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Pickle and Pie

Pickle and Pie

Pickle and Pie (2 Lombard Street)

Described by the place itself as a ‘take on a NYC delicatessen’, Pickle and Pie admittedly doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Located on Lombard Lane (oppose La Maison coffee), a small alley way whose development has been severely hindered by the continual scaffolding that seems to surround the street (but which has now finally gone), its interior is light, spacious and breezy.

It is open from 7am – 7pm, enabling itself to be an option for both breakfast and early dinner, as well as coffee, lunch and snacks throughout the day. The menu is small, but still rather accommodating, with a range of pies, salads, cakes and tarts, and sides such as pastrami fries. There is also a ‘dinner of the day’ which gets annoucned via Facebook each day at 3pm. If you really like the food, there is a shelving unit encasing a wide range of pickles, chutneys and condiments available for purchase; all of which sound equally as delicious as the last.

It was more expensive than I would have liked, for example a pie was $10, and to add mash it was a further $10. However, when my partner and I visited, we shared a pie (without mash, duh), the halloumi salad, the pastrami fries and a pecan pie for dessert and overall it came to under $20 each. All in all, a good spot, great for catching up with people and a welcome addition to the area.

Genghis Khan Mongolian BBQ

Genghis Khan Mongolian BBQ

Genghis Khan (25 Majoribanks St)

Genghis Khan is one of those places that I had always wondered about, as I’d walk past it frequently on my way up Mount Victoria. It was seemingly mysterious, tucked halfway up the hill and having never really had Mongolian BBQ before I wasn’t sure what to expect. Upon entering, I was taken aback by just how massive it was. It is exactly like one of those Chinese restuarants around Courtenay Place which seem so ridiuclously huge, with nobody in them. This was much the same, although as the night went on the place certainly filled up – and people seemed to stay for ages.

The menu had a range of drinks (all super cheap – house wine was only $4) and a bunch of starters to choose from. I would recommend skipping the starters and going straight to the all-you-can eat BBQ. For only $21.50, it is such a great deal. It works like this: from your table, head over to the buffet area. Pick up a bowl and fill it with your choice of noodles, vegetables, meats and sauces. There are a bunch of pre-determined recipes written on blackboards if you are struggling with the choice. You then pass your bowl to the chef, who will flash fry your meal in front of you in about 30 seconds. It’s fascinating to watch, the BBQ must be SO incredibly hot. After that you grab your bowl from the chef and take it back to your table. Make sure you bypass the condiment table, where there is a further array of sauces to choose from. Back at your table the waitress will have delivered you some fresh Shao Ping, which is a homemade bread that is kind of a cross between roti and a steamed bun (it goes really well with a bowl of peanut sauce from the condiment table). Once you’ve finished your bowl, you can go back to the buffet, grab another bowl and start the whole process again. As many times as you like!

The space is really big; it can accommodate some seriously large groups. The staff were also very lovely – very friendly and helpful when explaining what to do. I think Genghis Khan is certainly one of those hidden Wellington wonders – but people that do make the visit, would almost certainly bookmark it as somewhere to return to.

Bethel Woods

Bethel Woods

Bethel Woods (73 The Terrace)

Not a bad spot for a catch up with friends. Or a post-work drink. Or a quiz night. Actually, Bethel Woods has a fair bit going for it! It has a super cool buzz, with its southern American decor down pat, a cute rooftop bar upstairs, and plenty going on in the restaurant itself. The soundtrack is always full of bangers, and the menu is reasonably priced with decent food (the quality is not the best, but it is better than average) and okay portions. It’s at the opposite end of town to basically everything else, which makes for a nice change, and it’s know to do host decent functions too. Not somewhere I would go out of my way (personally) to visit, but would never resist the suggestion of going there.

The Old Quarter

The Old Quarter

The Old Quarter (39 Dixon Street)

As a massive lover of Mr Go’s and Chow, I was always destined to be a fan of The Old Quarter. Named after the Old Quarter in Hanoi, the menu is exciting, innovative and certainly ‘modern’ Vietnamese. The chef has come from 16 years at Chow, so you can expect food of a similar nature; fresh, funky and delicious.

