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 “japanese”

A little Lux at Yoshi

I’ve talked about the Press Hall on Willis Street before, but feel compelled to talk about Yoshi in particular now, a wee gem hidden away down the back.

Yoshi sign Presshall.jpg

Yoshi (the person) and his wife Helen (a kiwi lass) met in Japan some years ago, and ultimately relocated to NZ, where they have been providing us with daytime sushi and bento in Corporatesville for a while on Lambton Quay and Featherston Street. And recently decided to take on the space down the back of the Press Hall.

Yoshi decor.jpg

Unlike other Press Hall eateries, Yoshi is more like a restaurant with table service, a wide range of Japanese (and NZ) tipples, and in the evening morph their menu to include more traditional Japanese dishes.

The food is authentic Japanese (a rarity in the Wellington sushi market), with Yoshi melding local fresh NZ produce into traditional Japanese dishes. The end result – light, flavourful and healthy food right across the board.

Yoshi plum wine flight.jpg

On the night we dined, we enjoyed the umeshu plum wine tasting flight, followed by a most excellent spicy plum wine that I’d go back just for. And then pork gyoza (excellent balance of crisp and soft), scallop sushi nigiri (fresh and light), inari nigiri (inside out sushi with a tofu pocket enclosing the rice), Karaage chicken with fabulous pink rice and Yoshi slaw (crisp and tender) and the ramen bowl (generous). And finished with Gelissimo’s award-winning yuzu olive oil gelato (if you’ve never had this, its reason number two to go to Yoshi). Without breaking the bank.

Yoshi eats.jpg

There are a number of touches which make Yoshi stand out from the crowd – their service, making nearly all of their sauces in-house, using the gorgeous Yuzu olive oil in the Yoshi slaw, using a lighter slightly citrusy Ponzu dipping sauce in place of the heavier soy sauces, etc etc.

Yoshi ramen bowl.jpg

And the Press Hall have their own Lux lights going on at the moment too (do check out the second alleyway parallel to the main one, which I didn’t even know existed until Friday night!).

Yoshi lux 2.jpg

While usually closing at 7pm, some of the Press Hall eateries, including Yoshi are opening until 9pm next week Thurs 24 / Fri 25 / Sat 26 May alongside Lux, which strikes me as a much more civilized way to eat before or after checking out the lights, than queuing at a food truck in the cold.


80 Willis Street












Tatsushi (finally!)

UPDATE: Now relocated to a bigger space in Edward Street (the old Vivo) and still great sashimi.

At long last.

And it was worth the wait.  Fresh and tasty Japanese done with delightful service in a warm cosy environment (although beware the noise level when a group of 10 arrive in that little space!).

Tatsushi menu

People talk about their sashimi platter, and it was very good.  The platter changes daily depending on what fresh fish they’ve procured, and on this occasion had salmon, trevally, jack mackerel, terakihi and kingfish.  A tasty mix. There’s also other daily specials to complement the interesting standard menu.

The best way to approach Tatsushi is to share, so we combined two sashimi platters among four of us (which they thoughtfully delivered in one large bowl), with a variety of other smaller nibbles – daikon salad, fried bean curd, tempura asparagus, cucumber and calamari salad, miso, etc.  The chefs are very visible to diners, so one can see and appreciate the hand-crafting involved.

Tatsushi shasimi

Check out this previous Stuff article which outlines the background of owner Mikuni and his philosophy on fresh and hand made ingredients.

A plum wine with hot water worked perfectly for this kid (soothing and sweet without being too strong), while others enjoyed Japanese beers and kiwi wine.

And the verdict?  We’d all be back again.  Soon.  Very soon.

Tatsushi decor

Tatsushi do lunchtimes Tuesday to Friday, and dinners Thursday to Saturday.  They are very popular and it pays to book well in advance.  They’re also doing a craft beer and Japanese food match on 1 and 2 October for anyone of a mind.

99 Victoria Street, right beside Asian Kitchen (I feel another eat coming on…).

Oishii (Japanese for yum!).



Kazu Yakitori & Sake bar

What better way to showcase a number of Wellington eating experiences to a visiting friend than a progressive dinner?

So Saturday night’s excursion was peanuts and Badgers Piss (truly, I’m not taking it….!) at Bangalore Polo Club, skewers and Japanese beer at Kazu Yakitori Bar, tapas and craft beer at the Hop Garden, and dessert and gewurtz nectar at Ambeli.

Kazu Yakitori (yaki – to grill, tori – chicken) is tucked away upstairs on Couternay Place.  From the Japanese greeting to the quirky English translation on signs, to the bandana-wearing chef entertaining with flames and skewers on the bench top grill, it’s a casual and fun place to experience a small slice of Japan.

The staff are respectful and mostly Japanese (chefs only speak/read Japanese), and the revamped menu now appears to offer a greater range of non-skewered dishes as well.  Good for us slightly vego personalities who like lots of veges with our meat.  Not entirely convinced about the non-Japanese repeat-track music playing on the night though.

The 5 stick combo platters range from traditional all-chicken including hearts (firm but pleasant) and gizzards (crunchy and variably received!), to mixed (beef, tuna, salmon, scallop and vegetables), to spicy, to healthy etc.   And for the adventurous, a roulette sushi dish presented like a wheel with one of the 8 pieces having the mother load of wasabi tucked inside.  Surprise!

Of appeal for my next foray to Kazu Yakitori are the lotus root chips, tofu and sansai (mountain vegetables) salad and taiyaki sweet dessert pancake (grilled in a fish shape and filled with red bean paste) with green tea ice cream.  Open evenings only.

Also in the Kazu stable are the Kazu restaurant on Tory Street, Wasabi sushi (Cuba & James Cook), at Mison in Woodward Lane.


Arashi, Courtenay Place

So off to Sherlock Holmes with friends last week, and a graze afterwards.  Given we saw Sherlock at Reading (as entertaining as number one, with a very clever finish…), somewhere cheap, cheerful and nearby was in order.  And so we proceeded to Arashi (thanks Andrea!) for a bite of Japanese.

This was a Wednesday night, and the place was full of large groups, so noisy as a noisy thing (not for you Mr Sharp), but still fun.

The boys opted for a Japanese $40 tankard of Asahi beer (which seemed to be the gift that kept on giving, for at least 7-8 glasses worth – very impressive!), whilst the girls tended towards the wines.

A variety of food was ordered and consumed (relatively promptly too), and all commented as  tasty and of pleasing quality.  Presentation again was very good (some non-Japanese restaurants could easily sustain a lesson or two…), with the pork dumplings arriving in their own wooden box, and those of us with tempura mains receiving them on wooden dishes that made one think of punts (boating variety).

The assorted tempura main came with about 10 pieces, of which 5 were a mix of seafood – large shrimp, crab, fish, scallop – and the rest a mix of vegetables – cauli, capsicum, pumpkin, bean  – all in a very light tempura batter with accompanying home-made dipping sauce.

The menu is fairly extensive, with a large selection of skewered dishes (being a kushiyaki restaurant), sushi, sashimi, rice, noodles, tempura etc.  For dishes in the $18-$20ish range, of good presentation and quality, this is definitely a place worth going.



41 Courtenay Place




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