before getting to the counter goodies, which are house-baked and delicious.

The berry and mascarpone brioche galette was excellent and I rued that I’d only bought one to share for dessert. And I’m so going back soon for the apple strudel and vanilla custard. They will also make you a full length strudel with a little notice if you fancy one for a dinner party. Nice.

BD galette

Brooklyn Deli make a large range of breads for your take-home pleasure as well as showcasing a good selection of meats, cheeses, pastas, sauces, vinaigrettes and condiments (many European), as well as many local gourmet products like Six Barrel Soda and Fix and Fogg peanut butter. Their breads are often available at the Sunday City Market too.

The decor is warm and cosy with a rustic log wall and friendly welcoming staff, and it was easy and relaxing for catching up with friends.

BD strudel

I think a slide by before Xmas to pick up a gingerbread house and taste that strudel and custard is in order. Be rude not to wouldn’t it?

Tuesday to Sunday daytimes, Friday late night with a range of charcuterie boards, small plates and mains from the daytime menu.

199 Ohiro Road Bay (right next door to the Penthouse Cinema).

 

 

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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

Prefab, the post-script

Further to my previous post about Prefab, I’ve now been three times and do recommend a visit if you’re in the neighbourhood.

The only disappointment was three strike-outs on the brioche, blueberry and ricotta dish I’d spied on the menu the first time (and might have had a little salivary anticipation of).  The first time (1pm on a Saturday) there was none available, the second time (7.30am on a weekday) the brioche wasn’t ready yet, and the third time (10am on a Saturday) it was gone from the menu.

Prefab french toast

So french toast it was (and very pleasant too I might add).  As previously noted, there’s no frilly or fussy here, just simple and sincere in a friendly environment.  For $10, I expected one piece, so two (which I could hardly eat all of) was extremely good value for money.  Soft on the inside, crispy on the outside – perfectly done (in my humble opinion!).

I did have coffee this time, and enjoyed its smoothness, with him indoors noting an almost citrus tone to his long black (which pleased).

He also noted the details that make an interesting place – the funkiness of the main central ceiling fan (you’ll have to go looksee for yourself), the thick serviettes and teaspoons, and all the wait girls being very well groomed with matching red lippie. Followed by some musings about price points and cost models (as you do over breakfast!).

Do check out the bathrooms too when you visit. Nicely done, and (more importantly) a good indication of the overall standards of a place.

14 Jessie Street

 

 

 

 

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