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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 “Coffee / Cocktails”

Park Kitchen

I’ve popped into Park Kitchen at Miramar twice in recent times, once for lunch with friends, and once for cake while out on a looooong walk (blood sugar needs right?).

And apart from the frowning rabbit we were seated right beneath the first time (I can’t decide if its a groovy piece of art or just a bit disturbing), I enjoyed both outings. The décor reminds me of Loretta in Cuba Street, with a light, bright and airy design, long coffee and servery counters with delicious-looking cakes, and a separate lounge for more casual coffee catchups or a bit of paper reading.

Between us on the first visit we covered the Park cheese burger, the pumpkin rosemary and feta empanadas, the fish fingers with dill mayo, and the seasonal special of the day – end-of-season asparagus with crispy bacon, poached eggs and golden hollandaise. They were all pretty good (creamy empanada fillings, pleasing medium rare meat patty, herby and unctuous tartare with light crispy fish fingers), but the winning dish just might have been the seasonal special.

I also liked that they had a selection of non-alcoholic cocktails to go with the substantive list of local and international wines, NZ craft beers, and classic cocktails also on offer (a night visit next time methinks). There’s certainly something for everyone.

PK mocktail

Elderflower spritz mocktail

On the walk refueling stop, we inhaled an Anzac cookie and cheese scone, both getting the thumbs up.

PK sweets

Park Kitchen seem to have all bases covered, whether you’re wanting coffee and cake, a light nibble, a more substantive meal and/or a relaxing tipple. And add another option to the already-plentiful and quality Miramar/Strathmore dining scene – The Larder, Coco at the Roxy, Café Polo, The Gypsy Kitchen, La Boca Loca, and probably others that I haven’t been to yet.

6 Park Road, Miramar

Mojo St James

Mojo have added another cafe to their enterprise, not dissimilar to Poneke, with food created by Martin Bosley and steampunk and cold brew coffees featured. The decor is light, bright and airy, and a nice fit with the theatre foyer.

Additional to dishes you will recognise from Poneke (yes the fab super grain salad is here too), is a section of ‘on bread’ gourmet sandwiches made to order and served nicely on wooden boards if eating in, or packable for takeaway. These range from $9 to $16, include some interesting ingredients, and can also be provided on Paleo Pantry gluten free bread if desired.

Pictured below is the smoked fish, beet caviar, caper and lemon on wholemeal, which was tasty with quality smoked fish. My recommendation is to eat in to get the full experience.

And I couldn’t go past my favourite Greek yoghurt mousse, thyme honey, poached figs and granola crumble either (yep more than just my mouth doing the dining!)…

MSJ yog mousse

 

Mojo SJ are also in the process of applying for their liquor licence and intend to open for pre-show dinners and possibly post-show nibbles in the near future (currently 7 days until 4/5pm, but later openings from 26 February to 20 March for the Arts Festival). I imagine enjoying casual but quality food and drink here will do nothing but add to the pleasure of an evening at the theatre.

St James Theatre, 77 Courtenay Place

 

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.

Another cup of java…

I’m seeing new coffee places everywhere lately.

Firstly there’s the new flagship shops for both Supreme and Mojo, selling an array of single origin coffees, coffee equipment and accessories, and keen to teach you anything you could possibly wish to know about coffee.

Supreme has moved from Woodward Lane to a bigger, brighter space on the edge of Midland Park next to Soho Brown. They do cupping sessions at 10am Wednesdays if you want to go further than just sampling the filtered coffees they have on brew each day, or are very happy to help you decide what interesting single origin you’d like to take home (pays to pop by and book your slot for the cupping).

Mojo’s Beanery is in the ground entrance of Lambton Square. You can experience a steampunk coffee (a version of filtered), and again buy interesting single origins to take home, with any kind of accessory you desire. Both places have exceptionally welcoming, friendly and helpful staff, so don’t be shy.

On the slightly more cafe front, Zumo is now open on the corner of Tory and Wakefield, as is Franks on The Terrace (probably others around town I just haven’t tripped over yet!).

Zumo breakfastZumo’s new Wellington premises are along similar lines to their Nelson HQ – large, airy, and warehousey. There’s a load of indoor and outdoor seating, a range of single origins and blends to try (with very helpful large descriptions on the wall) and counter food that includes at least some from French CanCan (I saw Sophie slide by with a food box while there…).

Although I’m a decaf drinker and they can often be a bit nebulous, my Swiss decaf was flavourful and made me think dark caramel. I thoroughly enjoyed a quiet read of the paper and wee graze in that lovely airy space. Daytime 7 days, from 7am weekdays, 8am weekends.

Franks buildingAnd then theres Franks on the Terrace (opposite PWC tower in the space that’s had a chequered past – most recently Bureau wine bar), part way up the hill.

I like the crisp, white, clean feel of the place, and the staff are similarly well presented, professional and competent. Using Red Rabbit Roastery coffee, and bakery food from the Leeds Street Bakery, you’ll feel quite at home here in a Mojo/Leeds Street blended kind of way.

