Pad Thai (Chicken)

Pad Thai (Chicken)

When I went to South East Asia I think Pad Thai was probably the food I ate most often. It’s so incredibly delicious, and so conceptually simple – just noodles with a few delicious flavours. The Thai people have a way of cooking this noodle dish that is fresh, light and super tasty – something that can be harder to come by in New Zealand. However, over time I have managed to pinpoint some of the better places around Wellington that do serve up a tasty Pad Thai. I have also found a recipe that I love, and have made it often enough that in my eyes it is now my ideal Pad Thai – hopefully when I go back to Asia their Pad Thai lives up to mine!

Collect

  • Pad Thai noodles
  • 1 large chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • Spring onion, chopped finely
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • Coriander, fresh
  • 1 chilli
  • 2 t lemon juice
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 3 garlic, crushed
  • 3 T fish sauce
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 6 T peanuts
  • mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 c peanut butter

Create

  1. Cook the noodles.
  2. Cook the beaten eggs 75% of the way through, chop and set aside.
  3. Cook the chicken, garlic, spring onion.
  4. Add the noodles, fish sauce, soy sauce, peanut butter, lemon juice, sugar, chilli.
  5. Lastly add the sprouts, peanuts, omelette and coriander.

Pork Chops with Roasted Apples and Brussel Sprouts

Pork Chops with Roasted Apples and Brussel Sprouts

Come Sunday evening, and I usually feel like is some delicious home-cooked food and a movie. Pork chops is something that I remember not favouring during my childhood, but after being gifted a bunch of free meat, I felt this was a perfect opportunity to actually experiment with pork chops. The recipe is extremely easy, and one that could be easily prepared on a week night as it doesn’t take long at all.

Collect

  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t garlic salt
  • 1 t chilli
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 3 T brown/muscovado sugar
  • 2 t freshly chopped rosemary
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 4 pork chops
  • olive oil
  • 3 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 apples (Gala works well)
  • 400 g brussel sprouts

Create

  1. In a bowl, mix the paprika, garlic salt, chilli, cinnamon, 1 T brown sugar, 1 t rosemary, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Massage mixture onto each pork chop, both sides.
  3. Whisk together apple cider vinegar, remaining brown sugar, rosemary, salt and pepper and 3 T olive oil.
  4. Add the apples and the brussel sprouts to the whisked mixture and leave it to sit.
  5. Lie the pork chops on a greased oven tray, and spread the apples and brussel sprout mixture around the pork. Try to minimise the amount of liquid brought over as it means the pork will be crispier.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes on each side at 250°C.

Beach House and Kiosk

Beach House and Kiosk

The Beach House and Kiosk (410 The Esplanade, Island Bay)

Formerly known as The Bach, this sea-side spot has beautiful views of the South Coast, which even stretch as far as the South Island on a good day. A great stop off before or after visiting the Red Rocks, The Beach House and Kiosk has a very reasonably priced menu and a range of seating both indoors and out. Don’t fear the cold if you sit outside; there’s a cute little basket full of colourful picnic blankets that make the chill even more cozy. There is a delicious array of baked goods on the counter-top, which is easy to miss until you are paying. The service was pretty good, even though it was really busy they accommodated our time constraints and never let us feel as though we had been forgotten about, despite there being a bunch of other tables to be looked after also. Although it’s not one of the South Coast stops I would detour specifically for (being the massive fan of The Botanist and Maranui that I am), I wouldn’t hesitate to go here either side of Red Rocks.

Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan

One of my favourite things about going to a new place is trying the new food. Nusa Lembongan was no exception; and I had gone prepared with a list of must visits.

On arrival we hired scooters and headed straight from our hostel to Sunset Point. We hadn’t intended on staying for dinner but the view of the sunset was just so jaw-droppingly beautiful that we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave. The waiter was incredibly friendly (he was very keen to chat with us about our adventures so far) and his service was great. There was a range of Western and Indonesian dishes available, but our main qualm (mainly from the boys) was that the portion sizes were so small – Andy had to order another whole meal. In saying that the pizza was pretty tasty, and the scenery alone makes this place worth the trip.

