Boquita – Wellington’s Plant-Based Mexican Maverick

I’ve been walking up and down the Kent Terrace laneway for months on end, only ever soaking up the sights of car dealership after car dealership – until one day, and petite little precinct popped up out of nowhere which instantly caught my attention. When I approached this new establishment, the smells instantly warmed up my body and made me crave whatever was cookin’ up inside there. Being the nosy parker, I am, I had a glance through the window to see what could possibly be creating such a serendipitous smell, and that’s when I found Boquita.

From that moment onwards, I would risk looking like an Olympic power walker marching down Kent Terrace just get another sneak peek into Boquita to see what marvelous Mexican meals they were concocting. This restaurant quickly became known as the pioneer of Mexican cuisine within Wellington central, with their parent restaurant, La Boca Loca, equally taking the outer suburbs of Miramar and beyond by storm. After near-criminally stalking their Insta feed, I decided that enough was enough – I needed to ditch the supermarket shop and instead blow my paycheck on a proper authentic feast. So, a few weekends ago, that’s what I did. And it was mind-blowing.

Me and the boyf. Arrived at Boquita with our tummies empty and my wallet ready to drop some fat cash on tacos. This place is pretty snug and always heaving with hungry peeps, so we had a little wait on our hands for seats and food – but believe me when I say the wait was totally worth it. So now that we’ve set the scene for the night, let’s talk taco.

To kick off our feast and tease our appetites, we ordered their daily special which was a Mexican take on thick and crunchy loaded fries, with 2 variations of creamy hummus and a dollop of refried beans taking the place of your average T-sauce. This was the perfect little starter to snack on whilst we were hungrily waiting for the main event – but it also teased our tummies as the combination of flavours in those little fried patatas were immense, and they disappeared in minutes, leaving us even thirstier for tacos. After what felt like hours (we literally didn’t eat all day just to appreciate the meal more and eat double our weight in tacos) – the plates hit our tables, revealing 3 of the most beautiful tacos I’ve ever seen. After ravishing the plate with our eyes, we tucked on in.

I started off with their spicy scrambled tofu taco, whose fiery heat warmed my body in the right places and got my taste-buds craving more. The next I devoured was their chipotle tempeh taco, whose combination of flavours danced the salsa on my tongue and took the meaning of taste to a new level. I was filling up at this point, but I had one more to go and I wasn’t about to go and commit a food felony – so I ignored the slight overeating tummy cramps and hit that last taco, which was a beautiful combo of rich refried beans and lentils that was perfectly complimented by the fresh slaw and tangy tomatoes. If you asked what my fav taco was, I couldn’t tell you. Each one brought a different and foreign flavour to my palette and took me on a new flavour journey that I never wanted to end.

This place exceeded all expectations I had for it, and I can’t thank the owners and chefs enough for bringing us something so authentic, communal, and special to the Wellingtons Mexican food scene. Sitting and dining in this place felt like you were eating at somebody’s house, the long sharing tables and open kitchen creates a vibrant social atmosphere where strangers became firm friends over the course of meal. If Boquita is the start of Wellington’s new food scene, Imma need to get a bigger scale because this place absolute smashed it! I can’t award anything lower than a 10/10 for this place, but I know they definitely deserve higher. Everything was perfect, and it goes to show that even the humblest of places that don’t stay with the grain or follow those nasty food fads, really do make waves in the food scene and provide us with innovative dishes that quickly become all-time favorites.

If you’re reading this and haven’t yet been to Boquita – what are you waiting for?? Whether you have cash in the bank or deep in the reds, the extra splashing out to get a taste of the food here is worth every penny.

The Ass Of The World – Well, Sorta…

I never thought I would have ever said this. But I’ve been to the ass of the earth. And I liked it.

Okay, let’s give some insight, because to some people that sounds pretty gross, and well If it’s your thing then you might want to find a different blog to read. El Culo Del Mundo is one of Wellington’s newest food hubs located right next to The Chippery on Roxborough Street, and basically, its name translates to ‘the ass of the earth’ – I don’t know if this was planned or not, but either way, it cracks me up (YES PUN).

