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Slicing and dicing Visa Welly On a Plate

By Heather 28 Jul 2016 • 4 Comments

The annual food festival, Visa Wellington On a Plate (WOAP) is steaming towards us, with the kick-off on 12 August. 

There are many flavours to this culinary beast, so Chris Tse, the official WOAP blogger and I sat down to chew the fat over a Dine Wellington menu (figuratively of course, 'cause there's no fat in special menus right?), to compare what’s caught our eye and combine tips.

WOAP Hero 890 x 332px Photo credit: Wellington On a Plate

We firstly chatted about what WOAP means to us, and it boiled down to this - the opportunity to be adventurous and try something new, while breaking bread with colleagues, family and friends. A good mission (excuse?) we thought.

The next mission was to carve the beast into manageable bites, so here we go:

Dine Wellington

  • Eateries across the region create set menus with a matching beverage, to showcase the capital’s culinary flavours and creativity. This year they are inspired by the theme ‘an element of surprise’, on which they will be judged for the coveted Festival Dish Award (previous winners include Muse Eatery & Bar and Logan Brown). 
  • The Festival Dishes (mains) are available on their own during lunch (yay, no more scarfing two or three courses in an hour!) or with a multi-course dinner. If you’re lucky enough to have a long lunch, you can add dessert for $10 and go the whole hog (er, churro?).
  • Make bookings to get the dates/times you desire and don’t forget to share your images using #WellyOnaPlate.

And here's what the Trade Kitchen Dine menu looked like in the flesh:

Festival events

These are one-off or limited-time events to showcase our culinary cleverness, or provoke thought. Most are ticketed, although there are a handful with free entry, like the Argentine Street Food Fiesta and the Salt Bar. There's two biggies on the first weekend to get us in the groove - Beervana and the New Zealand Chocolate Festival, and still plenty of others with tickets left. Here's a wee sample (talk about spoilt for choice!):

    • Hops and Chops – one for the petrol heads with craft beer, fast machines, and food by luxury lodge Boomrock.
    • The Creative Table – a hands-on day of styling and eating on the Kapiti Coast (transport to and from the CBD included).
    • Ant North Beats the Blues – don your gladrags for this feast with a toe-tapping beat – it’s one for the over-the-hill folks (I mean that in the nicest possible way!), in Featherston.
    • Thunderbirds are Hungry – brought to you by Weta, this is one for the Tbirds fans and the whole family to enjoy together.
    • A Taste of Old – educate the kids on pioneer cooking.
    • Peoples Palace – an old school four-course silver service lunch with music (damn good value at $65 or $30 for kids, I reckon).
    • Offally Good at WBC – for the adventurous among you. They promise your mind will be totally changed by the end.
    • Let Food be thy Medicine – a blend of nutrition and food from the Salute owner/chef, with therapeutic tonics to leave you feeling divine.

Cocktail Wellington

  • This is year two of Wellington’s mixologists ‘mesmerising us with creative cocktails and matching tapas’ - also with an 'element of surprise'. They must provide a cocktail too, which could be the same flavours or something a little different.
  • There will be signs around the venues telling you how many standard drinks are in their creations so you can make good choices.
  • For each drink you consume, zap over to and score the creation out of 10 to help choose the winner. By scoring, you also go into a draw to win a Cocktail Wellington night out for you and five friends (need my number?).
  • Don’t forget to share your images using #CocktailWelly and drink safely.

Here's a wee reminder from last year to whet your whistle:

Burger Wellington

  • Eateries can also create a burger to ‘challenge our perception of what’s best between two buns’. Most also choose to match their burger to a Garage Project specialty beer. The new festival beers this year are an organic Kiwi pilsner (Hakituri), a balsamic and pomegranate saison (Persephone) and a sour cherry and cola nut dunkel (Lola).
  • For each burger or burger/beer match you enjoy, skip over to and score it out of 10 to help pick the finalists. By scoring, you could also become a guest judge at the final cook-off (how cool is that?), and enjoy a burger experience courtesy of WOAP.
  • Food trucks are also entered in BurgerWelly this year and will move around the region so we all get to try them out (fun!). 
  • And don’t forget to share your images using #BurgerWelly, and again, try to make bookings where possible.

A recap of the 2015 finalists to prime the palate:

Still with us? Good work.

Here's what we thought was new and interesting:

A few more pics from last year to get you in the groove:

And finally, our insider tips for getting the best out of the festival:

  • Pick your own ‘theme’ for the year to help whittle down the options – Suburban? Most outrageous? Classic? Favourite eateries? New ones? 
  • Spread your eats and drinks across the whole 12-28 August period to avoid WOAP fatigue (or just take leave for two weeks and have at it).
  • Decide the events first as they have specific dates, and build your schedule around them (there's no shame in being a spreadsheet nerd).
  • If you’re organising tickets for a group, nominate one person to book and pay so you’re automatically seated together, and reimburse among yourselves (max 10 tickets per booking).
  • If your fave has sold out, extra event dates are sometimes added. Email to go on a wait-list.
  • Check whether the burgers are available at both lunch and dinner – some are not.
  • Look out for burgers matched with the special festival beers to experience the latest Garage Project creativity.
  • And be brave - try at least one new thing. 

See for more information, and keep an eye out for a cocktail post soon previewing some of this year’s Cocktail Wellington offers.

That's it - you're ready to feast!

What are you most excited to try at this year's Welly On a Plate? Let us know on Facebook and you could win one of two $100 Dine vouchers!

Add your comment

  • HeatherC 03/08/2016 7:11am (15 months ago)

    It sounds pretty good - PrimeStar™® mutton blended patty with Sichuan sauce and pickled celery in a bao bun, with crispy fried tentacles. Matched with Garage Project's new Persephone beer...

  • PlatinumPixie 02/08/2016 12:29pm (15 months ago)

    I am still dreaming about Egmont Street's burger last year. Will have to try this year's to compare.

  • HeatherC 01/08/2016 8:15pm (15 months ago)

    Have a look at the Southern Cross, Bin 44, Apache, Seize, Avida, Basque, Chow, Foxglove, Jano, Charley Noble, Ministry of Food, Monsoon Poon, Restaurant 88, WBC and Egmont Street Eatery Dine menus as a starter Susanne, they all have different and interesting GF/DF dishes...

  • Susanne 31/07/2016 6:04pm (15 months ago)

    Would be nice to see a focus on healthy eating, ie no/less sugar, more examples of creative delicious GF/DF dishes that *don't* involve haloumi, etc. Why can't eating out be a delight for the taste buds and not a wallop for the body?

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