Again my decaf was flavourful, well made, and had the word toasty popping into my head. There’s plenty of seating upstairs, and there was a nice ambience from people coming and going enjoying quality fare while I was there. Monday to Friday daytimes, 6.30am opening.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Prefab, Jessie Street

Prefab is the latest venture of Jeff Kennedy and Bridget Dunn (ex Cafe L’Affare), and at its heart aims to provide a place for ‘community’ both in location and attitude.

Prefab room

As previously reported in the local media, there are few other well-experienced Wellington hospo people along on this venture – Rob Wilkinson (formerly Capitol), Jonathan England (formerly Two Rooms, Miramar) and various former L’Affare staff.

Prefab has a long open counter/kitchen, with coffee roasting at one side of the cafe (under the Acme brand) and a bakery at the other side (where you can buy your daily bread – check out the snake and heart breads below!).

Prefab breads

The feel of the cafe is a little school cafeteria, with a mix of individual and sharing tables, all supporting the ‘community’ feel.  Being a busy time (1pm), and a singleton, I was placed at the bar, which proved a good spot to watch all the industry going on.

The food is all menu/wait-served, and ranges from traditional breakfast (muesli and yoghurt) to the slightly different (Berlin brekkie of fresh bread, cheese, tomato, meats, jam and egg), and progresses through the day with a number of sandwich (hot and cold) options, and a range of salads and more substantial meals.

Prefab easter bun

On my quick stop today I only had room for a small sampling, so I enjoyed a house-made Easter bun (light, spicy and nicely glazed) with preserved orange marmalade (very well balanced and not the usual bitterness marmalades tend to have), and eyed up all the other menu items to consider on return.

I noticed my neighbour’s tomato and avocado on toast was just that – rustic and generous.

There’s a strong focus on fresh and simple here, and nothing is above $20.

So I shall definitely be back for a fuller experience to see if these initial positive impressions continue.  And I will have a coffee to see how the new roast is developing.

Prefab avocado tomato

The only slight criticism today was waiting a fair time seated at the bar before anyone came to take an order or bring water.  And then I was checked by three.  It was 1pm lunchtime with a fairly packed house (they do hold a lot of people), so I won’t hold that against them for now.

14 Jessie Street, WellingtonPrefab map

 

 

Greta Point Cafe

For coffee and cake on a windy Waitangi Day walk, Greta Point cafe hit the mark nicely.

Greta point sliceThe baking is very appealing here. A savoury muffin was commented as light and tasty, as was the tan slice (considering those types of slices can often have the density of small windowless buildings) with a good sugar/butter balance (and minus the crust inhaled immediately on delivery!). Yum.

The breakfast we saw come out looked worthy, and I was plotting from the time I arrived about when I could come back of an afternoon to try out the delicious looking carrot cake (also looked light and fluffy).

Online reviews seem to have a theme about beware asking for swaps on meals as you’ll be charged extra, but otherwise support the food quality. And we found the staff to be very friendly and welcoming.

The views are very pleasant out Greta point viewover the water and airport, and on a nice (ergo non-windy!) day I imagine sitting at the outside tables soaking up the sun would be very pleasant indeed.

Coffee was by Mojo and the faces recognised behind the coffee machine and in the kitchen were from earlier Neo days.

So if you’re around this way, worth a stop.

326 Evans Bay Parade, Hataitai.

Poquito espresso, cocktails and tapas

UPDATE: Now under different ownership, but still a lovely wee hideaway with tasty bites and drinks.

In the former premises of Schoc chocolate on lower Tory Street, is a new espresso, cocktail and Spanish tapas bar – Poquito (meaning a little bit).

Open some pretty long hours (from 7.30am weekdays and 9.30am weekends to late most nights), you’ll be able to drop by here for a tipple or a nibble whenever the urge strikes.

Poquito tapas

The tapas include items like anchovy, olive and cheese poquito bites (very tasty, but beware the desire to drink more with them!), toasted pita bread with various hummuses, devils on horse back (soft datey deliciousness, not prunes), grilled bruschetta, mixed olives with treats (not ordered so can’t reveal the treats secret), and warm bean salad with chorizo and chickpeas.

There’s a range of wines, beers and cocktails on offer, with some interesting cocktails.

Poquito cocktails

The ones that caught my eye were the Monkey Business (fig infused monkey shoulder whisky, chocolate bitters, orange slice), Rhubarb 75 (rhubarb infused wodka vodka, cava, lemon, vanilla syrup) and Beetle Juice (Hendricks gin, homemade beetroot juice, celery salt, cucumber, basil, hot sauce, worchester sauce, lemon juice).

Phew!

I settled for the Monkey Business, which went well with the tapas selection.

There is also daytime snack food (still evolving as the clientele settles in), and the coffees meet the grade.

Poquito plants

This will only ever be a light snack place given the kitchen is the bench behind the bar, and it has a limited number of tables, but it’s a peaceful spot (especially down the back by the plant conservatory), and provides something different and interesting in that part of town.

11 Tory 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.

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