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 “dining”

A wee hiatus…

I am about to blast off for the northern hemisphere for four months this weekend (lucky me!), so there’ll be a wee hiatus until November.

But thought I’d leave you with a few foodiegems from the last couple of weeks….

Shed 5’s duck pithivier pie and chocolate raspberry truffle (header image)

Shed 5 duck pithivier pie.jpg

Pickle & Pie’s Blintzes, OMG to die for (please universe, I don’t mean that literally)

Pickle Pie Blintzes .jpg

Moss Caff’s real kumara fries

Moss Caff kumara fries.jpg

Brunch and Burger’s waffles at Paraparaumu Beach (yep by the 50-50 folks, both definitely worthy)

Brunch & burger waffles.jpg

Who knew Barrack was a burger boy??

Brunch & burger sign.jpg

Bellamy’s by Logan Brown’s melt-in-the-mouth seared tuna

Bellamys seared tuna.jpg

Artisan’s very beautiful and tasty high tea

Artisan high tea.jpg

And finally, gorgeous birthday cupcakes from a dear friend…

50th cupcakes.jpg

Au revoir til November.

Twisty Tahi Thai

I’ve read positive things about Tahi Thai, so thought I’d truck along and have a look for myself (Tahi being Maori for one – their street number on Courtenay Place – as well as a play on ‘Thai’).

And they certainly are twisty.

Tahi menu

With unexpected dishes (grilled pork chop on mashed potato with holy basil sauce, stir fried black spaghetti and prawns, baked NZ mussels with cheese and curry sauce to name just a few), décor and prices akin to a contemporary restaurant but in a casual location with people and traffic flowing past out the window, and beautifully presented dishes served fast, it was a whole bunch of contrasts.

Between us we had the chicken and young coconut, the prawns padthai (the above spaghetti dish) and the hidemebananas (yep you read that right – deep fried banana toastie with vanilla ice cream).

A sneaky wing found its way in among the chicken thighs, and some of the chicken and crumbed egg plant weren’t as well cooked as others (some of the eggplant being cold and hard) but the green curry itself with strips of soft coconut was excellent. There was also a bit of debate about how to eat it together given the separate components on a flat board, but I note there was very little left unhoovered at the end!

The prawns padthai was bigger than I could eat, and was suitably al dente with a lovely mild-medium tamarind sauce and peanut crumbs for artful scattering. The prawns were larger than I expected, and I noticed quite a few prawn and salmon dishes on Tahi’s menu for those of you who are seafood fans.

The hidemebananas were fun, crispy and bananary (Im hoping that’s a word!), and at $8, a steal. I thought the ‘I want sugar’ covers on the dessert menus were an amusing touch and decided next time I’m having the Honey Toast – a cube cabin construction of buttery white toast cemented with honey and maple syrup, oozing with vanilla ice cream. Sounds a whole heap of fun. With classic, cheese and strawberry choco toast options no less.

The entrees are in the $6.50 – $13 range, salads and soups $14-$16, the mains $26-$29, and the desserts $7-$15.

The wine list has one of each varietal by either the glass or bottle, including a red or white Spice Trail ‘hot blend’ designed to accompany hot food. The white was a blend of Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay, and came through as sweet and minerally. Overkill for my mild-medium padthai, but I can see how it might work well with a more spicy dish.

There’s also a range of local Parrotdog craft beers (yay local!), a few international beers, thai iced coffees and lattes, and a selection of sodas (watermelon I’m coming for you…).

We were serenaded for our entire visit by old time jazz music (more contrast), and I never quite got to the bottom of why the basil sauce on the grilled pork chop was holy. So I’m still trying to figure in my head how to categorise them. Another visit required perhaps…


Cafe Polo, Miramar

Finally, an opportunity to take my out-of-town friend to Polo.  Named for the nearby Miramar Polo grounds (back in the 1800’s – didn’t spot too many horses galloping past the other night!), and focused on local suppliers and slow food principles.

Polo puffs

Over several years I’ve had a delicious weekend brunch there, food from Polo at the City Market, and a vegetarian degustation at a prior Wellington on a Plate event.  All exceptionally good.

On this night it was deliciously warm inside (Wellington storm weekend), and the staff were bang on the money as usual.

To start – a sharing of Zany Zeus feta cheese puffs with organic honey and thyme (they had a smokey taste with a soft filling so I wonder if the feta had been whipped with a little of Zany Zeus’s award winning smoked yoghurt?).

Polo tortelini

Followed by the roast pork loin and slow braised pork cheek, mustard mash, greens and apple puree for her (considered extremely satisfying in the tummy), and the smoked goats cheese tortellini with roasted baby vegetables for the other her (slightly less smokey than the starter but delicious and oh so pretty).

Finished with a divine caramel pudding cake with apple, walnut toffee and dates (for the glutton) and handmade Polo chocolate truffle and hot chocolate (for the more restrained).

