Eat around the world on Jackson Street
Petone’s culinary hub offers an international smorgasboard of taste experiences and is a must-visit for all food lovers
Wandering along the 800-metre street gets the taste buds salivating, as delicious smells waft out of the 60-odd eateries serving up food from Korea, Italy, Vietnam, France, Thailand, America, Mexico, China, India, Malaysia and Cambodia.
Second only to Auckland’s Ponsonby Road for serving up the most eateries in just one street, Jackson Street is jammed with a range of culinary experiences, everything from delicatessens and cafes to speciality food shops and ethnic eateries.
The Dutch Shop sells Dutch cheeses and other foods from The Netherlands, while at Comes and Goes, chef Sean Lim whips up Korean-inspired dishes scattered with herbs and flowers, giving you plenty of Insta-worthy fodder. You can treat yourself to a modern fusion meal at Oli and Mi Kitchen and Bar, or spend less than $20 on a macaroni at Wholly Mac or a tasty burger and sides at Dirty Burger.
It wasn’t always this way, though. When Cengiz Altinkaya opened Kilim Cafe in 2005, Jackson Street was known for its secondhand clothing shops and old school pubs. Today, his Turkish restaurant with red kilim rugs on the walls lures diners who want authentic Turkish food: a taste of Istanbul when they can’t currently travel there.
“We are more upmarket than a kebab shop, and we do have regulars who come all the way from Wellington who want authentic Turkish food,’’ he says.
For those old enough to remember, Cengiz set up and ran Cafe Istanbul on Wellington’s Cuba Street with his brother from the 1990s until they sold it in 2005. At Petone’s Kilim Turkish Cafe, dishes like lamb guvec (spiced lamb) and traditional hummus and mezze plates are based on those which Cengiz’ mother, Emel, used to cook for her family in Istanbul. The restaurant’s motto is: “Turkish food like my mother used to make… with love.’’
Steven and Valda Scheckter opened Scheckter’s Deli (formerly Ontrays) in Petone in 1999, after arriving from South Africa two years before. With thousands of products on the shelves, the Scheckters specialise in food and beverages from South Africa, Brazil, Israel, Argentina, and Russia. Cheese and olive lovers come from afar for what is believed to be one of the widest ranges of cheese - local and imported - and olives in New Zealand. The shelves glint with wine bottles from the humble to some of the finest sourced from New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Australia and Israel. “We try to carry products that aren’t readily available in supermarkets. We love it here in Petone because we have so many regulars,’’ says Steven.
The Scheckters started serving Reuben sandwiches five years ago, based on the ones Steven devoured from Jewish delis near his Johannesburg home: two slices of rye bread jammed with Anglo-Indian piccalilli, traditional pastrami, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. They make up to 100 Reuben sandwiches every Saturday - their most popular day of the week. The extra-large Reuben sandwich is not for the faint-hearted as it contains half a kilogram of pastrami. “It should keep you going all day,’’ Steven laughs.
Down the road and around a corner, Revive has been roasting coffee in Petone for 21 years, and supplies coffee to 100 cafes and restaurants around New Zealand. Owner Guy Littlejohn opened Revive Cafe on Lochy Street in 2012. “The cafe’s formula is one of good food done well,’’ he says. Open seven days a week, the cafe menu showcases local ingredients and produce, from suppliers in Petone and the Hutt Valley including Scheckter’s Deli, as well as Zany Zeus, Randwick Butchers, and Gilmours.
Before you leave Petone’s culinary hub, you can wash your food down with natural spring water from Te Puna Wai Ora, an iconic fountain on the corner of Jackson and Buick Streets.
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