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 “winebar”

Three new winebars – Amador, Ascot & Glass

And all quite different.


amador entry

Found upstairs above Tommy Millions at the Press Hall in Willis Street, with a pleasant balcony to watch the world go by (albiet more peacefully in the weekends and at night!), Amador has a nice cruisy vibe.

With stalwarts Andy Gray of Hanging Ditch and Gordie Carlyle from the former Motel cocktail bar in charge, there’s an expectation of quality in both service and food. And it didn’t disappoint on our first visit.

To be fair we were using the WellingtonNZ advent calendar voucher for Laurent Perrier Rose bubbles and tasting board each (combined into one board below), so didn’t need to test their expertise for wine suggestions. But the service was prompt and personable, so I have no doubt they’d be happy to make recommendations when needed.

Amador champ advent.jpg

The menu is very simple – daytime focus on bagels, and by night a couple of meats, cheeses and oysters. Yay for not overtaxing the brain!

There are a good number of wines by the glass, ranging from NZ classics like Craggy Range Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc through to European Destination of Origin certified wines.

The name Amador is a type of font, a further nod to the Dominion Post Press Hall heritage, and presently open 7.30am to 11pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 10pm Saturdays.


Ascot decor.jpg

Ascot is at the other end of the scale – minimalist, rustic and low brow. A place for an unadorned natural wine and hotdog.

On the rooftop above 1154 on the corner of Cuba and Ghuznee, Ascot is found by climbing the stairs off Ghuznee (past Nightflower, another new cocktail bar halfway up).

I entirely failed to get a picture of my friend’s organic and cloudy-looking (unfiltered) wine because I was so focussed on the fabulous carrotdog in front of me, but can tell you it had a slightly sour nose and almost yeasty backnote to the taste. At one point we wondered if she’d actually grabbed a sour beer and was conning us, but no, it was actually a natural wine. Most interesting.

Ascot carrot dog.jpg

The hotdogs are either pork or a whole carrot gently marinated and cleverly impersonating a standard dog in a bun. And kinda with the texture of meat too. I thoroughly enjoyed my carrot dog with curry sauce (the special of the day), and can see how Ascot fits the Cuba vibe nicely.

Cheap, simple and effective.

Tuesday to Saturday 4pm til late.


Glass French wines.jpg

Glass in Chews Lane is owned and operated by Jonathan Brookes, former Restaurant Manager of Whitebait, and confirmed kiwi-lad who lived and worked in French restaurants for some time.

Because of that background, Jonathan imports his own French wines (mostly natural), and showcases them alongside quality, and sometimes quite unusual, local wines. He and his staff are extremely knowledgeable about all the wines and can effortlessly match you with a cheeky little number that ticks all your boxes, or give you something to think about if you’re in an experimental mood.

The food is also carefully crafted using local, fresh and seasonal, with delicacy in the execution. There are a couple of smaller tapas-style options and a couple of bigger plates depending on whether you just fancy a small bite with your wine after work/before a show/after a show, or more substance because you’re parked there for the duration.

Glass cust strawb tart.jpg

I might have visited a few times since I live very nearby, but can attest to the consistency of the service and quality over those visits.

Roast duck breast with burnt purple cabbage and turnips anyone?

Brekkie to dins/supper Monday to Friday 7am to late, and Saturday 10am til late.


A Noble addition

NOTE: Charley Noble now have a full separate gluten-free menu, just ask for it when dining.

So the new Whitehouse venture in town is launched – Charley Noble.

And a great addition to this corporate/Queens Wharf end of town it is.

Charley Noble menuA bar and restaurant focused around wood fired cooking (wood fired rotisserie 1/2 chicken, fire grilled vegetables, wood fired lamb shoulder anyone?) and fresh seafood (esp if you’re an oyster lover), delivering a quality experience at comparable prices to many other places around, and with a vibe a little like a cross between Matterhorn and Pravda to me.

Although they market CN as more ‘accessible’ it still retains that finer edge in quality and presentation (like the ice creams inspired by apple pie, with each presented on a bed of green apple, or crunchy crumble or fat golden raisins as relevant to the flavour – and so pretty!). All the dishes we tried were all very flavourful and well put together.

I particularly liked:

  • The cocktails being split into themed sections (woody and spicy, floral and fruity)
  • The delivery of cocktails in crystal glasses
  • Wine in half glasses and half bottles, and listed in the menu from dry to sweet in each category
  • Charley Noble pigtail saladChunks of venison in the arancini, not just flavours
  • The Charley Noble story on the front of the menu including an entertaining piece about ‘shooting charley noble’ (you’ll have to go yourself, I couldn’t possibly spoil that tale)
  • The rustic decor
  • A really interesting pigtail salad with fantastic texture, colour and taste (yep that’s it there)
  • Baskets of fruits and veggies hanging on the walls
  • The hams hanging by the kitchen
  • The ice cream dessert
  • Excellent staff and service

I was a bit bemused by:

  • No salt and pepper on the tables and none offered (not that I use either, but interesting that there appears to be a clear decision to stand by their flavourings as delivered).
  • The toilets being a bit of a hike down the corridor and around the corner from the restaurant (and potentially hard to keep up to the standard of the restaurant).
  • Having to chase my Israeli couscous (beneath that delish wood fired lamb shoulder) around a pudding bowl with a fork and knife, harder to scoop up than you’d imagine!

Charley Noble icrecreamsYou could easily come here just for a drink and nibble, small plates or full on dinner.

They are currently doing Monday to Saturday 11am til late, and plan to open for breakfast from 9am in the not too far off future.

Definitely worth a visit (or two).


Ground Floor, Huddart Parker Building, the corner of Customhouse Quay and Post Office Square (directly opposite The City and Sea Museum at Queens Wharf).


Charley Noble door












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