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ZEALANDIA - not just for the birds

By Heather 24 Feb 2015 • 1 Comments

Rata fresh 2
  1. How many of those pesky 10,000 daily steps is it to walk from Lambton Quay to Zealandia?
    Who cares, there’s food there (but about 40 minutes worth, which you could cut to 30 by using the cable car)
  2. Was sitting on a sunny deck by water and bush at Rata Café an onerous task?
    Luckily I was prepared to take one for the team
  3. Did the excitable children and tourists out-squawk the birds?
    It was a close run thing, but I’m awarding it to the children and tourists.

With fond memories of a rather smart Visa Wellington On a Plate dinner at Rata a couple of years ago, I’ve wondered ever since how the everyday brunch/lunch stacks up.

Quite pleasant as it turns out.

You do have to queue to order, but that gives time to peruse both the cabinet and menu options (including an ever-changing craft beer and burger, or wine and seasonal dish special), plot your seating coup, and practice eavesdropping in other languages.

Given my specially honed talent for choosing the one dish not available, I ordered the chorizo, pine nut and smoked ricotta ravioli in spring vege and lentil ragu, and ended up with the buttermilk oatcakes with rhubarb curd, cinnamon crème anglaise and toasted pistachios.

The cakes were grainy (nice), on a flavourful thick rhubarby base (tasty) and a gentle hand had administered the crème anglaise topping (thank god, there’s nothing worse than chef’s who trained in a road gang). An expedition was mounted to see if a second pistachio could be found, but alas they must have been nearly out of those too.

The Brightside Riesling and smoked kahawai kumara salad special ($21) was also tasty and well balanced (the Kereru Moonless stout and pulled pork burger had just been replaced the previous day – drat!), with crisp salad, smoky fish, salty capers, sweet chili, crunchy seeds and a runny egg to bind it all.

Rata stock carboNZero organic certified Kaimira wine, partner with ‘Kai to Compost’ to manage food waste, and are a member of Conscious Consumers (the first place eligible for all available accreditation tags I’m told). The profits from Rata also support the sanctuary and they focus on fresh, seasonal, local, organic, fair trade and free range. This we like.

So there you have it. Yes it is worth a few of those 10,000 steps to enjoy both pleasant food and nature close to the heart of the city, but do bear in mind the answer to Q3 above.

Rata salad special
Rata oatcakes
Rata view

Rata Cafe

Rata Cafe is located within ZEALANDIA, boasting picturesque views and delicious food.

Add your comment

  • June Hamilton 26/02/2015 2:46pm (3 years ago)

    So glad you enjoyed our Brightside Riesling - the smoked kahawai and kumera is a great food match! We're very proud to supply Zealandia/Rata Café with our fully sustainable wines - another great match!

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