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.
Plum Cafe (103 Cuba Street)
One of the few cafes and restaurants on Cuba Street that doesn’t specialise in a particular cuisine, rather it has a focus on producing classic Western food with a side of class. It has a decadent cabinet, a yummy menu, and a kitchen that rivals the size of your broom closet (but that doesn’t matter, because you don’t go in there!).
There seems to be no shortage of foreign wait-staff, which always makes for a fun time. Our Canadian waitress was super lovely, and fussed over us as a mother duckling would with her chicks. There is something for everyone on the menu – there is a mixture of your stock-standard burgers, salads and typical brunch items as well as some more exciting items if you are feeling adventurous.
Always a safe option, but nothing super exciting about it. A solid 4 stars, I reckon.
The Riddiford Bar & Bistro (16 Riddiford Street, Newtown)
With a prime location of across the road from the hospital, business here should be booming. Unfortunately, I think The Riddiford probably needs a bit of a revamp before this happens. It took me a while to visit here because I’d heard extremely mixed things about it, but when I did I was pleasantly surprised.
We came here for lunch (so I still can’t really review the dinner options I’m afraid) and I was pleased to see that the place was relatively busy. It is essentially two rooms joined together to form the cafe, but with a big wide open door so that it basically feels like one. It’s quite cramped, but that works positively for the vibe.
The coffee beans are those of Mojo, so I was immediately looking forward to my coffee arriving. The menu itself was rather plain; I wasn’t sure whether to keep it simple or to mix it up. I opted nervously for a chicken quasedilla with fries, and I kid you not, it was absolutely delicious. I had such a good meal here that I wouldn’t hesitate in coming back to order the exact same thing again. I also tried the open chicken sandwich, which was also pretty nice, but not as delicious as mine.
Overall this place exceeded my rather low expectations, and while the overall experience was good, The Riddiford probably needs to up its game if it wants to stay in competition with the other fantastic options Newtown has to offer.
F.G. Smith Eatery (9a Ossian Street, Ahuriri)
Wow, talk about being behind the eight ball. It took me SO long to visit F.G. Smith Eatery, that it was no longer the new kid on the block. However, it was satisfying seeing how much this cute little place in the backstreets of Ahuriri has absolutely flourished and certainly become a popular name about town (popular enough that even the prime-minister was eating there at the same time as us – #claimtofame).
It had a cabinet full of relatively inexpensive eats, and then a trendy Asian influenced menu that had breakfast and lunch options ranging between $10 – 25. There were a range of table options; from booths to round tables, to high tables and just your usuals. A massive doorway led into the shop next door,which sold a range of high end fashion items.
For lunch, our group ordered a wide variety of dishes. Everyone spoke really highly of their food, the coffee was delicious and the service great. It’s the sort of place that I would have no hesitation in recommending to others.
Man oh man, I would love to be able to claim this recipe as my own. I have to credit this recipe (and probably more to come) to the Little India cookbook – a recent, and very worthwhile addition, to my bookshelf. All of the Little India recipes involve making the curries from scratch, so although the first time we made a curry it was rather expensive, most of the herbs and spices that now form the base of my pantry will undoubtedly get plenty of use over the coming months. This Rogan Josh recipe has been modified slightly (albeit ever so slightly) and although you can basically use any meat, the lamb was absoutely beautiful.
- 3 T canola oil
- 10 green cardamom pods
- 10 cloves
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 T crushed garlic
- 1 T crushed ginger
- 500 g lamb, cubed (approximately 3 cm x 3cm) – can substitute meat if you prefer
- 2 t ground turmeric
- 2 t garam masala
- 1 t salt
- 1 t paprika
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 c tomato puree
- 1/2 c chopped fresh coriander
- 2 c cold water
- 1/4 c plain unsweetened yoghurt
- rice, to serve
- coriander, to serve
- naan, to serve
- Heat the oil. Add garlic and ginger.
- Add the lamb and cook until browned.
- Add the herbs – namely the turmeric, garam masal, salt and paprika and cook until fragrant.
- Stir through the tomato and keep cooking until the oil starts to separate from the onion and the spice mixture. Be patient – you don’t want it to burn.
- Add the tomato puree, coriander and water and cook until combined.
- Remove from the heat and add the yoghurt. Once mixed put it back on the heat (if you do it too prematurely you run the risk of it curdling).
- Simmer over a low heat until the oil really separates from the mixture and rises to the surface. This can take awhile (ie. a few hours) so just leave it covered and check on it occassionally – you may need to add water if it looks like it might dry out.
It can be so exciting coming up with variations to your traditional soup flavours. Gone are the days where the choices were pumpkin soup, tomato soup and mushroom soup – now there are always countless flavours to choose from. It’s great making soup too – although it seems time-consuming, it’s actually really easy when you can just chuck a bunch of stuff in a pot and leave it to simmer for a few hours! It’s a super cost-efficient meal as well; and I always like to make a big batch and then freeze a few containers worth so that it gives me some meals in the future.
- 1 T oil
- 1 c bacon
- 3 garlic
- 2 leeks
- 1 cauliflower
- 500 g potatoes
- 6 c chicken stock
- 1/4 c cream
- Heat oil and add the bacon. Once cooked, remove and leave to rest on a paper towel.
- Add garlic and leek to the same pan (don’t wash it out, the bacon juices give it flavour) and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add cauliflower, potatoes and stock. Partially cover.
