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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 “miramar”

Oikos Hellenic cuisine

I have to confess up front I’m a bit over the sharing / tapas concept where you end up buying a bunch of dishes, which might come in random spurts, and go home potentially hungry and considerably lighter in the wallet to boot.

Oikos decor.jpg

So I was a little dismayed to find that Oikos, of which I’d heard very good things, was of this ilk too. Lately I just want a proper cohesive meal prepared by a chef putting the right things together for an experience greater than the sum of its parts.

However, Oikos apparently means both family and the place one calls home, so sharing it is (if you have 9 or more in your party you must share at $50 per head).

And there’s certainly no doubting the authenticity of Oikos and staff, with a couple of stand-out dishes – the sesame crumbed feta with honey for one, and the house-made pita bread, which was soft and tender, for two.

Other dishes were pleasant, but didn’t have any wow factor, and the jury’s still out for me on whether chocolate baklava is a good thing or not.

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The service was friendly and welcoming, but needs a little more settling in (one beer never eventuated for the longest time, and the greens to share with the meats was missed entirely). They offer their own Oikos’ organic house wines by the glass (all other wines are by the bottle, both Greek and NZ), which is kinda groovy. And the coffee was black, white or Greek. Simple and effective.

Like others have noted, be prepared for a range of emails, calls and texts from Oikos confirming your booking (they certainly want to be sure you’re going to turn up) and do consider booking if its heading towards the end of the week or the weekend.

And if you don’t like a lot of noise, choose an off-peak time as there’s a lot of flat surfaces here, and it was hard to hear each other by the end.

For me, a great location for a nibble and wine when you don’t fancy a meal.

382 Broadway, Miramar (really just before Strathmore)

 

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Park Kitchen

I’ve popped into Park Kitchen at Miramar twice in recent times, once for lunch with friends, and once for cake while out on a looooong walk (blood sugar needs right?).

And apart from the frowning rabbit we were seated right beneath the first time (I can’t decide if its a groovy piece of art or just a bit disturbing), I enjoyed both outings. The décor reminds me of Loretta in Cuba Street, with a light, bright and airy design, long coffee and servery counters with delicious-looking cakes, and a separate lounge for more casual coffee catchups or a bit of paper reading.

Between us on the first visit we covered the Park cheese burger, the pumpkin rosemary and feta empanadas, the fish fingers with dill mayo, and the seasonal special of the day – end-of-season asparagus with crispy bacon, poached eggs and golden hollandaise. They were all pretty good (creamy empanada fillings, pleasing medium rare meat patty, herby and unctuous tartare with light crispy fish fingers), but the winning dish just might have been the seasonal special.

I also liked that they had a selection of non-alcoholic cocktails to go with the substantive list of local and international wines, NZ craft beers, and classic cocktails also on offer (a night visit next time methinks). There’s certainly something for everyone.

PK mocktail

Elderflower spritz mocktail

On the walk refueling stop, we inhaled an Anzac cookie and cheese scone, both getting the thumbs up.

PK sweets

Park Kitchen seem to have all bases covered, whether you’re wanting coffee and cake, a light nibble, a more substantive meal and/or a relaxing tipple. And add another option to the already-plentiful and quality Miramar/Strathmore dining scene – The Larder, Coco at the Roxy, Café Polo, The Gypsy Kitchen, La Boca Loca, and probably others that I haven’t been to yet.

6 Park Road, Miramar

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Larder, Miramar

UPDATE: The Larder no longer does dinners, so you’ll have to get your fix during the daytime (other than the odd degustation/speciality event).

The Larder.  Finally I am getting around to going there.  High expectations, lots of good things written and heard.  An interesting article in the October-November Dish magazine about Jacob Brown’s penchant for offal, nose to tail eating, and eyeballing the animals before they are turned into his ingredients.  And a 2011 Cuisine Restaurant of the Year nomination.

So what did we find? A very busy restaurant (it was Saturday night), excellent service (friendly, professional and unobtrusive) and really very good food.  Among a group of five we got to try out a fair range of the meals on offer, and there wasn’t one mis-step in terms of quality, taste and presentation.

The pigs head entree was probably the most interesting choice and turned out to be braised cheek rolled and presented in pastry tubes.  Although it was officially an entree, Jacob accommodatingly turned it into a main size with lentils and other bits and pieces for our friend.  Not being a huge fan of offal, I nevertheless had a taste of the accompanying piece of liver and it was melt-in-the-mouth sublime.  Two mouthfuls next time (see, who said old dogs can’t learn new tricks….).

Between us we enjoyed lovely fresh bread handmade on site (one could buy a loaf to take home for breakfast too if one desired), a complementary amuse bouche of asparagus soup with a touch of white truffle oil charmingly served in tiny white cups and saucers, calamari, goat cheese souffle, duck, pork belly and bluenose.

The only complaint I have is that some of the main portion sizes really needed a little more of the starch and vegetable provided as part of the dish (as opposed to the side extras which aren’t part of the chef-designed intention of the dish I wish to experience).  A couple of small forkfuls of savoy cabbage and wafer thin potato dauphinoise with the half dozen slices of duck breast was a bit lacking for $38 I felt.

Some of us had perused the dessert menu early on and decided a definite sweet experience to conclude, and so the others caved and joined us as well.  Again, beautifully presented, flavoured, textured, and generously sized.  Richness-wise actually almost overshadowing the earlier taste sensations for me (but I am a possibly a bit weird in wanting balance and compliment throughout a dining experience).  I had a caramel parfait with honeycomb and very complimentary accompaniments like brandy grilled banana and tiny squares of jelly (can you tell I forgot to take my notebook to make a few unobtrusive notes or take home a copy of the menu?), while the others all went for a vanilla creme brulee with ginger ice cream.

So you do need to go there expecting to eat a full three courses, and take a good sized wallet along.  It is a whole evening’s dining experience, so definitely worth it for a special occasion.  And vegetarians, notify ahead at the time of booking as they don’t have standard vegetarian options, but will create for you.

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