foodiegemsofwellie

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 “Wellington”

Eat well, live well

That’s the philosophy of the new EAT on the corner of Wakefield and Cuba.

My first three visits have all been worthy, as they should with Laurent Loudeac (formerly of Hippopotamus, QT Museum), and John David (of Cin Cin) at the helm.

EAT confit & roast pork belly

Despite the French and Italian hands behind the wheel, the food is all modern contemporary, with just a little French and Italian showing through in the sauces or dish origins  (poached Waitoa chicken breast with veloute cream and polenta, or vine tomato tart with Clevedon buffalo milk curd, basil and balsamic).

My first visit was a group dinner for 16 so we organised a fixed price feast of shared dishes to simplify things for the kitchen and give us an opportunity to try a bunch of things (a most cunning plan!).

EAT goat cheese tort w cress walnuts.jpg

My faves were the goat cheese Boursin tortellini with walnut and watercress, and the confit and roasted pork belly with caramelised apple, carrot, wilted savoy cabbage, jus and mustard (at top). All had the level of delicacy we’ve come to expect from Laurent, and showcased local, fresh and seasonal products.

My next visit was a chicken pie at lunch, also very well executed with a rich hearty taste to completely satisfy.

And my third visit was dessert on a girls night out, which also hit the mark nicely (below the Whittakers chocolate creation of a few weeks ago, rather than the apple tart that I totally forgot to photograph).

EAT choc creation.jpg

This is a place to come and eat slowly to appreciate whats put in front of you, not a place to rush in and out. My only gripe is that the place is pretty noisy when full, being all flat surfaces; perhaps that will be remedied with time.

EAT is open in the mornings for pastries and coffees, and gets fully under-way food-wise for lunch and dinner. And you can buy gift cards. Helloooo Christmas!!!

128 Wakefield Street

Open 7 days and nights

People’s coffee in Lukes Lane

I popped by the new People’s Coffee in Lukes Lane this weekend, their first flagship in the CBD (the mothership being in Newtown).

And liked what I saw. The food reminded me a lot of the Leeds Street Bakery (the Shelly Bay Baker instead), and the decor a lot like Goldmine by Lamason on Willis Street.

Peoples Lukes decor.jpg

We happened along while various toast specials are on the go around town, so figured it’d be rude not to sample their beetroot pickled eggs on toasted Bakers rye with turmeric almond butter, beetroot pint beans, fennel pickle and fresh rocket. Phew!

It was spectacular to look at and a very good balance of flavours and textures. If you’re in the area, get this under your belt forthwith.

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We also sampled Esther’s chocolate almond butter and orange marmalade on sourdough, which was certainly pleasant but might have been enhanced with a little banana on top to add a light fruity layer against the tackiness. No doubting the quality of ingredients though.

I like that they’re using the Oatery’s granola too, another tasty Wellington venture.

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People’s coffee is all about sourcing organic and fair trade through long-term cooperative partnerships, so you’re doing the world a service by popping into People’s for your fix of java.

Cnr of Lukes Lane and Taranaki Streets

 

 

 

 

The greatest of the latest

I’ve been a little distracted by selling a property with a short move-out date, but I’m back now with a summary of the recent openings I think are worthy for different reasons…

Lola Stays

Lola has a very appealing new decor (the old Vista on Oriental Parade), and is a sunny, very pleasant place to wile away time over a leisurely brunch or scone (excellent cheese scones!).

If you lived around Oriental it’d also be a very easy place to pop in for a wine and nibble on the way to or fro.

Full write up here.

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7 days 7am til late.

Lulu Bar

This is a bar and eatery inspired by Hawaii, with Pacific twists throughout – from the tropical plants under grow lights, to a very smart poke dish, and rum flights.

Also check out the large mural in the bar out back, very cool (and yes the former Ancestral warm concrete seats still exist).

Full write up here.

Lulu poke HERO.jpg

7 days from noon for the bar, 7 days from 4.30pm for Oceanic eats (full restaurant side).

