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 “Lyall Bay”

Dinner returns to Elements

Elements cafe at Lyall Bay now have a dinner service on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, in addition to their popular daytime fare.

The Elements philosophy is to gather people around a table to share great food and wine (not tapas, you get to have your own), with the food being nourishing and hand made from fresh, seasonable and sustainably farmed ingredients. In a relaxing and convivial environment without pretention (if that’s not a real word, I bags its credit!).

Elements decor

They certainly make nearly everything in-house including breads, stocks, sauces, pasta, ice creams, etc (unless there’s a local artisan product they’d like to showcase), with the intention of creating a fond food memory with a little ‘wow’.

Actually, the word fond seems just right for Elements.

So how did we go?

The complimentary bread was warm and fresh, with whipped salted and sweet chilli butter options, the sweet chilli being a little different to the norm.

And then we proceeded to the chive, pumpkin and blue cheese gnocchi with a side of smokey bacon peas (could have eaten a bucketful of those!), and the chicken with Jamaican spices. The gnocchi was comforting with many textures and flavours, and the chicken was pleasant with a ‘wow’ shredded chicken leg rosti cake. So far, so good.

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We then cracked on to the peanut butter parfait dessert, and port with dark chocolate truffles – it’s so nice to have a light / alternate dessert option when you don’t fancy the full monty.

The dessert had nicely bruleed bananas, along with dense parfait, light banana cake and crispy peanut brittle. AND surprise chocolate peanut butter truffles. Again lots of different textures which met well when spooned up together.

Elements banana dessert

I also very much enjoyed the pear, cucumber, lemon, mint and elderflower soda mocktail one of the young ladies crafted for me. And the very virtuous feeling about the number of fruits and veg I was ticking off for the day!

On the evening we visited, the restaurant had a nice hubbub, but nothing that intruded on our own conversation. And because there are several rooms to Elements, they can cater for groups more or less in their own space.

We had a very pleasant time overall, and I think just quietly, that young Sam might come further into his own as time goes by.

144 Onepu Road, Lyall Bay

Elements mocktail

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The Botanist at Lyall Bay

Having given them a month or so to settle in (that’s my excuse anyway!), I finally trucked out to the new Botanist at Lyall Bay for lunch.

Brought to us by the folks of Beach Babylon, Little Beer Quarter, and Basque, the point of difference here is that everything is vegetarian or vegan.

Botanist decor

The atmosphere is inviting – an old villa with views out to the south coast, a north facing garden / deck area and lots of light and plants indoors – and the staff were welcoming and friendly.

We tried out the pea, smoked brinza and zucchini fritters with pickled cucumber raita (with optional poached eggs), and the crumbed halloumi burger with herbed fries.

With the winner being the fritters (and my apologies, I just realised the pic is nearly all eggs!) with a pleasing texture and tangy raita offset. The burger was pleasant but nothing exciting and we struggled a bit to get herbiness off the fries, although they were nicely cooked. We probably should have tried one of the other burgers – marinated tempeh, or black bean, corn and pecan patty – to really sample something outside the norm.

The drinks cover all bases, with a range of local and NZ craft beers and ciders, all wines by the glass and bottle (virtually all NZ), and a bunch of appealing-sounding cocktails (Garden of Babylon with pea pods, Basil Crush, Flowerbed Martini, and Lavender Cosmo with lavender leaves). Unfortunately I was driving so kept to the non-alcoholic, which included the usual coffees, HardieBoys, Humble honey soda, Salty Dog apple and lime soda, smoothies, T Leaf organic teas etc. Next time.

I did chuckle at the drink menu saying ‘sorry we don’t serve marshmallows as they contain animal gelatin’, as we sat under a [wooden] deer head eating our vegetarian lunch!

Botanist deer

On the way out I saw the dinner menu (they’ve just started this week), and thought it contained more interesting dishes, so might head back for an evening soon.

Beware the place is apparently heaving at weekends (and was pretty full today at a Tuesday lunchtime) with a lot of flat surfaces, so fairly noisy. But bookings can be made online, so you should be able to pick your moment.

A pleasant addition to the South Coast.

219 Onepu Road, Lyall Bay

The Spruce Goose

On the corner of Moa Point Road and Cochrane Street in Lyall Bay in the former Aero Club building (just behind the mega centre on the waterfront) is the new Spruce Goose.

Spruce goose menu

Open from 7am-11pm 7 days, with two floors of indoor and outdoor dining, this is a beast of a joint.  The same brunch/lunch menu operates from 7am-3pm, then counter snacks until 5pm and then dinner kicks off.  No bookings at any time.

I did like that the brunch/lunch menu had an ‘on toast’ section with a good range of things you could choose to complement your toast.  And the most impressive thing – on a busy sunny still-pretty-much-holiday Saturday around 11am with the place looking full to the gunnels from the outside – we were seated within 5 minutes and the food came 15 minutes later as promised.  I absolutely didn’t expect them to deliver to that timeframe and do it with well presented tasty food to boot (so it just goes to show the big venues can handle it if they’re turning people through and have good systems in place).

Spruce goose mushrooms

Having said that, the first time I called in around 2pm on a weekday I was told there was a 45 minute wait for food and their cabinet was bare, so I carried on down to Maranui Surf Club where I enjoyed cabinet fare in a slightly more peaceful environment.  Be interesting to see what impact the Spruce Goose has on the Surf Club long-term (if at all).

The marinated mushroom salad with organic smoked yoghurt was very pleasant (and pretty), albeit I would have preferred a few more dollops of smoked yoghurt to really experience the melded flavours, and the eggs benedict had loads of good quality ham and was proclaimed tasty.
The clientele is mixed between families, cyclists, big groups, couples, young and old, and is fairly noisy at times (depending on where one is seated), so I suspect its a good leisurely group brunch/lunch spot, or a good late afternoon beer/early dinner spot.

Spruce goose image

The surfers across the road weren’t getting much air on this day (check out some views here on SG’s Facebook page), but there’s plenty to keep one (or one’s kids) amused with plane traffic if the surfing’s a bit flat.

Be interesting to see how these guys are doing in six months time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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