- Increase heat to a boil and then simmer for about 35 minutes. Cool.
- Blend soup until smooth.
- Return to heat and add the bacon and cream.
One of my favourite things to do is to wake up on the weekend and make brunch. Not only does it start my morning off in a productive way, but who doesn’t like starting the weekend off with some delicious food! As a kid, I was pretty excited to make the transition from pancakes to French toast – I suddenly felt a whole lot more grown up. This recipe is actually incredibly easy to execute, and French toast always presents so well – it’s a very easy meal to make look sophisticated! It’s a great way to use up bread that is starting to get old.
- 4 pieces of brioche/sour-dough (any bread will do though, even just stock-standard sandwich bread)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c milk
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 t vanilla essence
- bacon, to serve
- maple syrup, to serve
- banana, to serve
- Mix the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla essence into a shallow bowl.
- Dip and soak each piece of bread into the mixture, flipping it over to make sure that it is well saturated.
- Fry each piece of bread in a medium to hot pan with butter to ensure it doesn’t stick.
- Flip after a few minutes to cook on both sides.
- Garnish with bacon, banana, maple syrup and additional cinnamon.
Okay, so these aren’t the real deal – but they are the next best thing! It took me a while to get this recipe right, as Ferrero Rochers have such a creamy, indulgent texture (and flavour) that it was important to do it justice. I don’t think anyone will be confusing the two anytime soon, but these have the super added bonus of being made from entirely whole food ingredients, therefore they are much better for you!
- 1 & 1/4 c raw hazelnuts (soaked overnight)
- 1 & 1/4 c sesame seeds
- 8 dates
- 4 T cocoa
- 1/2 t vanilla
- 175°C fan-bake.
- Drain nuts and bake for 10 minutes. Stir them.
- Remove from oven – try remove the skins as much as you can – at least 80%. (I found this really painful & time consuming!)
- Blend 1/4 c hazelnuts.
- Add to the bowl with a teaspoon of cocoa.
- Take out 16 whole nuts for the middle of each ball.
- Add the remaining nuts and sesame seeds into blender.
- Add dates one by one – this will take about 8 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and blend. If it is too crumbly add some water/coconut oil and if it is too oily freeze for ten minutes.
- Roll into balls and flatten with a spoon.
- Put the hazelnut in the middle and then roll the ball up around it.
- Roll in chopped hazelnut / cocoa mixture and then freeze.
These delicious little gems are the best ‘cleaneats’ treat I’ve made to date. The lemon cream is just so tangy and refreshing, and the tarts as a whole are surprisingly filling. They are also pretty easy to make, in that there is no oven required – rather they just get frozen. Also, the turmeric gives them a bright yellow colour, which could never be achieved from lemons alone (and it adds extra health benefits!). I like to eat them straight from the freezer, but people I’ve served them to have definitely commented they should thaw for 10 or so minutes before eating.
For the base
- 1 c cashew
- 1 c desiccated coconut
- 10 dates
For the lemon cream
- 1 c cashew (soaked for 30 minutes in water)
- 3 T coconut milk
- 2 T oil
- Juice and zest of 5 lemons
- 1/2 t turmeric
- 3 T maple syrup
- Food process all the ingredients for the base. If it isn’t sticky enough, add an extra date or two.
- Line a muffin tin with baking cups and press the mixture into the moulds.
- Refrigerate while making the lemon cream.
- To make the lemon cream but everything into a food processor and whizz.
- Spoon the mixture into the moulds and freeze.
This dish is certainly one that makes you go nom! A perfect dish to cook up for the family, or a warming dish for a cosy Sunday evening and then leftovers for the days following. There is a bit of an art to making a moussaka; similarly to lasagne, some patience is required when making the meat sauce. It is so well worth it though, it is seriously one of the best things I have made all year.
For the meat sauce
- 750 g lamb mince
- 2 red onions
- 2 garlic
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 T puree
- 1 t sugar
- 1 glass red wine
- salt and pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- cinnamon stick
- 1/4 c olive oil
For the bechamel sauce
- 3 – 5 c milk
- 120 g butter
- 120 g flour
- 2 egg yolks
- 100 g parmesan
- 3 – 4 eggplants
- olive oil
- Begin by slicing the eggplants approximately 1cm thick. It is optional whether you peel the eggplants first; I always would because I find the skin can be quite tough and chewy.
- Season the eggplants with salt and leave to sit for approximately 30 minutes. This serves to dry them out.
- Rinse off the salt and squeeze out any excess water.
- Drizzle with oil to fry/bake.
For the meat sauce
- In a pan, add oil, onion, garlic, tomato puree and mince. Pour in the red wine and wait for it to evaporate. Add the tinned tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon, 1 bay leaf and salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil before reducing, covering and simmering for at least 30 minutes.
For the bechamel sauce
- On a low heat, melt the butter and then add the flour.
- Whisk until it forms a paste.
- Add the milk in a steady stream, continuing to whisk.
- When almost ready, add the egg yolks, salt and pepper, nutmeg and cheese.
- Whisk fast so that it doesn’t form an omelette.
- Grease a baking dish.
- Layer the eggplants across the bottom.
- Pour in meat, and follow with a second layer of eggplants.
- Top with bechamel.
- Sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake for 60 minutes at 180°C.