Finding the sweet spot at Lashings
An ex-London pastry chef creates daringly delightful treats in the heart of Wellington’s food community
If there was such a thing as a choose-your-own-adventure dessert, Lashings is the place to find it. The ‘brownie bar café’ at Lashings HQ serves a range of sweet and savoury treats, but it’s the brownies that really take the cake.
Owner Jackie Lee Morrison once worked as a pastry chef at several prestigious London restaurants before packing up her life (and two cats) and moving to her husband’s home of New Zealand. Her small brownie business quickly developed a loyal following in Wellington’s markets. Some customers became what Morrison calls ‘super fans’, trying rotating the weekend special when they began at the underground market, and continuing to do so now that the sweet treats have a home in Hannahs Laneway café.
The café’s brownie bar features a staggering array of combinations, including a Vegemite brownie, cereal milk ice cream, vanilla custard sauce and a sprinkling of salted toffee popcorn — but fans of a more classic chocolate-and-vanilla paring will also be very satisfied. The menu includes multiple vegan and gluten-free options, so everyone is catered for.
The famous Vegemite brownie was inspired by a Marmite truffle Morrison tried back in the UK. Morrison says she’s constantly trying to push the envelope and find new wakes to evoke a feeling or memory through her baked goods.
“Food is a very emotional thing tied into so many different factors” says Morrison. “When we hear the stories behind why people love us it honestly makes us feel so privileged to do what we do.”
The café is at a central point in the local food scene. Morrison takes advantage of many local products, utilising Fix & Fogg peanut butter, Zany Zeus organic milk and even Six Barrel Soda, who used to call the same premises home.
This sense of community only increased during the COVID-19 lockdown. Lashings banded together with a group of local hospitality businesses to offer a collaborative delivery service, which grew into a cookbook titled The Pandemic Pack.
“Because we were all in the same situation,” says Morrison, “it was a lot easier to reach out to all of the different businesses and say, hey, do you want to get involved in a really crazy idea with me? None of us had anything left to lose… then amazingly the public were really on board with the whole idea, and incredibly supportive.”
“I always say that we're better when we work together than when we work separately, so I hope that the community spirit and local support will stick around.”
The café is open late several nights a week — a perfect spot for a sweet date or a post-theatre indulgence. And the brownie special changes weekly, so you might just find yourself becoming a super fan yourself.
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