Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Courtenay Place: Part One (A Local's Guide to Wellington)

Swarming with commuters seeking coffee during the day and swarming with club-goers at night, Courtenay Place plays host to a range of places that offer food and beverages.

"The kumara does not speak of how sweet it is."
A great place to grab lunch, Kapai offers a DIY service for salads, puku (toasted flat bread), Long Johns (wraps) and even jacket potatoes. They also provide options such as Ceasar salad and the Kev Long John (cajun chicken and grilled bacon). 

It's one of my favourite places for lunch, as you can choose exactly what you want and they have a great selection of fresh ingredients such as roast kumara, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, sour cream, roast capsicum, and parmesan cheese. I never go to Subway anymore simply because I can't go back there after having this.
Unfortunately the flagship Kapai on Courtenay Place is now permanently closed, and I'm not sure why. But never fear, for they have stores in many locations

Kaffee Eis
A tiny gelato shop, Kaffee Eis has some of the best gelato in Wellington. I'm not exaggerating, ask anyone. You need to try the following flavours: strawberry, coconut, maple walnut (!), cinnamon, white chocolate, passionfruit, and banana which is actually made with real bananas and not just artificial flavours (I don't like banana flavoured things, but this banana gelato is properly bananaey).
They also have several locations, so check them out.

If you want hearty Italian food and wine, visit Nicolini's. I could eat the bruscetta all day long, and the tortellini amatriciana is hard to get over - bacon, chilli, tomato. The atmosphere is like a romantic and dimly-lit trattoria you may find in Italy somewhere, complete with mini Formula One car. 

This cafe does pretty good coffee and pretty good food to order. The cabinet food, on the other hand, is on another level. They have a huge assortment, to the point where even the most decisive people can take a while to decide. They also have a liquor license and are open very late many nights, which is good even if you just want a late night coffee or cake and everywhere else is closed. 

Courtenay Place may be rowdy on a Friday and Saturday night, but I often brave it just to get to the great gems. More parts to come. Many more.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Featherston Street (A Local's Guide to Wellington)

Featherston Street houses many bars for those 9-to-5ers that enjoy a drink or two but don't want to go all the way to Courtenay Place. There's Avida, Arizona and Arbitrageur to name a few. I'm not much of a drinker myself, but Leuven caught my eye (Belgian waffles, anyone?).

A Belgian pub with a reputation of delivering outstanding mussels, we instead came for the brunch. 
The waffles were crispy, but doughy as though they hadn't been cooked through, and came with an odd assortment of cream cheese, banana and grapes. I ordered the porridge which was just okay. I could have made the same thing at home for much cheaper.
The hot chocolates were good if you added two sugars to them as they were made with dark chocolate (too bitter without the sugar for me). These were not made by Leuven, but were DIY hot-chocolate-on-a-stick ones from Bohemein (see below). 
The pub had a lovely atmosphere, with wood paneling and French music. 

A boutique chocolate shop based in Hataitai, Bohemein has branched out to a store on Featherston Street. Here they do customisable hot chocolates. A large list to chose from, I have only yet tried the raspberry white chocolate and the dark chocolate mint. The chocolates themselves are excellent - I recommend the Black Devil Caramel (they have won awards) and the champagne truffle.

A French tea house, Louis Sergeant offers a range of beautiful teas in beautiful tea pots and delectable little cakes. Seen above, 'L'intense' is chocolate sponge with a peanut caramel under chocolate mousse covered in chocolate ganache. 
The tea I tried was '4 saisons' which was quite spicy, the cinnamon especially shining through. It was already sweet enough without sugar, and was nice with or without milk. They offered a macaron of the day - on that particular day it was dark chocolate passion fruit. 
They also have savoury food, and for lunch I tried a ham off the bone sandwich with Swiss cheese and pickle creme fraiche. The acidic pickle cut through the creaminess perfectly. I will be back to try everything else on the menu and in the cake cabinet.

Marie Antoinette gazes down at diners.