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 “food”

Coco and the Roxy turn five

Happy birthday to Coco and the Roxy in Miramar! Five years on and just getting better and better.

Coco header.jpg

Check out my recent visit and thoughts from the key players there. I particularly like their playfulness and community spirit.

They’ve also got quite a lot going on for WOAP with Creole flavouring, a crack at defending their 2015 Capital Cocktail win, and a couple of events as well. And one of the country’s best and most innovative cocktail makers.

Definitely worth a jaunt out to Miramar.




Wellington Food Show giveaway

It’s that time of year again folks.

The Wellington Food Show is returning to Westpac Stadium from 20-22 May 2016, with the latest and greatest from Wellington and around the country. Over 100 exhibitors, 14 live cooking demonstrations over three days, countless new ideas, and new products to add to your shopping lists – what more could you ask for? (and I guarantee you’ll come away with a full tummy too).

The Wellington Food Show have kindly donated  a gourmet prize pack valued at $140 to give away, so you can attend and be inspired. The prize includes 1 x double pass to the show, and a goodie bag of exhibitor products as below. The tickets will be made available at the door for the lucky winner, and the goodie bag shipped to you.


To enter, simply email your name, street delivery address (where best to send that goodie bag should you be the lucky winner!), and contact phone number to, with ‘Wellington Food Show’ in the title, by 5pm Tuesday 17 May. The winner will be selected at random and notified by email on Tuesday evening 17 May. I will also post the winner’s name in the comments section below so you can check back to see who won.

Conditions of entry:

  • Open to NZ citizens only.
  • One entry per person.
  • Your contact details will be deleted after the competition has been drawn, and are not retained or used for any other purpose.
  • All other costs and expenses not specifically listed as part of the prize pack are solely your responsibility.
  • The prize is non-transferable and no substitution or cash swap is permitted.

Have a wee peek at what’s going on at the show, get your entry in, and note that you can get tickets online at the best rates also. Access to all show features and cooking demos is included in your ticket.

Game on.


Hashigo Zake, pie and a pint…

As you do when catching up with friends, an excursion to the downstairs delights of Hashigo Zake on lower Taranaki Street was in order.  A well established Wellington institution for those serious about (originally) whiskey and sake, and (over time) craft beers.

Hashigo Zake sign

The beer menu is extensive and took a good 15 minutes to browse through before deciding, with interesting artistic cards throughout the menu folder (check out the list here on their website).

I ended up choosing a Rogue chocolate stout (nearly the Rogue double chocolate stout, but that was even bigger with even greater alcohol content and I couldn’t see me getting home in a sensible condition on that one!), which poured with a thick creamy head as promised, and went rather well with the gyoza pork dumplings to start and Moroccan veggie pie to follow.  And came with its own branded glass. Very piratey and funky.

Their pies are seriously good, light of crust, deep of  delicious fillings (boston pork, beef rendang, rustic salmon, pork and chorizo, vege chilli or Moroccan veggie), and worth a revisit for them alone.

Hashigo Zake pie

Of course the company is important, and a fine time was had by all without the late night lag the next day.

Highly recommended (although be early to get a space or be prepared to loiter around at leaners until a space becomes available).

Open 7 days from noon.

25 Taranaki Street

Hashigo Zake map



Taco Shop – Mexican Taqueria in Leftbank

The Taco Shop is a fun little place painted warmly yellow down the back of Leftbank, cozy and humming, and seating all of about 15 people (although one can sit at the tables just outside if the weather behaves).

The menu has a picture of Frida Kahlo on the front and the Madonna on the back, and is delightfully hand scripted inside.

The offerings are simple – 3 entrees, mains covering the usual quesadillas, tacos, tortillas, salads and tortas (mexican sandwiches), one dessert (chocolate brownie) and 4 breakfasts (all variations of eggs, beans and tortillas).

Our entree of cheese stuffed jalapenos was very tasty and unexpectedly (to me anyway) crisply crumbed.  Something about the cheese was different than expected (thinner and silky) and pleasing to the taste, but I never did quite put my finger on what.

