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 “yakitori”

Ancestral yakitori

Finally I’ve managed to get my butt on the lovely warm concrete seats in the Ancestral courtyard (very cool, err warm) and try out their yakitori offerings.


Because I’d been drinking elsewhere beforehand I didn’t imbibe, but did count 37 wines by the glass, 8 sakes, a big range of whisk(e)ys, and several chinese teas for two (without even getting to their cocktail list). Phew!

We chose about six plates between the two of us, which turned out to be about right, including beef, lamb, chicken, mushrooms, eggplant/peppers and seaweed salad (highly recommended by a waitress to a friend previously).

Ancestral skewers

Not convinced the seaweed salad was anything to write home about, but the skewers were all tender, flavourful and well presented.

Part of the fun of eating this way is the theatre of someone cooking near you, and the fun of trying many things.

Ancestral certainly have a polished system, with friendly staff, and even though it was only midweek, the courtyard was full.

Ancestral chef

The only thing I disliked was the smokers at the very next table puffing away, which does taint the whole dining experience.

Although I’ve personally found the indoor restaurant at Ancestral overpriced and underwhelming (and heard the same again from someone else recently), the yakitori value and delivery is about right.

Also for males, I’m told they should go check out the bathrooms – pitch black and a little eerie – although not so much for the ladies who experience varying shades of white and cream.

31-33 Courtenay Place

Ancestral map

Kazu Yakitori & Sake bar

What better way to showcase a number of Wellington eating experiences to a visiting friend than a progressive dinner?

So Saturday night’s excursion was peanuts and Badgers Piss (truly, I’m not taking it….!) at Bangalore Polo Club, skewers and Japanese beer at Kazu Yakitori Bar, tapas and craft beer at the Hop Garden, and dessert and gewurtz nectar at Ambeli.

Kazu Yakitori (yaki – to grill, tori – chicken) is tucked away upstairs on Couternay Place.  From the Japanese greeting to the quirky English translation on signs, to the bandana-wearing chef entertaining with flames and skewers on the bench top grill, it’s a casual and fun place to experience a small slice of Japan.

The staff are respectful and mostly Japanese (chefs only speak/read Japanese), and the revamped menu now appears to offer a greater range of non-skewered dishes as well.  Good for us slightly vego personalities who like lots of veges with our meat.  Not entirely convinced about the non-Japanese repeat-track music playing on the night though.

The 5 stick combo platters range from traditional all-chicken including hearts (firm but pleasant) and gizzards (crunchy and variably received!), to mixed (beef, tuna, salmon, scallop and vegetables), to spicy, to healthy etc.   And for the adventurous, a roulette sushi dish presented like a wheel with one of the 8 pieces having the mother load of wasabi tucked inside.  Surprise!

Of appeal for my next foray to Kazu Yakitori are the lotus root chips, tofu and sansai (mountain vegetables) salad and taiyaki sweet dessert pancake (grilled in a fish shape and filled with red bean paste) with green tea ice cream.  Open evenings only.

Also in the Kazu stable are the Kazu restaurant on Tory Street, Wasabi sushi (Cuba & James Cook), at Mison in Woodward Lane.


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