So, knowing that the name meant ass, I had to see if their fare also translated to ass. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. We decided to hit this joint on a sunny Sunday afternoon, carelessly leaving the kids me and my boyfriend were babysitting to fend and cook for themselves (probably bad in hindsight, but they survived) and met up with some good mates to test-drive this new whip.

Vegans and plant-based protestors – you can rejoice. Because this place is getting on the old protein replacement band-wagon. How you say? Crickets. These little critters have stirred up a storm in the food industry recently, with their super high protein properties, and FINALLY a restaurant in Wellington is serving them up with spice. Naturally, we tried this right away, and hand-on-heart, I was nervous. But as soon as I popped that crunchy cricket in my mouth, the fear went and the flavor kicked in – absolutely delicious, and even better served on a nacho chip with a little guac.

Next, we glazed over their mains to see what else would tickle our fancy. Bougie-as dishes like ox tongue tacos, bone marrow tortillas, and tiger prawns jumped out at us – however for the menu that we got served, we felt like the veggie options were a little lacking. Maybe rejoice a bit less vegan friends. However, for what they lacked in veggie options, they sure made up for in flavor. Those tiger prawns – AMAZING. The creamy guac and home-made salted nachos – INSPIRED. The ox tongue taco – MELT IN THE MOUTH. So, you could say their food was pretty dope.

So all in all, a pretty cool place that serves up some fine ass fare has just opened up a stone’s throw away from Courtenay place, and is a great addition to the Wellington food and drink scene. The only criticisms I got for this place are as listed (clears throat); Have more veggie options, have the same menu online as in the restaurant (I wanted to try the cauliflower, but couldn’t order it!) AND increase the portion size or lower the price of meals, because if you’re running on a low tank and need a feed, you deffo gotta order multiple meals to satisfy the hunger – I paid $15 for 3 tiger prawns.

Apart from that, I’m gonna give this place a 7.5/10 on the ol’ CCL (cafecrawlerlucy) scale. Great people, tasty noms, and a good selection of beers and drinks. A few little criticisms here and there, but hey, for a place that’s JUST opened its doors – I reckon it’s doing pretty good!

Hamilton: I expected punters – but instead I got ‘The Punnet’

Last weekend was my very first trip to Hamilton since I was 6 years old – and to be honest I wasn’t expecting much (this was SOLELY from other people’s opinions, I promise!). BUT I speak to everyone, especially you Hamilton homies (sorry for the lingo, I can’t pass on an alliteration), Hamilton WAAAAAAY exceeded my expectations – no matter how low they were!

I stayed at the Narrows Landing, which if you’re a Hamilton local, you know it’s literally one of THE best places to stay in, I would say New Zealand, let alone just the North Island (big-ups to the boyfriend’s parents for splashing out – loved every minute!). But we ain’t a travel blog here, we all about that foodie doodie goodness. So, let’s talk about The Punnet.

‘The Punnet’ is one of Hamilton’s true gems. I mean, I haven’t been to any other cafes there, but I can’t imagine it gets much better than this! You got the café, which serves up food with flavor profiles OFF THE CHARTS, they have a farm shop with everything that a middle-class mum would sell their soul for, they have a playground that even I, as a semi self-respecting 21-year-old, had to have a play on, AND you can pick strawberries. Pretty flipping dope place if you ask me.

Feeling very dusty after a BEAUTIFUL wedding and reception (shout-out to the gorgeous couple Nick & Sarah), around 50 of us filled the place and sat down for what I call a feast for the eyes, tummy, and soul. The menu was jam-packed with waaaaay too many mouth-watering meals, and in my hungover state, it was almost too much for my little head to handle. But, eventually, I made my own little eggs-avocado-spinach-salmon-toast situation. The eggs – poached to perfection, the avocado – soft, green, and with a little surprise sesame crunch, the salmon – crispy skinned and melt-in-the-mouth, the toast – well, toasty? They sadly forgot my spinach, which to be honest, I forgot I’d even ordered until I’d demolished the whole thing.

