Photographs: David Straight
If you could tweak one thing in Wellington’s culinary landscape, you might trade the plethora of Turkish and Lebanese kebab shops for just one of the souvlaki joints that Christchurch is so well served with.
The glaring exception to the almost universal mediocrity of Wellington’s Turkish kebaberies is Phoenecian Falafel: either in its original location under the Embassy in Kent Terrace, or at Phoenecian Cuisine in upper Cuba Street – run, respectively by Tony Asaaf and his son Elie. They make their own chilli sauce, which is wonderfully tangy and zingy and rich with peppers, and a garlic paste that is creamy and mellow. They also make the best wraps and platters you will find in the capital.
We love their sojok (spicy sausage, $12), and their mehshi (delicious lemony rice wrapped in vine leaves, $10), their chicken shwarma ($12), their hummus, and their fataya (Lebanese pies – either spinach or cheese, $6). Their food is always perfectly seasoned and fresh (even if there is something about the falafel that is faintly reminiscent of carrot cake). In short: the only Middle-eastern food in Wellington worth bothering with. JT
HOURS Monday to Thursday until 8.30pm; Fridays 10.30am to 9pm; Saturdays 10.30am to 8.30pm
ADDRESS Phoenecian Falafel, 10 Kent Terrace, ph (04) 382-9818. Phoenecian Cuisine, 233 Cuba Street, ph (04) 385 9997.
IMPORTANT DETAILS Ask for extra chillis in your kebab – they aren’t too hot, and are vinegary and tart. And the baklava is superb.