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 tag “cafe”

Salt and Wood at Waikanae

I found myself at Waikanae this week and tried out the new Salt and Wood Collective, run by the folks who have North End Brewing, Long Beach and the previously-posted Olde Bakery (so they know what they’re doing).

salt-wood-entry

Salt and Wood is an American-style barbecue brew pub. They brew on site (you can see it through the glass), you can fill your flagons and taste the treasures onsite (they do a specific Salt and Wood range), as well as enjoy food (mostly) cooked in a large American smoker oven.

There’s a bunch of deals throughout the week like Mexican Mondays, $10 Burger Tuesdays, and Pork Rib Fridays. As well as live music on Saturdays from 3pm.

So, given it was brunch time I figured I’d better try the breakfast sandwich, which I imagined as a BLT-style sandwich in dense grainy bread (no idea why) and turned out to be a full on burger!

salt-wood-bfast-swich

The components were clearly quality, and generous, with all meats ethically raised, and as much local as possible.

The menu ranges across spent grain granola; house smoked fish with avocado, buttermilk cream and pickles on spent grain bread; a caesar salad with pulled chicken and maple bacon; a ‘kitchen sink’ sandwich (pork, brisket and gravy); dirty fries (meat and gravy); tacos, quesadillas and much more.

Alas we didn’t make it to dessert, but I wouldn’t have minded a go at the Black Bottom Pie or Baked Cherry Cheesecake.

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I was amused by the very large knife we received with our cutlery (great for keeping the opposition away from one’s food!), enjoyed their house-made sauces (you can usually buy to take home but they’d run out this time), and was impressed by the service (relaxed but efficient).

I will most certainly be back.

7 days and nights.

11 Ngaio Road, Waikanae (right across from the town centre carpark).

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!).

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Delicious Deluxe

I’ve been away for a few weeks, and now ready to rock the last quarter of the year (how on earth did we get to October so fast?).

Given Deluxe Cafe on Kent Terrace is one of my favourite cafes, it wasn’t a surprise that my feet took me there on my first morning back.

I really enjoy their funky atmosphere, fresh and tasty vegan and vegetarian food (and a little for carnivores), excellent service, and ever-changing art – currently Stu Morris. And their great coffee, with a friend telling me they’re one of the few places who can make it properly hot for him.

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Given I was doing a sconealicious post for Word on the Street, I made a beeline for Deluxe’s three cheese and buttermilk – crispy exteriored and tenderly cheesy inside, as worthy as their orange and date.

I thought I’d better take a wee treat home for the chip fiend too since he was back at work without the extra day’s grace, so snaffled one of the appealing-looking hazelnut, spelt and orange cookies. Dense and flavourful, it also went west pretty fast.

They do lots of salads, wraps, quiches, soups, sweets and slices (very similar in style to Midnight Espresso in Cuba Street, and Maranui Cafe at Lyall Bay – long ago connections), but don’t have a kitchen, so cabinet items only.

Deluxe is a Wellington must-do. And when you do, take home one of their delicious shortcake slices for dessert as well, mmmmm.

7 days, daytimes from 7am weekdays, 8am weekends.

10 Kent Terrace

 

 

Blue Belle at Island Bay

I went on a long walk around the city yesterday and found myself at the Blue Belle Cafe in Island Bay.

Online reviews talk a lot about their pies, and they do have a few, but their cabinet fare looked appealing too, as well as there being a menu of typical breakfasts, Mexican dishes, burgers and fries.

Blule Belle busker

The decor is funky, there are tables out the front for sunny days (or on this particular occasion, to be sung to!), and the service was friendly.

To cover all bases (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it), I decided on something savoury  and something sweet. Since the pies are talked about I chose a vegetable korma. The pastry was indeed light and flaky, and the filling pleasingly korma-ish, however I didn’t find any chunks of vegetables as I’d expected. Maybe they were pureed into the sauce given it had a reasonably thick texture.

The custard square was the standout of the two, again with flaky pastry (someone knows what they’re doing with pastry), a slightly lemon custard filling that was soft but not a squirter, and a sweet passionfruit icing. Overall a sweet number, with a good balance of flavours and textures.

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I’m keen to come back and try the generously filled paninis, and the tasty-looking salads, or maybe even the pulled pork ciabatta with cajun kumara fries. So another place on the ‘repeat’ list. If only there were more than 24 hours in the day….

Daytimes 7 days.

