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 “Coffee”

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

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Machete – Guatemalan coffee and tacos

As mentioned in a recent Word on the Street post, Paul and Cesar have brought some Guatemala home to Wellington.

machete-guat-people

They are both very passionate about their relationship with Guatemala (Cesar’s heritage), and the word ‘earthy’ comes up a lot in conversation. Many people there only have the basics, so they’re masters as using whatever’s to hand to spice up their lives, including the spices in the food.

At Machete, you enjoy single origin Supreme coffees roasted for the gentler siphon or V60 brewing methods, or you can still get a standard espresso if you fancy. Paul is very knowledgeable about coffee and happy to share information.

There’s also a range of coffee accessories and some interesting teas available for purchase if you fancy.

On the food front, the breakfast menu is small but tasty (check out the bircher parfait with cherries below; and the kiwifruit, ricotta and honey on Leeds Street toast), while the lunch menu mostly focuses on the tacos.

What makes these tacos Guatemalan is the use of chilli (judiciously), and simple un-adorned ingredients. You can choose one, two or three, which gives the option of trying all fillings, or mixing and matching to suit your personal preferences (including one vegetarian).

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I had two and found them both to be fresh, light, and well balanced in flavour and texture, and interestingly, a good match with the coffee. And if you fancy afters, there’s a very Kiwi hokey pokey biscuit, or scones and one or two other house-baked goodies.

Machete make all of their food and fillings in-house, with only the taco shells coming from other specialists, so you truly are getting hand-crafted and quality food.

Monday to Friday 7.30am-3.30pm, Saturdays 9am-4pm.

9 Boulcott Street.

 

La Cloche Central

La Cloche have opened on the corner of Featherston and Ballance Streets in the CBD. The mother-ship and main kitchen remains at Kaiwharawhara, but we don’t have to trek that far to experience their fare now (yay!).

You’ll find an array of delicious pastries, cakes and baguettes etc, as well as a small blackboard menu of traditional French items like French onion soup, Quiche Lorraine, Croque Monsieur etc.

I’ve only popped by for a quick pre-corporate bite so far, but have already begun a love affair with their French gougère ‘scones’, and can see my recent top ten on the Word on the Street becoming a top 15 to fit them all in.

Essentially a large cheese puff, the gougère are very moorish – crunchy on the outside and almost impossible to describe on the inside (you’ll just have to have one to see what I mean). And there are filled ones for lunch too, so I  predict a long affair.

Their decor is a little Mojo-like, a mix of industrial and contemporary, and I particularly loved the big old rail clock keeping us on schedule.

Their coffee is a specialty blend from the Flight boys and was well made, but I’ve mis-filed the pic so can’t show you (totally distracted by that gougère!).

Weekdays 7am to 4pm.

97 Featherston 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

 

 

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

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

Felix Cafe

For a central cafe with character, a warm humming atmosphere, and a bit of sun peaking in, its hard to go past Felix on the corner of Cuba and Wakefield.

Having been more impressed with the snacks and coffee at Felix in recent times,
I decided on a lunch expedition to see if the meals also stood up to the improved standard. And indeed mine did.

I was able to sit at the large bench with the sun on my back and enjoy a peaceful read of this week’s Capital Times (peaceful an ironic word, I know, in the middle of a humming cafe, but when no-one needs something from you, that equates to peaceful in my world) while waiting for the food (which was prompt).

The menu had quite a range of options, including the fairly substantial (eg. open spicy premium lamb burger on focaccia with salad and Felix-made hummus with fries, hot smoked salmon with potato cakes, moroccan-spiced grilled steak or chicken strips with salad and haloumi), and a number of blackboard specials. Combined with the cabinet offerings, there’s definitely no shortage of choice here.

I chose the pulled pork slider of slow braised pork in apple and BBQ spices, served in a warmed roll with fries and salad (I jettisoned the fries at order time if you’re wondering where they’re hiding in the picture…).

And indeed the pork was tender and flavourful with hints of apple showing through, in a delightfully warm and soft bun (turkish I think).  Finger licking good (truly, I did!). The salad was also above the norm, with roasted tomatoes carrying a tangy edge, delicate strips of courgette contrasted by chunky beetroot and crunchy peppers against the lettuce backdrop.  Nicely done.

There was a constant flow of customers, both those dining in and those calling by for takeaway food or coffee (Friday lunchtime), and despite some peaks in demand,

the staff continued to smile and be pleasant to all, and remember the small touches like delivering water.

The coffee here is Flight, the decor is funky, the menu is more interesting than average, there’s a good magazine rack, and an outside dining area for brave souls.  Pretty much everything covered.

Next time I’m coming for brunch and sampling the sauteed spinach and mushrooms on pumpkin bread. Mmmmm……

 

Medici, Martinborough

Having stopped here in the past for coffee and cake while out riding, staying over at Martinborough meant the perfect opportunity to experience Medici’s full brunch offerings.

We arrived around 9am at the beginning of the day (Sunday), so were met and seated easily.  And enjoyed the ambience peacefully before the 10am rush.

Named after the Italian royal house and banking dynasty of Medici (who knew they developed the double entry book-keeping system?), the cafe gives a nod to its history with Sistine chapel-style paintings on the ceiling, rustic wrought iron chandeliers and an old Medici head (coin?) in the logo.

Local art on the walls is for sale, there is a (usually) sunny courtyard out the back, the coffee is by Mojo, and there is a mix of both counter and menu food on offer.

And so to brunch.

French toast and pancakes were the order of the day.  Both with banana, bacon and maple syrup.  The french toast was rated as pretty good with a pleasing balance between the salty crispy bacon, and creamy egginess of the toast.  And the pancakes (which were really small pikelets) were presented appealingly in a stack with accompanying condiments in separate dishes and jug.  Good for those who like to mix and match flavours to personal taste.  Like me.

One coffee was missed off the order, and the wait staff seemed a little more focused on what they had to get through rather than engaging with the customers, so perhaps some room for improvement on that front.

But otherwise good food and coffee, in a cafe with character, in a delightful corner of the greater Wellington region.

It will remain a regular ride stop.

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