If I come back to Hamilton anytime soon – I KNOW I’m going to have to stop in here for breakfast, brunch, lunch, morning tea, afternoon tea – you name an occasion to eat, and I’ll come here for it. The cabinet had the most decadent pastries, cakes and sweets perfect for a snack, and stocked little savoury items like scones, paninis and bagels for those slightly-peckish-but-not-too-hungry-people. I think I’m going to have to award this people pleasing place a 9.5/10. ½ off top score solely for not being closer to Wellington. It is what it is, I don’t make the rules around here!

If you’re reading this – next time you go to Hamilton, you know where to go (I’m talking about The Punnet if it wasn’t clear enough yeah?).

Fabulous Food and Flagrant Femininity – Only at Fifi’s

Well well well, look what the cat dragged in. Oh, I’m not talking about you – god no! I’m talking about slack and blog-neglecting self, who quite frankly should be ashamed for not writing ANYTHING since August. Absolute trash blogger right here.

Pushing the self-loathing aside, I’m back writing to let you guys know about a brand-new and brilliantly bougie café that has just opened up in the heart of Wellington. Tucked away on the dodgy-but-cozy Marion Street is Fifi’s – a new café that serves up scrumptious sandwiches, beautiful bakes, and cracking coffees – all served with a side of flagrant femininity.

I’ve been craving to come and check out this curiosity-inducing café ever since I saw it open, and finally, on a fresh December Friday afternoon, I got the chance to see what the fuss was all about. If this place was in New York, there would be a Tasty video on the décor just alone, but since we are in Wellington, you gotta go and check out this dope as place for yourself. Fifi’s have paid homage to their women-only workspace, by decorating the walls with infamous artworks, that all have a slight feminine twist. We found our seats at one of their perfectly imperfect mismatched tables, with the ideal view of the cabinet food and the baristas killer magenta eyeshadow look – the first person to actually pull off pinkeye (it’s a bad joke, I know, I’m rusty remember?).

I could ramble on and on about just how cool this café is, but you guys are here to know about their food and drink, so let’s cut to the chase. Drinks first, as always. Because it was one of those #CBWOAGD (can’t beat Welly on a good day) kinda days, I opted for a iced coffee to keep refreshed and to keep the caffeine withdrawals at a minimum (I hadn’t had one all day and it was 2pm, ya gal needed her fix) – whatever coffee beans they use there are magic, the coffee was delicious! Now, onto food. They have the classic little lunchtime/brunchtime menu, but as soon as I looked into their savory cabinet, a giant bready boy filled with what I can only describe as green crunchy, cream, fresh delicious goodness, stole my heart and my stomach. As with the drink, choosing this sandwich was one of the best decisions of my life, because that perfectly toasted ciabatta sandwiched together some sick fillings (including rocket, feta, avocado and cucumber) to create the meanest greenest sandwich I’ve ever tasted. This sandwich literally gave me butterflies it was that damn tasty.

So, summing up: Fifi’s is freaking fantastic, and anybody who says otherwise probably didn’t go to Fifi’s, and is just making crap up, their food is everything, and their staff are eclectic and awesome. So, what does that mean for me? Well, it means I have to give them a stonking 9.5/10 for my visit to their humble and vivid abode! Love the food, love the feel of the place, and I love the feminine movement they have going. If you haven’t been here, please please PLEASE jog on down to Marion Street and get your hands on their nosh! Muchos Gracias Fifi’s for the lovely lunch. I’ll be back.

The Best Lower South Island Food Spots

In my own humble opinion, Te Wai Pounamu (The South Island) is by far the better of both islands. Why? Aside from its breathtaking scenery, blockbuster-famous mountains, and abundance of wildlife, the food scenes down there are pretty impressive – especially as the whole population of the island is still less than Auckland alone. To prove the food scene of the south is something worthy of contention, I’ve compiled a list of the best lower South Island food spots that alone show why this is New Zealand’s favourite isle.

1. Lake Matheson Cafe 

Is there anything better than sitting down for a hot cup of joe on a cold winter’s day? Yes, actually. When that hot cup of Joe comes with post-card perfect views of Aoraki and Horokoau (Mount Tasman). Lake Matheson Cafe is the perfect pit stop for those long trips down the West Coast, and serves up some delicious treats to go with that hot drink you so desperately need to warm up! Oh, they’ve also got a little selection of trinkets from local artists for a great holiday souvenir. 

