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By Heather• 8 Sep 2016 • 5 Comments
Wellington's laneways are having a bit of a moment:
With all this change, it's hard to keep up! So I took a wander around to take stock of the recent additions.
Eva Beva seem to have settled into their groove at the entry of Eva Street, with an array of events and deals throughout the week, and food ranging from Eva's 'morning after' breakfast, to 8-hour slow cooked smoked brisket.
They have their own 'Beva Brew' on tap, and offer up 2:1 desserts for Saturday 'Date Night'. 7 days, 11am til late.
And their Fat Angel sister upstairs, with a mix of local and international DJ's, also seems to have settled in. I haven't braved a climb up the stairs yet as I'm still figuring out if Jungle Rhythm is a dance move or cardiac arrest, but if you're feeling in the mood, you can groove up there Wednesday to Saturday from 5pm to the wee smalls.
Shepherd (Elliott, of Leeds Street Bakery and Ti Kouka) and Sean (Golding, of the nearby Dive Bar) both have similar philosophies on what a good dining and bar experience should be. So when an opportunity arose to add to the laneway vibe, they snapped it up. They've also been inspired by fun and fresh ideas from recent travels in the San Fran (USA) area.
This is from their initial staff advert:
“Well paced affordable dining complimented by impeccable friendly service. Seasonal changing menus matched with a carefully curated rotating beer and wine selection will keep Shepherd as fresh and dynamic as the city it resides in.”
And I reckon they’ve nailed it.
Calm, methodical kitchen staff turn out very well executed dishes from pikelets and oysters, through small plates, bowls, large plates and desserts. All are light, fresh, and tasty, with pricing between $4 (oysters) and $28 (largest plate). The location lends itself to a bite, a graze or a multi-course meal, and you'll find some interesting drinks on the menu, including a selection of Californian craft beers.
Shepherd take some bookings via phone currently (a website and online booking system is due any day), but do leave a fair chunk open for walk-ins. Wednesday to Sunday from 5.30pm.
And if you see Sean around, ask him where the stuffed cow is.
As well as Shepherd opening beside Pomodoro, Red Rabbit have relocated their roastery to Auckland (jeepers, that sentence just kept on giving didn’t it!).
This leaves the Leeds Street Bakery with more space to showcase their breads and delicious fresh sandwiches, alongside quality coffee (still RRR) and those famous salted caramel cookies.
With an American fast-food feel, and only about 15 stools at narrow benches (or an outside leaner for fine days), Best Ugly Bagels is not a leisurely sit-down spot, but somewhere to enjoy quick tasty food on the run. Or pick-up and enjoy at Glover or Cobblestone parks nearby.
The bagels are Montréal style, so softer and airier inside than their New York cousins, and all the better for that - no aching jaw afterwards! Hand-rolled, poached and wood-fired, they're then paired with a range of traditional and NZ toppings - peanut butter and jam, marmite and cheese, Stewart Island Salmon, Zany Zeus cream cheese, house chocolate hazelnut spread, etc.
I apologise in advance for the slightly disturbing-looking bagel image below (the Yodi rueben was somewhat different to the picture I had in my head!), but it was tasty and satisfying, and maybe is the epitome of a best ugly bagel.
7 days, 7am – 3pm.
Flo’s still looks and feels the same, but has new leather seats, metal-wrapped pillars and a few new staff, including Len Baldwin in the kitchen with Julie. So regulars will still feel right at home, but there'll be some new and interesting dishes over time as well.
The ones that caught my eye included a tall glass of Zany Zeus greek yoghurt with tamarillo and pistachio; grilled octopus with popped capers; rabbit pork and juniper rillette with mustard leaves; and coconut and orange blossom pavlova with mandarin and toasted coconut.
Flo’s is still about fresh, seasonal, local, and daily baking; now just in a fully strengthened building. Keep an eye on Julie’s humorous quotes on the top of the daily menus (she’s such a treasure), and don’t be afraid to drag your suitcase in there if travelling - they have a dedicated suitcase parking area! Nice.
7 days from breakfast to late.
The planters and seats now clearly signal ‘pedestrian’ and create a lusher feel.
Gazing out from Egmont Street Eatery while inhaling one of their superb Saturday/Sunday donuts is a double pleasure now (see how I slipped that in? mmmmm donuts….).
The Egmont Street folks have branched out with Sterling Woodfire Eatery and Bar on the Terrace, linked to the new Park Hotel (formerly The Pub site). So while not quite in a laneway, I think it deserves an honorary mention since it's inception sprang out of there.
I’ve enjoyed brunch and a Welly on a Plate (WOAP) dinner at Sterling so far, with all of the quality, freshness and execution we’ve come to expect from these guys. Just in a bigger space, with a wood-fired oven and a’la’carte menu (did you know Sterling is named for the slick Roger Sterling off Mad Men?). And I hear regulars just might be invited to join a mysterious Sterling Club one of these days too. Stay tuned…
Open 7 days, morning, noon and night.
And if you thought that was it for changes, you're in for a surprise! There's plenty happening around the city:
So, there you have it! What do you reckon about the inner city laneway upgrades? Let us know below.
Georgia recommends some favourite Wellington beers to quaff during the colder months.