Polo dessert

There are so many delicious things on all of their menus, I shall have to make a more concerted effort to visit Polo more regularly (perhaps winter weather is the perfect excuse for a drive?).

This is a popular place, so it is wise to book.

And note they don’t do Sundays, unless you join their email list and partake of some Sunday specialty occasions.

Corner Rotheram Terrace and Para Street, Miramar.










Trade Kitchen

Well hello to all my loyal followers (yes all 15 of you!).  Last night was a dinner catchup with some ex-CCDHB colleagues.  A drink and nibble at Foxglove (will have to give you the low down on them another time, they’re a whole post’s worth) and then off to Trade Kitchen for dinner.

Trade Kitchen is another of those places that slides underneath the radar a little in terms of  profile, but actually turns out some very pleasant food at reasonable prices (in today’s market where a lot of restaurants are creeping up into the $30-$35 per main range).

The decor is subtle and reasonably sparce (I liked the big red fabric swathes around the xmas tree though), but still welcoming.  The food and drinks provided a good selection of the usual suspects, lighter and denser meals, and some rather pleasant wines – an unoaked chardonnay for me (not always so easy to get), and a rather tasty riesling for R (well what’s mine is mine and his is mine and mine is his – at least when it benefits me!…).

I chose the risotto of the day of chicken, mushrooms, asparagus, feta and strips of parmesan to complete.  The rest of the group chose a variety including free range chicken breast stuffed with pesto, spinach and mozzarella on warmed couscous, pinenuts, roasted vegetable salad and chermoula aioli (my second choice, mmmm), fish of the day, a scallop special and parmesan crumbed pork cutlet on porcini risotto and sauteed cabbage w almond and apple sauce (my third choice, mmmm mmmm).  They all looked good and were met with favourable reports.

We controlled ourselves in terms of dessert given we’d had wine and nibbles earlier, but the choices (and those that came to nearby tables) looked worthy.  Interactive and humorous service throughout completed the evening.

The only difficulty with the place was ventilation.  We were around the back (overlooking Customhouse Quay) with no opening windows or obvious ventilation on one of Wellington’s (finally!) warmer evenings, and were all glistening fairly well by the time we’d finished.

The brekkie menu looks good (especially the banana and coconut bread with citrus butter and honey – yep me the carbo girl), so might have to find an excuse to slide back along this way soon at the other end of the day…

Definitely worth a visit for something of good value and standard at this ‘corporate’ end of town.

Bangalore Polo Club, Courtenay Place

NOTE: The peanuts are no longer!

The dinner club ventured forth to Bangalore Polo Club (BPC to those in the know apparently) on Wednesday night and had a rollicking fine time.

BPC is as opulently decorated and almost OTT as imagined, with varying spaces for drinking, dining or quieter booth intimacy.  Of greatest initial excitement was the large bowl of unshelled peanuts on the bar for patrons to de-shell and consume, merrily dropping the remains to the floor (truly, it’s what they want you to do!). Apparently in the tradition of the Singapore Raffles Hotel (Mr Google hasn’t been forthcoming on where that tradition sprang from originally), with the shells oiling the floor as they get walked on before being swept out at the end of the night. Everything your mother taught you not to do, but deliciously naughty fun!

BPC originated in India around the Bangalore Badgers polo team, with a mix of English and Indian influence.  Ergo being greeted out the front by a couple of lovely wooden maharaja-style gentlemen.  In the rear dining area there are several large animal heads on the wall, a veritable flock of birdcages hanging from the ceiling with lights in each, and cleverly disguised large screen tv’s in big gold ornate picture frames looking like large mirrors (thankfully not on, a rest from the rugby was due!).

Food ranged from pizza to curries to laksa to full meals and most things in between.  So a wide selection, and at reasonable prices.  Between six of us we managed to try a good variety (of course my friends know dining with me involves sharing a mouthful!) and everyone enjoyed what they chose.  I had a very pleasant cauliflower risotto of caramelised cauliflower (the caramelising was fairly subtle though), tallagio cheese, roasted almonds and crispy sage.  Good overall balance, and not gluggy or fatty.

I had to photograph (on my cellphone in fairly dim light, but it will give you an idea) Kate’s slow roasted pork hock.  A verrrrry impressive hunk of meat occupying most of her plate.  Almost matching the visions we had last week of how pig’s head was going to look on a plate at The Larder!  And melt off the bone tasty too.

The only slightly out of step note was the music.  Whilst we enjoyed the 70’s and 80’s easy tunes (those of us old enough to know them), we had imagined music somehow matching the tradition of the place.  Having said that, not sure if Bollywood all night would have helped or hindered the overall experience.

So definitely give it a try when you’re after something fun.  And suggest you book as it was full to bursting on a Wednesday night.  Apparently check out the toilets too, which I didn’t end up remembering to do.  Next time…


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