NOTE – Boom burger right next door is also theirs (shared kitchen), so if you fancy your burger sitting down with a beer, order and enjoy it inside Lulu.

Bellamys by Logan Brown

This is iconic dining – you’re getting the Logan Brown expertise from service to plate, in one of the most iconic NZ buildings, while rubbing shoulders with the power players (two of my three visits I spied MP’s at other tables).

At very reasonable prices too I might add.

Full write up here.

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Tuesday to Friday, lunch noon to 2pm and dinner 5.30pm to 8.30pm. Via Parliament’s main security / tour desk entry. NOTE – Bookings required 24 hours prior so they can provide numbers and names to the security desk.

1154 Pastaria

The latest venture from the Bresolin lads directly opposite Scopa, focusing on simple, traditional pasta dishes done well.

Upstairs the team make all the pasta by hand, downstairs they pass it through cooking, saucing and plating in a streamlined flow, so that it almost could be labelled pasta fast food.

Beware you need to order at the counter, and seating is a matter of luck in arriving when there’s a space at a table somewhere.

Full write up here.

1154 Tortelloni

7 days 11am til late.

Sugar Flour

Pastry and art combined. This is something everyone should make an effort to get to at Kilbirnie.

Young Maxine (seriously, I think she started patisserie straight out of nappies) slaves all week to make gorgeous works of art that sell from 10am to 3pm Friday (or until sold out prior), and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 4pm (or until sold out prior).

Full write up here.

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Hours above. Get in early.

Phew!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beer tour at Whistling Sisters

Whistling Sisters is the new micro-brewery associated with The Fermentery eatery on the corner of Taranaki and Ghuznee Streets.

WS decor.jpg

Bede and Ange Roe, along with Russell and Elwyn Scott (of The Featherston, Avida and Leuven, to name a few) have significant beer and hospitality experience behind them, so have hit the ground running.

The brewery specialises in crafting balanced beers (as opposed to the big hoppy stuff), and currently have six varietals available. If you fancy the full inside gen, book yourself a tour at 4pm on a Saturday which includes a talk by Bede about the beer process, a wander through the brewery and a beer flight matched to tasty food from the kitchen downstairs. Great fun for $39.

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Their brewery kit was designed and made in Nelson which allowed them to add extra features to give more control over their brewing process, like the malt grind and how/when they add their special ingredients (the fresh ginger and galangal to the Rooty Toot Toot).

WS brewery visit.jpg

They also don’t pasteurise or filter their beers, preferring instead to allow all flavours to come through untouched. And like to promote the idea of beer as great for food matching, again without the big hoppiness overpowering whatever you’re eating.

All of the beers we tasted were light, clean and very drinkable, with my favourite turning out to be the Rooty Toot Toot ginger sour beer. And I’m not a beer drinker!

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These were the matches we enjoyed, all equally good:

  • A red pilsner with Kraut cheese balls (the eatery is after all a Fermentery)
  • The golden ale with garlic hummus and crisp pita shards
  • The chocolate oatmeal stout with smashed cod and soft pita bread (unexpected but I guess when you think about oyster stouts, seafood and stout have some history)
  • The Rooty Toot Toot ginger sour with pork terrine.

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In terms of the Fermentery side of the business, their philosophy is also to craft their own, and, create dishes that match nicely with the beers.

I have popped along recently for brunch and thoroughly enjoyed their kumara pancake with bacon (although it was a bit early for beersies that day!), and the chip fiend (yep you guessed it) ordered the burger and chips, which he proclaimed satisfying as well.

WS Kumara pancake.jpg

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I also really like purpose of Whistling Sisters too – the premature death of Karen Louisa from secondary breast cancer (one of Russell and Elwyn’s daughters) inspiring the family to create a research trust, with the profits of Whistling Sisters and the Fermentery supporting that.

So the ‘Sisters’ signifying the closeness of Russell’s two daughters and the ‘Whistling’ signifying the attempt to keep on whistling and looking on the bright side when life gets you down (the Life of Bryan anyone?).