The mains of  a ‘wet’ taco (tortillas with a sauce of choice poured over – orange tanged pibil in this case) and ham quesadilla were both very pleasant and available in small or large sizes.

The plates were a colourful backdrop to the food, the beer Mexican, the service welcoming and prompt, and overseeing our dining pleasure a large wall mural in memory of Emiliano Zapata (early 1900 Mexican revolutionary) which made for interesting reading while digesting.

The meals are very good value for money and one could easily slide in and out here for a quick pleasant meal on the way home, or a more leisurely catchup with friends.

Zany Zeus Shop, Moera

How delightful.  A Zany Zeus shop full of delicious haloumi’s, feta’s, yoghurt’s and a whole raft of new and interesting offerings.

Michael Mastis has opened a dedicated shop at Moera (Eastern Petone) where you can sample, learn, eat, drink and take home as much as you can carry.

Of interest to me were the smoked brinza (denser feta-style), smoked yoghurt (came home with me for dipping with vege sticks or crackers), and paneer (also came home with me for a saag paneer session soon).

As well as the cabinets of delicious cheeses and yoghurts, was a cabinet of sweet mediterranean temptations (and yes some of those made their way home with me too!).

Almond shortbread, baklava, turkish delight stuffed pasties, almond nut twists… Mmmmmmm.

Also to tempt the sweeter toothed among us are a range of Zany Zeus gelatos made on site. Included in today’s offerings – peanut butter and jelly, zany zeus greek yoghurt and lemon curd, monkey poo (never quite got to the bottom of what that one was!), and the option to create your own ‘mix and match’ ice cream sundae. What a great idea.

The staff are very happy to share knowledge and offer tastings, and you can the gelato production through the glass right there at the rear of the shop.

Although I love gelato, it was a cold wintery morning and I couldn’t quite bring myself to sample right then.  But I did take home an interesting (and delicious) date, orange and cream cheese scone, and will definitely be back of a warmer afternoon sometime soon to delve into those gelatos….  10am-5pm Wednesday to Sunday.

Beannie Cafe, Petone

Having read of the recently opened Beannie (in late 2011, named for the mother/daughter owners Bev/Annie), and knowing they’re experienced hands at the Petone cafe scene, I managed to fit in a visit for cake as a starting point today.

In the premises of the former Cafe Tart (and next but one to the requisite Minx shoe detour….), the decor is warm and welcoming.  And the staff too.  Although the cafe temperature was a bit cool today with both the front and courtyard doors open and wind whistling through.

There is a very appealing range of cabinet and counter food, and both a brunch and lunch menu.  Given my timeframe, I opted for a piece of chunky apple pie with yoghurt.  Delicious.  And containing a delightful surprise touch of sweet passionfruit through the top of the apple just beneath the crust, adding a wonderful note to the buttery (tender) crust and chunky apple.

There is nothing like an anticipated taste experience being surpassed.

Of interest on the menu were the specialty french toast (stuffed with cream cheese, apricot jam and served with fresh fruit and maple syrup), and the pasta any way (you name it, they’ll make it – penne pasta cooked in creamy pesto/or tomato sauce – bacon, chicken, salmon, mushroom, tomato, spinach, olives, sundried tomato. Anything goes…).  All is made or baked onsite.

I was amused to find pure ‘Petone Water’ courtesy of a good old fashioned tap on the wall over a pink laundry powder bin (unless of course one preferred the greater sophistication of the bottled filtered water in the fridge!).  So, Petone Water duly sampled, and I can report I’m still going strong several hours later …

Beannie serve Havana coffee, and the one delivered to the table past me both looked and smelt good.

The outdoor courtyard appears a very pleasant place to enjoy a spot of sun and quality food, with plants and solid fences providing both shelter and a sense of privacy.

This place has to be one of Petone’s daytime best, and you should definitely go there next time you’re in Petone.  I will most definitely be back (more than once I wager), with the next visit focused already on that specialty french toast.

