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 “Willis Street”

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Press Hall Eateries

I recently checked out the new Press Hall Eateries in Willis Street next to Ti Kouka, so named because the site was originally the press hall for the Evening Post.

Presshall decor.jpg

The quality of the eateries is good with local favourites like Fratelli, Tommy Millions, Yoshi, and others. And the decor nicely done.

I decided the best way to sample the Hall was a progressive early dinner (most eateries open til 7pm), so started at Aroha’s plant-based cuisine, moved to Mad Mex for mains, and then took Fratelli home for dessert.

Aroha’s plant-based cuisine includes dishes like a smoky seitan vegan burger (wheat protein, so beware those with gluten issues), vege curry with rice or roti, and vegan power bowls, for $12. I decided on the $6 satay kebabs as an entree and found them tasty, with just the right amount of flavour and texture in the satay sauce.

Presshall vego skewers.jpg

We then trucked onto Mad Mex and shared a chorizo quesadilla and loaded Baja fries. Watching the chorizo being flamed in the background, and the quesadilla being made in front of one’s eyes is always a satisfying experience, and both dishes were pleasant and fresh. I loved the booth decor and the guava soda that went alongside.

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And then because I’m a fan of Fratelli, and a progressive dinner isn’t complete without dessert, we took home salted caramel cannoli, piped with filling right in front of us. The custard was delightful, the right density and flavour, and the cases satisfyingly light and bubbly. There my happy belly rested.

Presshall Fratellialt caramel cannoli.jpg

I’m planning on heading back to Yoshi for lunch or an early dinner as they have a separate restaurant-like area down the back which would be ideal for a working lunch or early evening dinner away from the masses.

They are also the only sushi and bento business in the city run by a Japanese lad, and you’ll find more genuine dishes like udon and karaage here.

7am – 7pm weekdays, 9am – 3pm Saturdays.

78 Willis Street.

PS. Keep an eye out for an upstairs bar opening soon run by the Hanging Ditch team.

Young Shing

The delightful Doris has taken over where Yeung Shing used to be in upper Willis Street with a ‘younger‘ version. With clean, fresh Chinese food ranging across the traditional and not-so-traditional.

YS decor

We started off by sharing crispy spring rolls, which were hot, fresh and crispy, and then proceeded to satay beef and kung pao chicken. The satay beef is made using a blend of Fix and Fogg peanut butters (both the smooth and smoke & fire) and coconut milk. As a result the satay wasn’t heavy or gluggy, had a satisfying ring of real peanut oil left on the plate, and a tasty wee zing.

The kung pao chicken was similarly appealing, fresh and satisfying. As well as plentiful, with both meats tender and not over-cooked. There’s no MSG anywhere within a ten mile radius of Doris’s kitchen, and do ask her to explain why the blue cod has a ‘squirrel’ label on the menu, a delightful tale (tail?!).

 

Although this is a simple restaurant with a takeaway area, I enjoyed the clean, fresh styling, and the soothing clunk of woks and pop radio in the background.

There’s a fantastic 8m mural about to be painted on the dining room wall, and local beer and wine to be stocked in the future, but in the meantime take your own wine or beer along (BYO licensed) or enjoy the onsite offerings (I can thoroughly recommend the Hopt salted lychee soda).

YS squirrel

Cost effective, fresh and tasty.

296 Willis Street

Monday to Friday lunch, Monday to Saturday dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

Il Piccolo hideaway

Il Piccolo is a tiny Italian restaurant tucked up Willis Street beside a bakery and an equally tiny Indian restaurant. When I say tiny, they seat about 18pax maximum (if that includes a few fours or sixes to maximise table space).

Having not been there for years, it felt like a nice Friday escape recently.

Il Picc sign

You won’t need to spend a fortune to have a good time here. The antipasto entrees (various forms of pizza breads) are around $7, the mains (pasta or an impressive list of pizzas) around $16, desserts around $7 (excluding the Affogato at $12) and wine $8 per glass.
After a few early wobbles in relation to double bookings and water needing to be requested a couple of times, we were under way. The garlic bread antipasto was thin crust, light and well balanced in flavour (not too garlicky), and pleasantly seasoned. I like starters that don’t leave you feeling too full from the get go.

Il Pic garlic bread

The lasagne pasta was a good mix of al dente beneath, and crispy on top, without vast quantities of meat or cheese (traditional) and a nice rosemary herby backnote.

The anchovy, caper, and cheese pizza was also thin crust, with a little softness in the base, and real anchovy fillets on top. The overall comment was a good mix of sweet, sour and salty (and if they don’t have tables available, or you live nearby, do get a pizza to take away – there was a steady take away trade going on while we were there).

Il Pic lasagne

When dessert time came, I used my well honed skill of choosing the one thing not available – the Bucaneve (cassata gelato essentially) which I was told wasn’t yet set (at least we know it was house made), and ended up with a baby pavlova topped with passionfruit gelato. Again the flavours were well balanced and not overpowering.

The lemon sorbetto was noted as very lemony, and slightly stretchy in texture.

Il Pic dessert

Overall pleasantly sated for a good price, in a warm, cosy and charming environment.

Even if there are a few service or menu wobbles, you’ll still be won over by the sense of being tucked away from the city’s bustle, as if you were dining in nana’s front lounge.

248 Willis Street.Il Pic lamps

The Le Moulin secret

No rouge.

Le Moulin is a long-time Wellington institution turning out delicious bakery goodies and french breads.

Le moulin cornet

Light flakey pastries, beautiful soft fillings (when they’re meant to be) and fresh ingredients – check out this Cornet beauty, just divine.

Have a read of the Omnivores post describing more of the beautiful offerings in detail.

No space for sitting, so plan to take your goodies to savour in another setting.

248 Willis Street near Vivian, Thursday to Sunday.

 

Le moulin map

Mulberry Garden, Willis Street – one to watch…

Next door to the Quoil jewellery shop on upper Willis Street is a cafe space at 149 which has seen a few iterations over recent years.  From Roti Malaysian, to the first Meow, to Ciocco to the current Mulberry Garden Cafe and Bar.

The new owner seems to be starting quietly, but has plans afoot to open up an outdoor garden bar down the back around the mulberry tree already basking in the sun.  I do like that its a long thin cafe with an ‘old-building’ type of facade, and opens out to more once you’re through the door.  Bit like opening a box of chocolates really and maybe discovering something really tasty.  And it did inspire me to do a bit of googling about mulberry trees, just out of general nosiness.

The breakfasts we had were very reasonably priced (in fact I wonder if they can keep the prices down that low over time?), and pleasant.  I did eye up the creamy blue cheese mushrooms on toast, but the stomach wasn’t quite up to that task so early in the day.  Maybe a Saturday brunch return in the future at a civilised time to test these out.  Instead I chose the Italian fruit bread with lemon curd, and R chose the usual toast and peanut butter.

His toast and peanut butter could have been improved by providing grainy or interesting toast (was simple white loaf – but at least fresh and chunky and not tip top square sliced!) or crunchy peanut butter to provide some texture.  Mine was very pleasant and reasonably dense for fruit bread, and two pieces would have been well sufficient.  The coffee was a bit thin, and it appeared that our lad was perhaps newish at baristering, and not yet blasting along confidently multi-tasking at the machine.

The lunch menu looked to have a good range of meal options alongside the cabinet food so definitely one to watch I think and worth popping in if you’re in the neighbourhood for a well priced filling meal in a space still peaceful.

 

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