WS Karen.jpg

A great outlook and I wish them well.

Cnr Taranaki and Ghuznee Streets

 

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.

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new Black Dog

I recently popped along to the new Black Dog Brewery up Cuba Street to see how it compared to the previous iteration in Blair Street.

Quite favourably I have to say (as a non-beery girl).

Black dog HERO.jpg

Downstairs is the micro-brewery with lots of shiny tanks, and staff happy to talk to you all day long about their brews, and guide you through tastings.

And upstairs is a lounge bar with some very groovy art, where you can relax and try something new.

The brewery’s stated aim is to ‘create interesting alternatives to the range of beers already available. Some will work and some won’t but if we don’t try we’ll never know. Our mission is to always be interesting and intrepid, always act independently and stay in tune with what the drinkers want’.

In line with that, despite them being part of the DB family, Bar Manager Mat tells me the Cuba Street microbrewery is seen as the innovation hub for the brand where they create to their heart’s content and don’t have to worry about production runs or marketing. When they strike one that ticks all the boxes it then gets passed off to the mothership to deal with from there.

Black dog decor.jpg

So, as well as the core beers (like Chomp – their first ever brew – or The Dogfather), you’ll get new ones each season (like the Pug Life an extra pale ale, or Hop Boxer a fresh hop IPA). In fact, when we visited right in the middle of Hopstock, the Hop Boxer had been so popular they were eeking it out in tasting size glasses only until they could whip some more up!

One of the things the staff are very keen on is helping you try something new, starting with what type of flavours in general or densities you like and they’ll whip out various things that might be of interest (for example the Saisson has banana notes, who’d’ve known). If you go away saying you’ve had a great experience and tried something new, they’ll consider their job well done.

Black dog beers.jpg

They’re also keen on collaboration with other local businesses, including coffee and chocolate magic with Havana and WCF respectively, food from the Wellington Seamarket next door or Pandoro (beer and barley bread, and pizza bases), and I believe there are other collaborations with the likes of Grill Meats Beer coming soon.

You’ll also find exhibitions by different artists throughout the brewery and bar, acting like an informal Cuba Street Art Gallery (now that’s my kinda gallery!).

Tuesday to Sunday, noon until the wee smalls.

216 Cuba Street

 

 

Enjoying Saffron Haveli

I finally got (a lot of my posts are starting with that lately aren’t they!) to the new Saffron Haveli on Cambridge Terrace, in the old Strawberry Fare premises.

And was pretty impressed with the food quality. I think along with Kera-la-carte this might be one of my fave Indian eateries now.

Haveli main menu.jpg

After ordering drinks we were presented with feather-light crispy poppadoms with enough salt to be moreish but not OTT. A great accompaniment to the Lychee mint mojito and Indian beer.

We then dove straight into mains with a Malai kofta, and a chicken special. The kofta were silky and light in a nicely dense sauce. And the chicken special was very tender and flavourful, despite being kiwi hot. No flavour ruinations with the temperature increases here.

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Haveli means a mansion or hall where families live and eat together, and there were certainly plenty of families and groups dotted around the restaurant.

The service was courteous and friendly, and all in all, we rather enjoyed ourselves.

25 Kent Terrace

PS. They look to do a roaring trade in take-aways, so if you’re short on time or fancy eating at home, that’s another option.

Pomelo surprise

I had heard good things about Pomelo Kitchen and Bar  on Oriental Parade, but when we finally got there this weekend, it totally exceeded expectations.

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The views, of course, are fantastic from those giant windows looking directly across the harbour and city, and the decor is light and fresh.

Co-owners Lily and Laili Chin started from a takeaway background in the Hutt Valley (among other things), and have obviously been hiding their light under a bushel.

The food very much made me think of Comes and Goes at Petone, both in terms of quality and presentation. Being ‘pan-Asian’, the ingredients draw from many cultures – Thai yellow curry, Vietnamese tiger prawn salad, Chinese pork dumplings, and much more.