Another spot that serves up pretty decent pizza is The Deck, and it doesn’t do half bad on the views either. At the far end of the village beach lies The Deck, and it is perched up halfway up the hill. It has a really classy, intimate feel about it. Despite being incredibly busy, a bit of reshuffling saw us comfortable seated outdoors. We’d been told to go for the pizza, and we were happy with that recommendation – especially once we’d seen the prices for the rest of the menu. We made our order and waited… and waited… and waited… and waited. Eventually our meals came, but all at different times and not in a way that made us feel better about the excessive amount of money we then had to hand over. The staff were super apologetic, but I just wasn’t that impressed. On the plus side, our overly expensive coconuts were the brown eating ones and when we were done with drinking them the staff cut them up so we could eat our fresh coconut for pudding.

As per usual the healthy fresh places caught my attention and that is why we found ourselves heading down to the village to eat at Eco Deli. After parking outside we headed in through the lush, pebble garden (very zen feeling) to the cafe, where we joined a table that was already occupied by a few other people. We took a look through the menu and ended up making the decision to just share a bunch of stuff because it all sounded so equally good. A few smoothies (mine was a little heavy on the mint but still tasted fresh and healthy), some decadently rich chocolate fudge brownie, some moist and nutty banana bread and a scrumptious fruit salad and granola bowl. It all tasted heavenly. They had lots of healthy products on offer in addition to several flavours of healthy nice-cream. This spot was a personal favourite of mine – made even more funky by the big open kitchen behind the counter where you could see all the staff hard at work.

Last but not least comes Blue Corner, located at the other end of the beach of the village to The Deck. Mexican themed, Blue Corner makes for an awesome beachfront bar with beanbags and cocktails and a number of friendly dogs all begging to be your friend. We went early to catch the sun go down and over some tapas and cocktails we enjoyed the glorious views of the ocean. Once the sun had disappeared beyond the horizon we picked ourselves up and headed over to the rooted section to place our orders for our mains. Once we had done so we cracked into a game or ten of cards and waited… and waited… and waited… and waited. I’m not sure why we had such a run of bad luck but we had yet another meal forgotten. We were so busy thinking ‘surely not’ that it didn’t occur to us we should say something until about 45 minutes later. To our disbelief, they had entirely lost our order (and must have been thinking we were the worst customers ever!). Finally we got our food and it was a 7/10 – similarly to The Deck and Sunset Point. I would highly recommend this place as a place to watch the sun go down (and an okay option for food).

If you’re staying at Nusa Lembongan, chances are you will make your way across to Nusa Penida at some point. If you do, The Gallery is a fantastic stop; a gift shop run by a lovely British man with a yummy, reasonably priced menu to go with it. The vegan coconut curry was superb, and the fish and chips were interesting (a small fish deep-fried whole – bones and all!) but tasty.

  

Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan

A tourist destination as popular as Gili Trawangan usually means one of two things: lots of incredible food (survival of the fittest and all that) and lots of tourist scams. Unsurprisingly we got both, despite our best efforts to avoid the latter. Fortunately, we stumbled onto some real crackers very early on, so we always had some great go-tos during our stay there. Of anywhere we went in Bali, Gili T was the most hit and miss. It’s absolutely worth loading up Trip Adviser if you are going somewhere new – because no-one really wants to endure a tourist scam if possible. If you have got the time, check out the following:

 The Banyan Tree. An early discovery, and located so close to our accommodation we sure made ourselves at home at The Banyan Tree. Serving a wide range of extremely healthy food, this place sure knew how to do some killer #cleaneats. Both vegetarian and vegan options were in absolute abundance, and even the most healthy unusual dishes sounded delicious. All of the seating is upstairs and you can sit inside or out. Takeaway options are available, and the staff were absolutely fantastic; extremely attentive and accommodating. I would highly recommend a stop here, and don’t forget to take your shoes off before you go inside.

 

‘Same same but different’ is how some would describe the Kayu Cafe compared to the Banyan Tree. Serving up healthy numbers from sunrise until mid-afternoon, the Kayu Cafe has a huge selection of smoothie bowls, raw treats, pastries and brunch items available and a super relaxing vibe to enjoy them in. The food is moderately priced – perhaps before expensive that what you’d find elsewhere in Bali, but still cheaper than anything you’d find at home – and definitely one of those places where you can take confidence that whatever you order will be tasty.

While on holiday there is only so much healthy food that one wants to eat, and as soon as you’re feeling like a more indulgent meal, head right over to Regina’s. One street back from the main drag lies one of the best pizzerias you may ever visit. The prices are cheap (I’d almost go as far to say half the price of a few of the places we ate at), the pizzas were massive (the four of us ordered four pizzas and ended up taking the equivalent of a whole pizza home) and the food was as authentic as what you could find in Italy. As always, full marks for great service – the Balinese way it would seem, and we left as very content customers.

