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By Heather• 2 Nov 2016 • 3 Comments
Tired of the hundreds of fabulous eateries around the city? Not to worry, there’s a bunch of new ones ready and waiting.
Dillinger was an infamous gangster in 1930’s America during the prohibition era, and Dillinger’s at Midland Park is a nod to those times – a little American glam (I take no responsibility for the photo booth pics below!), buffalo and Indians on the screens, southern fried chicken on the menu, and San Francisco beer among the myriad taps and bottles.
As a new venture for the Green Man group, and Kristian Mulcahy from Grill Meats Beer at the helm, the food definitely stands up to the website claim:
“classic throwback comfort food you can enjoy in style”
The food partnered nicely with a couple of interesting beers - a Choice Bros (yep the lads of last year’s bull semen stout) ‘On the Brain PBRA’ peanut butter and raspberry, followed by a Yeastie Boys Divine Hammer rye amber ale. There’s a bunch of cocktails, wines and non-alcs that’ll happily slake your thirst too.
I’m heading back soon for the beetroot cured salmon, smokey beef bavette, and key lime pie. I might even share.
7 days, morning, noon and night.
EXTRA WORD: The Green Man folks have also taken on the former Hideaway premises in Plimmer Steps, with a Portland Oregan-style dive bar on the way. And the Choice Bros are edging closer to opening their Husk micro-brewery and coffee roastery in Ghuznee Street (connections with Karamu Coffee).
If you enjoy good quality Japanese tapas, then head to the new Tokeyo Izakaya Den in Edward Street where Vivo used to be. Developed for the Wellington Hospitality Group (WHG) by bar whisperer Vincent Lombino of Hideaway fame (do we even reach 2 degrees of separation these days?), Tokeyo hits all the right notes.
The décor is fantastic, and all the dishes sampled were light, fresh and well presented, with the rainbow rolls some of the tenderest I’ve ever had. The pork goyza was a very satisfying mix of al dente and porky softness, and the Osaka-style okonomiyaki was moist and more-ish with no skimping on the layers.
Desserts are sake, whisky or Japanese-inspired cocktails, so we finished with a lightly warming pear-flavoured Gekkeikan sake while contemplating what to have next time. Check out the sushi master’s knife and blowtorch skills at the bar while you're there too, pretty impressive.
Tuesday to Saturday 4pm til late (noon Fridays). Bookings available.
EXTRA WORD TWO: If you’re out the Petone way, check out the bunch of new bars and restaurants the WHG are developing in the old Station Village on Hutt Road – Ciao Bella (an Italian café/restaurant), Hopscotch (craft beer and whiskey), Gaucho’s (a churrasco-style South American steakhouse), and Sin Bin, a big classic sports and garden bar to round it all off.
This is another venue doing light, fresh and well presented Asian food, in the old Pizza King premises on Taranaki this time - hawker street-style.
Don’t be fooled by the simple décor and cheap prices (nothing over $15); these guys have kept their setup costs and overheads down, but still deliver good quality food and generous portions, while including local artisan products like Fix and Fogg peanut butter.
We gluttoned ourselves so much on the first round that we didn’t make it to dessert (and the chip fiend ordered cauliflower, whaaat?? - I’m watching closely for any other signs of illness) but luckily it's an easy place to zip in and out of, and they do takeaways and out-catering.
My favourite was the pulled pork bao bun, the lightly coated popcorn chicken with Thai basil mayo, and the housemade pineapple mint sparkling water.
I’m going to start at dessert next time with the burnt pineapple and ginger salted caramel shortcake, and I’m pretty sure the chip fiend was eyeing up the doughnut balls with lemongrass sugar and Yuzu curd.
Monday to Saturday from 11am. Bookings available for groups of 6pax+.
EXTRA WORD THREE: Not far away in Cuba Street a new rooftop bar called Ascot is under construction above Hunters and Collectors. Hopefully an omen for a good summer!
Paul and Cesar lived in New York for a long time, then 18 months in Guatemala (Cesar’s home), before coming back to Wellington. There was a coin toss between wine and coffee, and voila!, Machete coffee and tacos was born.
Both Paul and Cesar are passionate about showcasing the fresh earthiness of Guatemala, and this shows throughout the cafe. Everything on the food front is made in-house, other than the taco shells, and I found the fillings to be light and flavourful with a tangy (chilli) earthiness. The speciality Supreme coffee was very well made and matched those notes perfectly – I would never have paired tacos and coffee before this.
The décor is modern and light, with a mix of New York loft, a little Spanish, and a dab of Kiwi (I can totally recommend the hokey pokey cookies!). You can chat to Paul about coffee as long and hard as you fancy, and buy beautiful teas and accessories to take home.
Monday to Saturday breakfast through to mid-afternoon, on lower Boulcott opposite the GP.
EXTRA WORD FOUR: Curry Heaven from Newtown has gone in just around the corner in Bond Street where Canteen used to be - lunch and dinner. With a few interesting dishes like goat dhaka, king prawn saag, malabari (unique to Curry Heaven), and seven vegan mains.
While not strictly new, Giddy-Up on Manners have gone through a remodelling and expansion.
Originally a mussel bar where you galloped in, parked yourself on a bicycle seat ‘stool’ at the bar (you can imagine what the chip fiend had to say about getting one's seat the right way up!), and inhaled NZ green-lipped mussels, there is now a bigger menu, and a back room jam-packed full of Kiwiana ‘movement’ memorabilia.
Not being a mussel fan I decided to woman up and give them another go, and while I still don’t particularly enjoy the chewy little buggers, they certainly seemed fresh, and the coriander sauce gave me much happy mopping.
I also enjoyed the smoked eel pate, and although I didn’t get to the mussel fritters, believe they’re good too. Giddy-Up smoke their own mussels, make their own sauces, and are totally gluten-free other than the bread on the side.
The mussels are available all hours that Giddy-Up opens (to the wee smalls), and the kitchen until 10pm for other menu items. Tuesday to Sunday.
EXTRA WORD FIVE (I'm just full of them today aren't I!): I recently heard a whisper about yet another micro-brewery planned for Ghuznee Street, which might or might not be called White Dove. Stay tuned.....
Now tell me you're stuck for somewhere to go....