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The signature soft shell crab with coriander, chilli mayo and slaw was a first for the chip fiend, and he thoroughly enjoyed the delicate flavours of the crab on its own, as well as enhanced with the chilli mayo.

The caramelised eggplant with tamarind, Sichuan pepper and sesame seeds had a very thin crispy batter, without any inner sog, and was nicely enhanced by the sweet sauce and sesame seeds.

The slow braised Angus beef ribs fell off the bone, the yellow curry with lotus chips was the best I think I’ve ever had, and the spiced poached pear with coconut custard was a light fresh finish.

Every dish supported the main ingredient to shine, and was melt-in-the-mouth where it should be, lightly crispy where it should be, firm where it should be, and fresh. Even the hand cut kumara fries were an excellent showcase of kumara (and rather fab dipped in the yellow curry!). Impressive.

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There’s a rather cute wee bar down the back, with a lit marble base and wooden slab top, and a couple of wee tables for a quieter eat if you fancy (the main room is pretty noisy with flat surfaces, especially when there’s a big group celebrating nearby).

The drinks include a range of specialty green teas in addition to the normal teas and coffees (Yame, Chiran, Shira ori), a chili hot chocolate, a sticky chai latte, a large list of non-alcs (including specialty sodas and kombucha), some interesting-sounding cocktails (the Hulk, the Drunken Buddha), champagne from Champagne, a good range of NZ wines, local craft beers, a sake, and a couple of spirits. Phew!

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I think I’ve found a new favourite for evening wanders.

From 5.30pm Tuesday to Sunday.

232 Oriental Parade (above Beach Babylon)

 

Wicked Wildfire

We recently tried out the new Wellington Wildfire on Tory Street, spawned from the Auckland mothership.

And Oh. My. God. So much food. All the New Years resolutions about portion control went totally out the window in a big way. Wicked, wicked Wildfire.

Wildfire carving

You can read all the details here, but suffice it to say:

  • Its Brazilian BBQ, so expect a lot of meat (although they do have a whole separate vegetarian menu which I’m going to try next time)
  • Its kinda like yum cha where they keep coming to your table with skewers of different proteins and carving off whatever you fancy (with unlimited salad and roasties on the side, and that’s after intro tapas and tasters!).
  • The variety of protein will astound you – everything from several types of beef, pork, seafood, lamb, chicken, and on it went….
  • It’s a full-your-boots kinda place so plan to be there for a while and don’t rush it
  • There’s no shortage of liquid accompaniments to suit all tastes
  • Go with a group for best fun (it’s possibly not your intimate first-date experience)
  • Fast for the whole day prior.

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7 days, noon til late.

60 Tory Street.

 

 

 

The Old Quarter

I finally got to The Old Quarter on Dixon Street, and rather liked it.

Old Quarter decor.jpg

A new Vietnamese eatery, The Old Quarter reminded me of Mr Go’s in many ways (decor), and of Dragonfly in others (food).

With dishes ranging from classic and not-so-classic bao buns (five spice roasted pork, salt and pepper soft shell crab), to nearly a dozen share plates (son-in-law eggs, salt and pepper squid), to salads (green papaya, orange roasted duck) or more individual meals (lemongrass grilled pork with spring rolls, green vegetarian/vegan curry), there’s definitely something for everyone here.

The fried fish in the apple salad was light and tender without any hint of grease or fishiness and was a nice contrast to the crisp apple and herbs, the baos were light but still slightly tacky (in the nicest possible sense!) and generously filled, and the peking cashew duck was tender and flavourful.

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Of course the chip fiend couldn’t help but point out that the website on the wall hangings was misspelt, as was the ‘wrapping’ leaves of the Crying Tiger. Perhaps the legacy of chip withdrawal?

The drinks offer up one of each wine varietal (two pinot noirs), a bunch of cocktails with suitably intriguing names (Chai to say No, Blushing Dragon), and a scattering of beers and cider.

Old Quarter drinks list.jpg

The service was friendly and personable, and I’m most definitely heading there for another round soon.

39b Dixon Street

 

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