This weekend actually now seems an age ago, despite being only a matter of weeks. How time flies. In a matter of days we will be entering August here in NZ & Spring will only be a matter of weeks a way. In that respect I love the seasons, you really need to have Winter in order to appreciate Spring.
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672);
Writer, Poet, First Woman To Be Published In Colonial America
In the meantime here are a few more bites & bobs from that wonderful weekend in Wellington.
Post a pre dinner drink at Prefab, where they were hosting their first evening with live music, we headed to Ombra on Cuba Street. Ombra is an Italian bacari or backstreet bar serving simple, delicious rustic Italian food. In Italian Ombra means shade or shadow & in Venice it refers to a small glass of vino. The menu is made up of small Italian tapas & there is a large variety of dishes to choose from, so most definitely something for everyone.
It’s prior incarnation would you believe was Peaches & Cream & no not an ice cream parlour but a sex shop! The space has been stripped back & is now more reminiscent of its original 1922 fittings & fixtures; the original front door & long leadlight windows.
You can’t book & we arrived about 8:30 on a bustling Friday night & had a half our or so wait for a table. We were lucky to find a little space at the bar to sip on proseco & bellinis while we waited & it was most definitely worth the wait.
We ordered several small plates & they just kept coming. Beetroot gnocchi with sage, butter & Grana Padano were little pink clouds of heaven, perfectly light atop the cheese & topped with the butter & sage. We could have scoffed a bucket of these little beauties. The aromas emanating from our pizzette topped with porcini, scarmoza & truffle were intoxicating & it was also scoffed pretty quick smart.
Also arriving at our table peposa, Tuscan braised ox cheeks that were rich & tender. Pork sausage & polenta was rustic & satisfying & the grilled squid with ink mayonnaise was cooked perfectly. A salad of rocket, radicchio, pears, pecorino & honey provided a little welcome freshness.
And after all that we still found room for dessert! Like the main menu they are tapas size so provide the ideal little sweetness to finish off a meal. Unable to decide we share a trio of tiramisu, saffron & honey panacotta & a chocolate & caramel mousse. All were quite delectable but for me it was the tiramisu, lovely & light & just the right amount of sweet.
The only issue with the menu really is that you can’t sample it all in one sitting, so Ombra definitely makes you wish for return visit. So it will definitely be on the menu when I make a return visit to the capital.
Corner Cuba and Vivian streets
Ph: 04 385 3229
For Saturday breakfast we headed back to Prefab. Bustling would be an understatement, but people were being seated left right & centre as tables became available with admirable efficiency. We were ensconced at our table in just 5 or 10 minutes, no issue on lazy long weekend in Wellington. Coffees & teas ordered we got on to the more serious business of food.
For me the Berlin Breakkie as I have always had a hankering for the continental. I thought this was a steal at $16 for what turned out to be a platter that could easily have satisfied 2. Fresh bread, baked on the premises, cheese, tomato, meats, jam, egg...it was a feast. Just as well it was a long leisurely breakfast, just as they should be on the weekend.
I have to mention the bread...baked on the premises, I may be with my Wellington friends that they do indeed bake the best baguettes! Now only if they would expand to Auckland....
14 Jessie St
Ph: 04 385 2263
Post breakfast a little walking in order along with a little retail therapy. In amongst the usual shopping if you are in Wellington & you love chocolate & who doesn’t? Make sure to visit Bohemein chocolates, if only for their sea salt caramels, quite possibly the best chocolates in the world. A couple of close seconds would be the chilli chocolate & the pineapple & black pepper. A little slice of chocolate heaven.
109 Featherston Street
Ph: 04 499 79 13
A great find was Swonderful boutique. Just as we had admonished ourselves with “no more shopping!” this little boutique across the road as we neared our hotel caught our eye & lured us in for just last minute purchase or 2.... It is a beautiful light & airy space with vintage inspired clothes & lots of other beautiful treasures from local crafts people. It is a little nostalgic treasure trove of lots & lots of very pretty things!
214 Cuba Street
And if you like a cuppa you can’t go past t Leaf T. A veritable treasure trove of teas. t leaf T is owned and operated by Wellingtonians John and Amanda Van Gorp - who aim to bring you New Zealand's ultimate tea experience & on that count they succeed. They have New Zealand's most extensive & adventurous range of teas & infusions. From black teas to green teas to white teas plus oolong, fruit & herbal infusions they have a little bit of everything. And of you want to taste they’ll even brew you a cuppa.
t Leaf T
1 Manners St
Ph: 04 470 7714
Refreshed from the tea we felt in need of just a little sustenance & the Six Barrel Soda Co was the perfect spot. The factory cafe is on the corner of Eva & Dixon Streets where they serve their classic soda fountain style sodas made from fresh, all natural & seasonal ingredients alongside some food. It’s a small menu but it is worth a visit for a soda alongside a slider & fries. These mini burgers are just the perfect size for a late afternoon lunch post a large, late breakfast & before the evenings festivities.
The soda is the star though & current flavours are kola nut, lemon, cherry & pomegranate, lime, raspberry & lemon, hibiscus, sarsaparilla, vanilla cream, ginger and celery tonic. We came home with the highly recommended celery tonic, a tonic is it so wonderfully light & refreshing topped with some soda.
Six Barrel Soda Co
33-35 Dixon Street
Dinner, we felt like light & spicy & checked out Restaurant 88. I would recommend booking as when we arrived at 7:30 on a Saturday evening they were fully booked. We weren’t quite sure what to do with ourselves as we had been looking forward to some Vietnamese delights. It was only as luck would have it that a table was just leaving as we arrived & we were able to be squeezed in.
To start Bo Nuong, Vietnamese grilled sirloin with lemongrass. Tender BBQ marinated beef served with noodles, roasted peanuts, crispy shallots & coriander was so full of flavour & textures, it certainly awakened the taste buds. And for a little freshness the classic Vietnamese Spring rolls which were bright fresh & delicious.
For me the main event it was prawns & prawns for me. Prawns #1;Wok tossed tamarind tiger prawns & prawns #2 stir-fried in a Saigon tangy almost sweet & sour sauce. Sweet, sour & a little spice. However, I did have a little plate envy on this occasion. If you do find yourself here go for the drunken salt & pepper baby chicken with lotus leaf wrapped rice. The baby chickens are poached in herbal wine & then fried until crispy. The chicken was golden crispy on the outside & all juicy & tender on the inside & the lotus leaf wrapped fried rice was, well hard to explain but savoury & flavourful. The food bright & fresh & the service, well just lovely, friendly, welcoming & attentive. Certainly one to check out if you are passing by.
88 Tory St
Ph: 04 385 9088
And to finish our trip to Wellington, well that would be breakfast at Floriditas. We left laden with loaves of their bread & jar of their Seville orange marmalade to to tide us over until the next visit.
161 Cuba Street
Ph: 04 381 2212
Until the next time Wellington, it has indeed been swell!