Last but not least The Roast House. Sooner or later you’ll probably crave a taste of home, and when you do, head along to The Roast House for some pub-style grub. Admittedly the decor is slightly odd (kind of dark and vintage feeling) and the kitchen is across the road from the restaurant. However, the food is really tasty. Ironically, I went for the mi goreng (when in Indonesia right?) but everyone else ordered meals like sausages and mash, chicken parmigiana and fish & chips. Although the food was pretty tasty, I thought on the whole it was relatively overpriced for a sub-par meal that we’d get at home.

 

Canggu

Canggu

Canggu was our destination number one in Bali. An up and coming hipster’s paradise it was only appropriate that there were foodie spots to follow suit. We didn’t have long in Canggu, but being our first stop, we were more than ready to fill our bellies.

First up was Canteen. We arrived on scooters and based on the number of scooters already in the car park we predicted a wait for a table. We weren’t wrong, the place was absolutely packed and we were warned there would be a 20 minute wait. We agreed to this; we had heard so much about the place we were hardly about to leave. Fortunately for us, the turnover was incredibly quick (we shouldn’t have expected any different with the incredible service that seems to be the norm) and we were seated in no time. My first morning on a tropical island meant there was no way I could look past the chia fruit bowl. I love the exciting fruit that comes with being in warmer climates – think pineapple, mango, dragonfruit and coconut to name a few. All of the breakfasts that were served to us were extremely tasty, and sadly we were out of there in no time.

They say you can’t visit Canggu without a visit to Old Man’s, and I have to admit, I think whoever ‘they’ are, they know exactly what they are talking about. This iconic beach bar is perched so close to the ocean, separated only by the car-park that it overlooks. It seems to be open (almost) round the clock, it is extremely spacious and it has a very extensive menu offering both Western and local options. It isn’t cheap, but it’s certainly fun. There is a stack of seating options both indoors and out, including picnic tables, cushy seats and bar stools. With live music and other various events throughout the week Old Man’s has something for everyone. While you may pay a dollar or two more than what you would elsewhere, at least you know it’s going to be good.

The third and final gemstone we discovered in Canggu was Crate. Located on the main road (as is Old Man’s), Crate exists as a rather inconspicuous little institution which serves up absolutely fantastic food to visitors who come far and wide to eat here (I know this is true because we counted six different countries on the business cards people had scattered underneath our glass table alone).

After making your order downstairs (allow yourself time to appreciate the quirky and clever names of some of the dishes) either take a seat or climb the steep staircase past the rack of merchandise to the second storey. With outstanding views of the street below and the nearby surrounds, this is my pick of seating. The meals were absolutely outstanding – fresh, healthy and decent sized portions (something we were yet to discover as a rare occurrence in Bali). There were a huge number of vegan and vegetarian options available also. Crate would easily have been one of my top 5 eateries while I was in Bali.

 

 

Ubud

Ubud

Ubud had been described to me as Bali’s food capital, so I was pretty enthused to be going there. We were staying in an Air BnB about a 20 minute walk from town, and without scooters it made getting around sometimes inconvenient. We did our best though; and I managed to eat at some pretty awesome places.

The best of the bunch was an incredible spot known as The Clear Cafe. We were the first customers of the day (we were on our way to The Yoga Barn) and I can only imagine how amazing the vibe would be when the place is full. You enter through a massive circular door (think ‘Open Sesame’), which straightaway makes you feel as though you have entered somewhere magical. It has an open air feel, close to nature and big comfy couch seats that make you never want to leave. The cafe sprawls for what literally feels like miles, and there are so many nooks and crannies to explore.

The menu was somewhat intimidating because it was so large, but thankfully at 7am the menu was essentially cut in half. It still took us a while to decide though – when you know a place is good you can afford to take a risk with some of the more adventurous options. The food was delicious, the prices reasonable, and the staff lovely. I could not recommend it more – and I highly suggest you take a visit to the bathroom!

 

Completely in contrast to the spaciousness of The Clear Cafe is GrandPa’s Cafe. This place is teeny tiny, but gives rise to an atmosphere of hustle and bustle. An ideal place to go with just one or two people, but with the group of four we had, it was a bit of a squeeze. Goodness knows how they even cook in the small space they call a kitchen! Another tasty menu; the coffee was cheap and delicious, and my brother claimed that his pulled pork was his favourite dish in Bali. The portions were massive – which sure makes a change. Right near the markets, GrandPa’s was the perfect spot for some people watching, so long as you didn’t feel pressured to move on for lack of table space.