The Old Quarter is nestled amongst a shoe shop and a Mexican restaurant. It used to be Satay Kajang, a Malaysian BYO restaurant that had certainly seen better days. The Older Quarter is a drastic improvement; it is no longer dark and dingy, rather there are modern comfortable booths, bold wall decor a bright, bustling atmosphere. The staff are friendly, happy and attentive, more than willing to offer their recommendations for dishes and serving sizes.

The menu was broken up into sections (bao, curries, salads etc) and you should expect to pay between $14 and $20 for most of the dishes. We were advised that the array of food we had ordered would be ample; which was a shame because I would have quite happily ordered more. Between us we ordered the pork bao, the crab bao, the cashew peking duck, the salt and pepper calamari and the pork three ways (spring rolls, patties, and fried).

I’m one of the world’s biggest fans of bao, and this bao was no exception. The crab was exceptional (I had been unsure about it when we ordered it) but the spicy mayo really cut through the richness of the fried crab. The pork was incredibly flavoursome, and the coriander finished it off perfectly. The other meals were all great too.

If you are in the mood, there is a bunch of cocktails available (including a vietnamese espresso martini) and a decent sized dessert list. We wanted dessert, but there was no way we were going to be able to fit it in. Maybe next time!

 

La Bella Italia

La Bella Italia

La Bella Italia (10 Nevis Street, Petone)

Yum, yum, yum, this place has the goods! People had told me that it was a good place to visit out in Petone, but I never really paid any attention until we spontaneously decided to go. This place is seriously awesome! It was like a big Italian warehouse, with so much happening and so much to look at, all at once! The walls are thoroughly decorated with all things Italian, and there is different tills lining the wall; there is the pizza man, the coffee man, the meats and cheeses man, the desserts… the list goes on. AND, on the other side there are a few shelves of Italian goods, if you want to transport yourself to an Italian supermarket.

The menu is authentic (there are plenty of Italian words used throughout!) and not too badly priced. The staff are lovely, charismatic and passionate about the food (like all good Italians). Both the pizza and the pasta dishes are of decent portion sizes; I had wanted dessert so badly but just absolutely could not fit it in.

This place is DEFINITELY worth your time. Even better, it’s not just a restaurant AND supermarket AND mini Italian museum, they also offer cooking classes and plenty of events. WOW.

Thai Lagoon

Thai Lagoon

Thai Lagoon (8 Alexander Road, Raumati)

For a romantic getaway, Raumati is just the place. There is so much more going on here than anyone ever told me, and if I knew we would have made this trip a whole lot sooner.

For a romantic (and delicious) date night, I highly recommend Thai Lagoon. The staff are so accommodating and fuss over you just to make sure everything is perfect. The prices are really reasonable, and the portion sizes were decent. We had a great time choosing our order, because the menu was typically huge. This was seriously some of the nicest Thai I have had in a long time, and I certainly didn’t expect to find it in Raumati!

Make sure you book, because the Saturday night we went it was literally booked out.

Franks

Franks

Franks (116 The Terrace)

Oh how I do love Franks. It’s exactly the sort of place I picture when I want to go somewhere spacious, light and zen-feeling to blog. Unfortunately for me, it’s at the opposite end of town to where I work so I don’t often make it here (Lucky for me though, I have been on secondment ON The Terrace for the last few weeks, and because it’s so short term, I make every excuse to visit Franks!). It’s deceptively small downstairs; when you walk in, more often then not there is a queue of people lining up at the teeny weeny counter. That teeny weeny counter though is always covered in several delicious looking donuts, and other delectable treats (but the highlight is the donuts!). This is the extent of the menu, so get in quick. After making your order, head upstairs to where it is far more spacious (although still quite a small spot overall) and take a seat. There is one big shared table, and a number of smaller ones. Franks is funky, tasty and in my experience, the staff are always super friendly. Highly recommend!

Sal’s Pizzeria

Sal’s Pizzeria

I got told my life was going to change when Sal’s made its way to Wellington; well it has, and I’m not sure that did. Sal’s claims to have authentic New York style pizza, which may be right, but it’s certainly doughy and cheesy and greasy, so you have to be in the absolute right mood for it.

Located on Cuba Street, Sal’s feels very ‘American diner’ from the moment you step inside. With sports blasting from the TVs, a big drinks fridge and uphosltery styled seats (appropriately red) I instantly felt transported to the USA. The pizza was cheap, and you can also order a variety of different bready knots and pinwheels etc (pictured above are the garlic knots, they were pretty tasty).

