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”

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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Gipsy Kitchen comes to town

For CBD lovers of Gipsy Kitchen, your prayers have been answered. The Gipsy has taken up a spot in Jessie street opposite the Il Casino apartments, operating daytimes til 3pm.

The very groovy exterior sets the tone from the get-go, continuing inside with luxurious wall panelling, funky decorations, and plenty of quirk.

Gipsy exterior

The food is the quality we know and love from Gipsy, ranging from pastries to salads, to quiches, to lunch rolls, pies and sweets. And they have their heavenly (vegan) seed bread available for takeaway too.

I haven’t had a rhubarb scone fix for a while, but alas there were none, so I settled for bread and butter pudding for breakfast instead. Soft, moist and flavourful, I was sorry when it was gone.

We didn’t have coffee on this visit, but there was a steady stream of locals popping in for theirs, so we take that as a good sign (especially with Prefab, L’affare and Moore Wilson all within a stones throw). The herbal teas we did enjoy were nicely presented and real, not teabags.

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There’s only seating for about 12, so either pick your time or be prepared to take away. And do have a wee peek in the fridge of deli products available too.

They utilise a wood fired oven, and say the may well run into evenings as summer appears.

Amen!

37 Jessie Street

 

 

 

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

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