  

We were lucky to be staying right next door to Juno’s. Having only opened in the last year or so it radiated tranquility – we felt like we were in the waiting room before a spa treatment. Designed by someone with serious taste, it was a beautiful area to spend some time in. The bathroom was absolutely unreal; I had never seen anything like it – I won’t reveal any spoilers, but again I suggest it as a must-visit! Oh yeah, and the food was pretty good too!

  

  

 

We had been recommended a number of places that we unfortunately didn’t make it to, including Kafe Ubud (vegetarian, burgers), Seeds of Life (raw food), AA Juicery & Cafe (breakfast bowls) and for a good ol’ cup of Luwak coffee, Seniman. Another must visit is Ibu Oka, where you can order the local specialty pork suckling. The meat is delicious, the crackling even more so – and while you wait (which won’t be long) you can check out the squirrels and cockatoos outside.

Comes and Goes

Comes and Goes

Comes and Goes (259 Jackson Street, Petone)

This place is an absolute must-visit for anyone that visits Wellington. It is in Petone, so having a car is ideal, but you could definitely tie it into other reasons for visiting Petone (taking a walk to Butterfly Creek afterwards for example, which is exactly what we did!).

I had been seeing photos of the food on my Instagram for months now, and still hadn’t made it out there to eat. When my mum and aunty came down, we decided it was the perfect excuse. The weather could have been better, and it meant that Comes and Goes itself was pretty busy as everyone was opting to be inside. It was okay though, we put our names on the wait list (approx 30 min – annoying, but a good sign of what was to come) and had a meander down Jackson Street.

We were seated at a big round table by the window and were presented with menus. Instantly we were in awe. We could see plates of food being carried to tables around us, and spend probably the first ten minutes trying to identify what they were all were. We wanted to order a range of meals, so it took a bit of deliberation before we finally decided.

Not a single person was disappointed with their decision. “The Nest” is probably their most photographed dish, for the reason that it is so incredibly unique (and quaint), and we just had to order two of those for trying. I ordered the Pork Belly Benedict, and the waffles and chia seed pudding were also ordered; everything was so beautifully presented, and then tasted almost as good. Portion sizes were generous, and there were so many vegan and vegetarian options. The best new place I’ve eaten at in a while! Overall: Presentation = 10/10, Taste = 8/10, Service = 9/10 and Prices = 9/10. Nailed it.

Ekor Bookshop & Cafe

Ekor Bookshop & Cafe

Ekor Bookshop & Cafe (17b College Street)

What a discovery. Tucked away a few metres along from Cafe L’affare (on the same street as Moore Wilsons) the Ekor Bookshop & Cafe is an absolute gem, just waiting to be found. It caught our eye as we were walking out to Newtown recently, and at our first opportunity we found ourselves on its doorstep, keen for coffee and an explore.

The place is so cute. The menu is incredibly simple (bagels, scones and cakes essentially) but nothing is overpriced and everything is done perfectly. They don’t make their own food there, rather it is all supplied by local cafes and caterers (for example Leeds Street Bakery, French Cancan and of course, People’s Coffee). We sampled the French Cancan gluten-free chocolate cake, and it just set out day alight from 8am. The staff are super friendly and helpful, and I haven’t even started on the bookshop.

It is absolutely a bookshop where you could just browse the afternoon away; there are so many gifts and quirky books that there is certainly something for everyone. It’s a new found delight, and I can’t wait to go back!

Tripoli Bistro

Tripoli Bistro

Tripoli Bistro (452 Queen Street, Masterton)

Masterton has always been a town that we pass through on the way to or from HB and Wellington, but one that I have never really paid much attention to in terms of food. Over the years our stop-offs for food have evolved from McDonalds to Turkish to Pizza… but on my recent passing through we decided to stop at Tripoli Bistro.

It was small, cute, and pretty busy for a Friday night. Our waitress was attentive, and took our orders very quickly. There was a good selection of fine dining options (pork belly, lamb shank, chicken and the like) as well as a huge pizza menu with loads of interesting flavours. We were in a pizza and chips kind of mood so we gave two of the pizzas a go; both were very tasty. Our soft drinks were a little disappointing, I think they had been watered down a tad too much.

Definitely somewhere I would come back to on my next journey through Masterton.