When you go, take a good look at the art on the walls, and the large graffitti-style ‘Beannie’ mural on the back wall of the courtyard.  All very well chosen and a definite part of the cafe’s charm.

Perhaps with a jaunt down the road after for a cuppa and cupcake at Sweetpea, but that’s a whole other story……

159 Jackson Street, Petone

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……


Clarks Cafe @ The Library

For book lovers, Clarks Cafe at The Wellington Central Library is hard to beat for cake, coffee and a read.

I particularly enjoy early on a Saturday morning before they get too busy, with what must surely be one the best scones in the city still warm from the oven.


Clarks scone

Date, apple and buttermilk, with a crunchy coating of sugar on top.  Soft and sweet inside, crispy contrast outside.  Yuuuuuuum (for us carbophiles anyway!).

There are plenty of copies of the day’s newspaper around, and lots of tables or benches overlooking the books to choose from. Including a children’s area with appropriate play things.

The cabinet holds a wide range of usual daytime fare, the coffee is Peoples, and its a handy central place for a meeting.

You do have to wait around for your coffee at the counter (a la Starbucks), so this is not the place if you’re wanting full service.  But for a casual stop during the day, or that meeting in a relaxed atmosphere, you can’t go wrong really.

7 days a week.



Kelburn kool…

A sunny Saturday (finally!) and a friend’s foodie tales of Kelburn beckoned.

A quiet start around 9am meant the opportunity to window peek and decide the sequence for sampling.  In the interests of brevity (Kelburn has a lot to offer), I’ll summarise where I think you’d go for the best offerings.

Kelburn Café – you can’t miss the advantage of morning sun and newspaper here.
After watching a continuous stream of people coming by for coffee, I too opted to try the LAffare on offer.  Smooth, silky milk throughout (not always easy with trim) and a pleasing creamy glossy finish. Very good.  The cheese scone that caught my eye on the counter wasn’t bad either.

The Original German Bakery – this is the place to come for breads, heavier dessert-style slices and hot cross buns.  Samples of said buns (both traditional and chocolate) were out the front on a wooden table to tempt passers-by.  Nice.

Cameron & Harrison Butcher and Deli – appealing rows of sausages and other meat goodies complemented by interesting deli products.   I succumbed to a purchase of the Glasseye Creek Wild Meat Sauce, with the most entertaining story label I’ve ever seen (the label alone is worth the price, truly).

Caffe Mode – the best show in town for eating in, cabinet or menu.  Sited in an old villa with front views of the lovely St Michaels Church, or rear views of bush and old Kelburn villas, this is a very pleasant spot to stop and relax.

I enjoyed a very pleasant bowl of muesli with yoghurt and warm berries, whilst browsing a magazine and watching the various staff disappearing and reappearing up the central wooden stairwell to the kitchen below.  A bit like magic really – go down with nothing, come up with delicious food!

The Platter Delicatessen – European styled, with all sorts of interesting products and condiments.  The owners (husband and wife, both present today), were very helpful in explaining products and suggesting new things to try.  I now have ideas for

the white asparagus, and came away with a bottle of The Platter’s own walnut vinaigrette (made using a French walnut mustard they also stock).  This is the place to come and pick up your dinner party ingredients (EFT-POS only though), or a quick dinner when you can’t be bothered yourself (chicken casserole with a tipple of whiskey, lamb bolognese with a tipple of pinot noir…), hand made pates, European style cheeses and meats, pies, and much more.  Hungry yet?

Dinner – I’m told the Yellow Chilli Indian is very good, there is a Mediterranean Warehouse branch doing pizzas in the old Keburn pub, and I also spied the Pratha To Go takeaways.  I’d come back and try these as something a little different in the takeaway space.  The folks from Roti in Willis Street, so should be good.

And if you happen to strike Kelburn on Kelburn Fair / St Patricks Day, with sun, jazz musicians playing on the street, fluffy green candy floss and green iced buzzy bee chocolate cupcakes, I think you’d just about pack up and move here…

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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