[Photographs: the City Market]
Returning to Wellington is always a pleasure – in fact, we would happily visit on a monthly basis to enjoy a weekend of good food. Sometimes, we wonder why more Aucklanders don’t do the same – the city easily rivals Melbourne for eating. The upcoming Wellington on a Plate is host to a long list of interesting events – from cheesemaking courses to the Cordon Bleu conversations. And a Turducken evening. Here’s where we suggest you visit next time you’re in the Capital.
Bottomless soda? You had us from hello. The rather new Six Barrel Soda Co. is upstairs on the corner of Eva and Dixon Streets. The cafe doubles as the factory for their small batch soda syrup, which is bottled in medicine style glass and comes in flavours like Cherry & Lemon or Pomengranate. Perch on a high stool, read a National Geographic and chow down on a Haloumi Slider, served with homemade crisps and sour pickles.
The Boulcott Street Bistro is an institution, and quite rightly too! A beacon of happy warmth at the top of, ah, Boulcott Street, their Steak Bearnaise is just as it should be and they didn’t bat an eye when we took the creme brulee back to our hotel, in it’s little porcelain dish. Frites are cooked in duck fat, the green salad was crisp and perfectly dressed, the oysters fresh as anything and our pre-dinner cocktails were perfectly balanced. They describe themselves as brimming with festive bistro dishes – we’d have to agree. Chef Rex Morgan runs a beautiful ship.
99 Boulcott Street, Wellington, ph (04) 499-4199, www.boulcottstreetbistro.co.nz/
A very fine brunch – and a terrific dinner – can be had at The Larder. Buried deep in the heart of Miramar, this unassuming locale is home to a very good selection of light dishes. We enjoyed a light as air truffled cheese soufflé, black pudding and pork belly hash accompanied by a pear, hazelnut and witlof salad – as well as a bottle of ‘breakfast wine’.
Corner Darlington and Camperdown Road, Miramar, ph (04) 891-0354. www.thelarder.co.nz
Warm, welcoming and utterly unpretentious, Duke Carvell’s Swan Lane Emporium is the only place to be in Wellington on a chilly evening. Share a bottle of red over a dimly lit table – best joined by an entire camembert, baked, gooey and warm served with cornichons and toasted bread. Also of merit, the pork board – variations from nose to tail. In the daytime, there’s an all day brunch menu, matched with some sinkable daytime drinks. Bread is made in house, bacon is cured onsite, sausages too.
No. 6 Swan Lane, Wellington Central, ph (04) 385 2240. www.dukecarvell.co.nz
Spend a morning wandering through Martin Bosley’s City Market. An alternative to brunch, or a place to stock up for a weekend picnic – stallholders are united in their integrity and a love of good, honest food. Grab a coffee, and share an oyster and fennel pie from Bosley’s stall; a selection of dumplings from Dumpling House (we were particularly fond of the Japanese six-mushroom one); Honey Mead, Prana Greens, Vietnamese – the list goes on, and on. It’s reminiscent of San Francisco’s Ferry Building, with the adjacent fresh produce market in the carpark outside equally vibrant. The waterfront a crisp, picturesque place to enjoy your purchases and watch the boats go by.
Sundays, 8.30am – 12.30pm, Undercover in the Atrium, Chaffers Dock Building, 1 Herd St, Wellington. www.citymarket.co.nz
Eat Here Now stayed at the Museum Hotel (thanks to our friends at Boutique Lodgings). We can highly recommend their room service, thanks to the Hippopotamus restaurant located onsite: nothing quite as luxurious as ordering a whole crayfish to your room – and it’s directly opposite the aforementioned market.
90 Cable Street, Wellington, ph (04) 802-8900. www.museumhotel.co.nz