148 The Parade, Island Bay.

 

 

Nifty Neo

I’ve been working up the parliament end of town for a chunk of time now, but am finally off the hook and recently (coupla weeks ago now!) had the chance to stop into Neo rather than just notice it always looks busy when dashing past.

I arrived at 1145am-ish and was easily able to get a seat, but noted that by 1230pm there were queues for tables. The cabinet has a few fresh and tasty looking sandwiches and bowls of salad if you’re just after an in and out.

I chose the avocado, tomato and Zany Zeus chili feta on sourdough from the breakfast menu, which was light, fresh and well presented. The avocado wasn’t too ripe or firm, the tomatoes ditto, and the chili feta the right amount to enhance without overpowering. I could even taste the sour notes from the bread beneath, so well executed all round.

The drinks range from the $4 bottomless filter coffee, to Six Barrel sodas, and a range of interesting Ritual Tea Company teas (I’m eyeing up the ‘Shot in the Arm’ for next time).

It’s easy to forget these little local cafes that chug on day after week after year, but in fact some of them are real little gems. I intend to cruise back in for a weekend breakfast soon.

They also offer catering and function services, and venue hire, and I think would be a great place to order a cake for that next work shout…

Keep up the good work guys.

132 Willis Street

Neo decor

 

 

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.

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

Adelaide Trading Co Licensed Deli

Just a couple of doors down from the Goose Shack, and opposite the Gramercy Bakery, we now have the Adelaide Trading Co Licensed Delicatessen at Beramphore.

So it’d be rude not to visit on the way back from the airport right? (although being the morning after Beervana, we didn’t test out the licensed bit…..).

Adelaide Road

John and Z (Snook) opened ATC in June of this year and are settling into their groove. They make a bunch of their own products which they use in their dishes and you can take home if you fancy (grapefruit marmalade, house-smoked kippers, pickled vegetables, sourdough loaves), and use others’ where they have yet to tread or there’s a great product available (sauerkraut, Blackball salami, light rye loaves).

Adelaide rueben

While waiting for our spicy baked beans on crushed spuds and a Reuben sandwich, John whipped up a fresh carrot-based juice for me, which was smooth and creamy with a light orange back note lending a little sweetness. Nice.

The Rueben here is done on lightly toasted light rye with a good ratio of sauerkraut, corned beef and swiss cheese. Being made with a lighter touch overall than some traditional Rueben’s you didn’t need a crowbar to wrench your jaw open super wide and it sat well in the stomach after. I also liked the quality of the grainy mustard on the side for my own mix and match pleasure.

Adelaide beans

The baked beans were lightly spiced and went well with the baked potatoes beneath, although could have done with a smidge more seasoning; a very rustic and pretty dish.

There were also daily specials on the blackboard, and the cabinet had many appealing offerings including delicious-looking mince and cheese pies (next time), fritata’s, vegan slices, hand-made sandwiches, and a whole raft of treats for after (including these fab ninja cookies made locally at Hataitai by the Royal Icing Academy, apparently also the business for celebration cakes).

Adelaide ninjas

And we got to watch the karate class in action through the glass at the rear while chowing down.

A convivial atmosphere, pleasant food and entertainment to boot. What more could you want in your local neighbourhood deli?

Daytimes Monday to Sunday.

469 Adelaide Road.

 

 

 

Floradita’s finesse

Rather than just popping in with tour guests for a quick taster (Zest Food Tours of New Zealand), I finally got in to enjoy lunch with friends at Flo’s.

Flos baked ricottaAmong six of us we had fish pie with watercress and lemon; fresh ham off the bone with poached eggs and hollandaise on toast; grated courgette, mint, ricotta and parmesan frittata with microgreen salad; baked ricotta, radish, cherry tomato and tarragon salad with rosemary slipper bread; roasted aubergine, mint and paprika risotto with herbed creme fraiche; and a specially-requested potato and bacon hash plagiarised from a couple of other dishes (which they were happy to knock together).

Sound delicious?  Yep, it was.
Flos courgette fritter

Good service?  As always.

A level of finesse not found at other nearby places charging the same?  Yep again.

(Having said all that, you’d need to pick your dishes to fill up hungry teenagers here, or be prepared to go through several plates.)

Tis why they’re always heaving at the seams and do very little advertising.

Off course some of us had planned well to leave room for ‘dessert’ (Flo’s famed baking, for which they win awards), and had a delightful time with chocolate cake and fig/almond tart, while others finished off with another coffee (Supreme).

Wonderful food and fine friends at one of Cuba’s institutions, what more could a girl ask?

161 Cuba Street

Flos map

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