Probably not my preferred pizza option in Wellington (#classy) but even if I was getting takeaway I still think I would choose elsewhere before I got Sal’s again. But if that kind of pizza floats your boat, by all means there was nothing wrong with it.

Bastardo

Bastardo

Bastardo (82 Tory Street)

Replacing what used to be Pan De Muerto, Bastardo is brought to us by the same people behind Cicio Cacio and is just as delicious. The place aims for an Italian-American theme, and manages to pull it off beautifully. All of the wait staff are foreign, which only adds to the ambience.

The menu is very Italian, albeit no pizza. A complimentary basket with a variety of breads, olive oil and balsamic comes out not long after you order. The bread is so scrumptious that I had to make a mental note to stop eating it, because I wanted to save myself for my actual dinner! Between the four of us we ordered a range of pasta and carne dishes (including the chicken parmigiana and the rolled pork belly).

The drinks menu is interesting: in addition to a generic range of Italian aperitifs, soft drinks and beers, there is Italian wine which can only be ordered by the bottle. If you want to order wine by the glass, you have to order the ‘house’ wine, which is whatever bottle of wine is opened each night to keep the restaurant’s turnover rolling, as well as making it exciting for the customers! You never know what you’re going to get, but given that it’s Italian, it’s guaranteed to be good!

The food was yum; I wish that I had ordered the pasta as my own dish. I don’t even like blue cheese, and that pasta dish was still sensational. The pork belly was probably the highlight of the mains though, everything was done just right. The chicken parmigiana was tasty, but probably the weakest on the table (it was definitely quality, but a pub can also do a quality parmy – there was no wow factor about it).

For dessert, excitement levels hit sky high. We had seen the trolley circling all night long, and were ecstatic when it finally our turn to preview the goods. There were about five or six desserts on offer, bite size goodies (the perfect size really) which all only cost a mere $5 each. Ranging from tiramisu, lemon meringue pie, chocolate truffles and caramel mousse, it was hard to say no to any of them! It was such a neat way of doing it, we all agreed unanimously that despite the desserts being so cheap it was certainly a money-maker for the restaurant – those who would normally decline would be so much more tempted by a measly $5 dessert, and those gluttons (like us) end up ordering 2 or 3 – and spending what you would on a dessert elsewhere anyway.

The place was great, I have a soft spot for Cicio Cacio and think that it still trumps Bastardo, however Italian food is always a winner in my heart.

Orpheus

Orpheus

Orpheus (24 Allen Street)

If I had to give this place a star rating, I would probably give it two stars. One for the decor, and one for the pork sliders, which were exceptional. Other than that, Orpheus fell flat in every regard.

We arrived to our booking and were seated, only to be forgotten about for the next 20 minutes, with no water or even menus. We weren’t in a rush, so didn’t particularly mind, but in hindsight it seemed to set the tone for the evening. We both ordered cocktails, and after the waiter came and double checked what we had ordered (as he hadn’t written them down) we finally received our drinks.

We were dining on a GrabOne voucher, and so for $55 we were entitled to receive two starters and two mains between us. The menu prices were out of this world! Well no, they weren’t quite, but after seeing what you get for each of those prices, then I think you’d agree. As entrees we ordered the pork sliders and the calamari. The sliders were so yummy, I could have eaten 10. No complaints on the calamari, it was crispy and tasty. But it was from there that our time started to significantly worsen.

Never before have I been asked by a waiter “Your mains are already ready. Did you want them now, or did you want us to leave them for a bit?” And sure enough, when we looked over we could see them already served, sitting under the heat lamps. Ew. Naturally we said bring them over now, but when we got them my fries weren’t even hot! I ordered the pork ribs, curly fries and corn cob and Andy ordered the chicken and waffle combo. Although the fries were only luke-warm they were still pretty nice, better than the corn which felt like it must have been cooked from frozen for about half an hour, and the pork which was quite fatty (but tasty). The waffles were very stodgy, and the fried chicken was pretty good, but the sauce that tied them together only kind of worked. It wasn’t sweet maple as you’d expect, but when eaten in combination it tasted alright.

We weren’t tempted by dessert. We’d already spend another $40 on drinks on top of the $55 voucher, and I think we were both slightly protesting what felt like an already overly expensive meal. Lucky we had the voucher though – that was a definite saving grace.