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 “Paraparaumu Beach”

50-50 at Pram Beach

I have been told a couple of times to check out 50-50 at Paraparaumu Beach, and OMG, it was really excellent.

5050 decor.jpg

The decor is very austere, with three pictures on one wall, and simple brown tables in one big oblong room. But don’t be fooled.

Helen Turnbull (opened Rata restaurant in Queenstown for Josh Emett, also best emerging chef at Hummingbird in the 2014 Capital awards) crafts her dishes at a big kitchen bench at the end of the room, while long-time Wellington bar personality Eddy Kennedy runs the front of house as smoothly as a well oiled machine.

The menu has only four dishes per course to choose from, and you can go a-la-carte, or do a 6 or 9 course dinner ($75 and $95 respectively) where Helen presents from across the menu, or have a taste of everything for $120. So lots of choice in how you eat.

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Among our group of three, the stand-out dishes were all of them. But of particular memorability were the amazing flavours of the aubergine entree which the biggest vegetable-avoider of the group fell in love with (me too for that matter), the crispy pork belly with both fantastic crispness and tenderness, the super crispy but feathery roast tatties which appeared by magic with the mains, and the unusualness of the nectarine tart.

The drinks list is also small, but as you’d expect with Eddy’s background, interesting and well formed. We enjoyed The Bone Line Waipara non-typical chardonnay (was described well and double checked with us at ordering), and at $11 per glass was good value.

The beers include a Lakeman Primate pilsner, Kereru Come By Shepherd’s low alcohol ale and Duncans stout (to name half of them), and the non-alcs Kapiti chemex coffee, strawberry Sichuan fizz, apricot and tarragon iced tea, again all interesting and a little different.

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This is definitely a place all foodies should try, and do book as they’re getting really busy.

Wednesday to Saturday evenings (note closed as a one-off this week 21 to 24 Feb).

27 Maclean Street, Paraparaumu Beach

Soprano and Marine Parade Eatery

We’re darned lucky with eating options throughout our region.

I finally got to Soprano Italian Ristorante at Paraparaumu Beach for dinner, and the Marine Parade Eatery for lunch.

Soprano windowSoprano I’d missed out on previously because it was totally booked out, so I didn’t fall into that trap twice (and it was half full by 7pm on a mid-week night).

The environment is warm and cosy with mellow music and welcoming staff (yes the picture is back-to-front as I really liked the textures and vista looking outward from my spot). 

Although several entrees appealed to me (twice cooked cheese souffle with apple; walnut and crumbled goat cheese salad; Waikanae crab and ricotta ravioli with lemon chives and butter sauce), I also was feeling the need for greens so headed to the Boccoli e Broccoli pasta with sauteed Italian sausage, roasted broccoli, pine nuts, basil pesto and arugula.

Soprano pastaAnd very good it was too. Tasty herbacious sausage from the Waikanae butchery, a generous amount of roasted broccoli and a well balanced dish overall both flavour and texture-wise. The accompanying Mount Riley Chardonnay was luscious and complimented the pasta well (lightly oaked with a palate of citrus and stone fruit).

The owner popped by all tables to say hi, which was a nice touch, and given there were several desserts I couldn’t fit, I’ll most definitely be back (entree and dessert next time methinks).

The Marine Parade Eatery is more of your funky daytime (and some evenings) cafe and deli.  But also with good food, ambience and service.

Marine Eatery decorI liked the whole loaded shelves of goodies, rustic tables, fresh flowers, and light bright airiness despite the miserable day outside.  The menu here leans towards plates, large and small, and tapas in the evenings (as well as other events like the shared Sunday Roast on the last Sunday of each month – keep an eye on their FB page).

I wasn’t after substantial, so chose the risotto small plate, which turned out to be mushroom and parmesan, with an accompanying winter warmer lemon, honey and fresh thyme drink.  The risotto was pleasingly al dente, with a subtle green taste alongside the mushroom.  And the drink had real thyme and was mellower but nicer for that. Both impressive.

Marine Eatery risottoMost of the offerings had interesting components (jerk marinated chicken with a zesty bulghar wheat, sweet corn, capsicum and toasted seed salad; sardines and grilled tallegio on toasted ciabatta with fresh tomato and herb salsa; lemon, honey and cayenne pepper hot drink; peppermint hot chocolate), and all looked very appealing. They also do $10 daily stuffed bagel specials, and the cake cabinet looked rather delicious as well.  I’m definitely coming back sometime with a good hunger on!

Marine Eatery deliYou will find Soprano in the Copperfields Complex at the Beach doing Monday-Saturday evenings.

And Marine Parade Eatery at 50 Marine Parade, currently doing Wednesday-Thursdays 7.30am – 2.30pm, and Fridays-Sundays 7.30am – 9pm (keep an eye on the hours adjusting seasonally).

There’s no two ways about it, Paraparaumu Beach is a wonderful spot for a mini-escape.

Coastal Cuisine

A weekend jaunt up the Kapiti coast brought some challenging weather, interesting birds (see my post here about Nga Manu Nature Reserve) and wonderful food.  The highlights:

  • RSC sage eggsThe delicious almond shortbread bought from the Paraparaumu Beach Market before the wind and rain washed them out (and the Mary Potter Hospice Strawberry Festival unfortunately).
  • The [south] Raumati Social Club’s sage eggs and quinoa/kale fritter specials (and we loved the myriad carpets on the ceiling and that there was a ‘comprehensive’ breakfast option on the menu).
  • Long Beach prawn popcornThe Long [Waikanae] Beach buzzy environment, delicious prawn popcorn, almond pear tart (later found to have come from the local Olde BeachBakery around the corner – see below), great service and fabulous tea cosies.  Also noted the new North End micro-brewery being established in the cafe so that the return visit for delicious looking (and very popular) pizza can be accompanied by a craft brew. Nice.
  • The roti with spicy peanut sauce and warming flavourful red duck curry at Muang Thai at Paraparaumu Beach.
  • No6 sconeThe scones at No 6 Cafe at Raumati Beach (simply the best we’ve had in ages, both date and cheese).
  • Everything at the Olde Beach Bakery at Waikanae Beach. I could have just pulled up a chair and stayed all day.  In the end, I took home flaky well-made pies for dinner.
  • Relish Cafe’s warm bacon and avocado salad.  Simple but tasty, in a wonderful cottage environment.

Indep BurgerFor next time we’re lining up the ones we couldn’t manage this time – the Independent Burger Company Truck at Paraparaumu Beach (due
to weather) and Soprano Italian Restaurant (also at the Beach and booked to the gunnels prior).

We are so, so lucky with our regional offerings, as well as what we tend to focus on in the city.

Bon appetit.

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