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 tag “brunch”

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.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Long Beach at Waikanae

And for the lazy finish to a weekend of eating (last weekend!), a fine Sunday called for a brunch ride up the coast.

Waikanae felt about the right stopping distance, so a return visit to Long Beach was the go.

Long Beach

Long Beach is a peaceful spot at the beach with pleasant outdoor areas (next door to The Front Room), including a mini glass-house growing tomatoes and seedlings.

The brunch options that appealed were the Long Beach toasted muesli with house made mascarpone, and the strawberry brioche french toast (also with house made mascarpone).

Both were delicious, although the mascarpone was the texture of runny cream rather than the expected thicker cheese-like texture.

Long Beach french toast

The coffee was good, and the service welcoming and friendly.

The lunch and dinner menus look good too, so another place worth a side excursion to if passing Waikanae.

With a wee wander up over the dune opposite to check out the sea after, what more could you ask for a cruisy weekend brunch.

40 Tutere Street, Waikanae Beach.

Thorndon toddle (and toddy)

After not wandering around Thorndon for a while, two opportunities abounded over a couple of days.

Firstly, brunch at Leafee on Sunday on the recommendation of (and with) a friend.  Delicious!

Cinnamon pancakes with raspberries, pistachios, vanilla mascarpone, banana and maple syrup.  Mmmm.

The mushrooms and feta on grainy toast looked pretty damn fine as well.

Leafee is run by Japanese folks who convert fully to Japanese fare at night. They are very friendly and welcoming, and I’m told the evening experience is pretty good too, so will be back.  I’d suggest booking for the evening given Leafee is in a small villa, and note that you order at the counter during the day (so don’t sit there waiting!). 320 Tinakori Road.

The mid-week evening graze and tipple happened at the Sprig and Fern at 342 Tinakori Road (courtesy of traffic snarl around The Terrace).

Originating out of the Nelson Sprig and Fern, this craft beer bar is also in an old Thorndon villa and looked to be a popular spot for the locals.

The food is house platters and sandwiches or Siggy’s pies, both of which accompany beers nicely.

The decor is cosy, there’s an outside garden bar for the hardy (10C at the time), the staff are friendly, and there’s a 9 square word jumble on the wall for those attempting to ward off alzheimers (and for those with vision problems the letters are O, M, I, A, A, T, X, C, I). Please submit all guesses via the comments!

There’s a small upstairs room with tables, but its a bit austere and quiet up there, so wasn’t as appealing as the downstairs.

All in all very pleasant, and will call by again when in the area needing a beer.

 

 

 

 

 

Olive Cafe and Restaurant, Cuba Street

NOTE: Olive are expanding their vegetarian and vegan dishes. And their food and service has improved markedly since below (ownership re-organisation).

After a failure to launch fully on a sunny Sunday ride (sadly an italian breakdown and truck ride home), a wander up Cuba Street for brunch/lunch became the next chosen activity.

Olive has had a change in ownership in recent times with the new management emerging from portions of the original.

With it has come a slight decor revamp of added art, leather dining benches, plants, and courtyard upgrade, making the cafe feel more welcoming and less austere.

I have partaken of both a weekday counter late lunch (slice of pizza) and Sunday menu brunch/lunch in recent times, and whilst pleasant on both occasions, there was nothing distinguishing about either.

The late lunch snack was more peaceful, whilst the Sunday brunch was on a busy WOW weekend, with the cafe running at full tilt.

Although the menu had 4 or 5 pancake options (one of which had my attention), I was informed that all the pancakes were unavailable as they’d all flown out the door. Hmmm.  Hard to whip up another batch of batter?

So the next choice was creamy mushrooms on grainy toast with fresh herbs and lemon sardines with poached eggs on bruschetta. Not a lot of herbs on the mushrooms, but flavourful and not too creamy.

The sardines presentation I thought quite funky, but him indoors thought it a bit cheeky to merely take the lid off a can of cold sardines and plonk them on a plate beside two poached eggs on toast (below).

The coffee was considered okay, but did take some long time to get to us after ordering.

And the service was fairly minimal, having to order at the counter and being given cutlery to take back to the table with us.

So overall pleasant enough, and quite possibly a good spot for a quiet coffee and cake stop of an afternoon, but probably not distinctive enough to be forefront in my mind when considering brunch locations in the Cuba area.

They appear, however, to be working hard to develop their evening dining, and pictures of the newly covered garden courtyard and dinner meals on their facebook page are appealing, so possibly worth a go there one evening to check out progress on that front.

170 Cuba Street

Aro Cafe

Delicious as always.  Good service.  Great ambience.  Fantastic food.  Nothing more to be said really.

French toast with baked tamarillos, poached rhubarb and yoghurt……

Open seven days.

 

 

 

 

Karaka Cafe at the Wharewaka

More friends coming through town and another brunch to be had.  What hardship!

Given their intention to park around the waterfront, Karaka cafe in the Wharewaka sprung to mind as a new place close by for them to try.  Although not outdoor weather particularly, the cafe feels welcoming (probably due to the lively colours and plants) and still provided pleasant water and city views.

A range of brunches were opted for including muesli with yoghurt and banana, avocado and tomato on grainy toast, eggs on toast, toast with peanut butter, and french toast with bacon, banana and butterscotch.  Other than the grainy toast selection, the toast provided was toasted traditional rewana bread.  Rewana bread using a potato started instead of the usual yeast starter.  Commented on as different and tasty.

One of the unique factors of this cafe is the use of maori titles and descriptions and inclusion of traditional foods or ingredients (rewana bread, horopito, hangi mash, etc).  A simple way for visitors to get an introduction to this part of NZ’s culture.

The coffee served was Mojo’s and met with everyone’s approval (twice I’ve been surprised by the coffee exceeding expectation here now, huh), and the pick of the breakfasts in my (humble!) opinion is the french toast (no carbohydrate bias here at all your honour…).  All those soft caramelly textures and tastes, with the contrast of bacon.  Mmmmmmm.

They also offer a good selection of counter foods, platters and wine (imagining a nice sunny afternoon), and have a range of beers including some from our local brewers.

The service again was slow and had to be chased along once or twice, so still not right in that regard, but otherwise very pleasant, something different, and I’m going back for dinner sometime soon to check that out too.

 

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