2. Burrito Craft 

Normally people flock to Wanaka for their awesome hikes, thrilling mountain bike tracks, and alpine activities – but not me. I come here for one thing and one thing only; burritos. Last year I was introduced to Burrito Craft by a good friend, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. Sat in amongst a circle of other tantalising food trucks, Burrito Craft serves up killer Mexican food that feeds the belly, heart & soul. My top pick is their fish burrito; it may sound weird having fish in a burrito, but believe me, those breaded fillets fit the flavours better than carnitas any day!

3. Francesca’s Italian

Summer and Winter activities may differ, but one thing stays the same; you need a damn big serving of carbs after a whole day of them. Luckily, after you’ve set down the skis (water & snow), Francescas is right there to fill that ginormous hole in your stomach. Whether your preference is a plate of saucy pasta or a whole family-sized pizza, Francesca’s serves a huge bounty of both of these dishes to the highest quality, so you can tuck into your favourite feast knowing a flavour volcano is about to erupt. 

4. Gibbston Valley Cheese Cafe

Who, and I mean WHO, doesn’t love cheese? Even if you stick to a strict vegan or dairy-free diet, I’m almost positive you can be swayed by a good chunk of cheese. The Gibbston Valley Cheese Cafe is set within the storybook-esque Arrowtown and serves up an array of award-winning cheeses to hungry punters. Not only have they created a fine selection of cheeses to take home, they’ve also curated a whole menu based on their best-sellers. Think gooey Mac & cheese, stuffed baguette, and of course, the famous Southland cheese roll!

5. Nest Kitchen 

We’re kicking things up a notch with this hillside haven. Imagine sitting in a beautiful scandi-inspired restaurant, fire blazing, old-fashioned in hand admiring the gorgeous views of the remarkable reflected in Lake Wakatipu. At Nest, you can live this fantasy. Part of the Kamana Resort, this high-altitude restaurant offers drool-worthy a-la-carte and degustation menus for their diners to relish. With supporting seasonality & local produce being a huge ideology here, you’ll never have the same menu two months in a row, but you’ll always enjoy the highest quality ingredients.

6. Ferg Burger 

Along with soaking up remarkable views, getting stuck into alpine activities, and thrashing the luge lanes, there’s a reason people flock to the shores of Queenstown – and that’s to get their hungry mitts on one of Ferg Burger’s stacks. Over its 20 years of operating, this place has become QT’s busiest attraction, garnering lines & waits of up to 2 hours during peak season – but patience does not go without reward at this place. The burgers are big, beautiful, and full of bold flavours that keep you coming back for more.

7. Bespoke Kitchen

If Nadia Lim gets her coffee here, you know it’s good. Vegan, vegetarian, dairy & gluten-free people rejoice, as this hideout at the foothill of the gondola has all of your best interests at heart (& stomach!). Dining here is like sensory overload; from a superbly stocked cabinet that features everyone’s favourite sandwiches, bakes & cakes, to a menu full of cult-favourite classics with a bespoke twist. I recommend coming here for brunch after a long day (or night) and replenishing your energy with a big plate of pancakes and one of their fresh, fruity & rejuvenating juices.

8. Yonder 

These days I find cafes make a hard trade-off between style or substance – but not the guys at Yonder! They prove that you can have the insta-worthy interiors AND serve up dishes that knock your woolen socks off. Whether you’re feeling like a spot of brunch, a dash of dinner, or a night on the cocktails – this place exceeds any of your wining and dining needs.

9. Patagonia 

What would you get if a more sophisticated Willy Wonka set up shop on the shores of Lake Wakatipu? Patagonia – that’s what. This chocolate shop is one of QT’s foodie hotspots, and if its gorgeous Aspen exteriors don’t lull you inside, then the crowds of chocoholics chowing down their signature ice creams in the streets will! Choose from over 10 award-winning flavours to create your own bespoke ice cream, or if you’re beating the cold then grab one of their decadent hot chocolates to warm your heart and soul.

10. Beam me up bagels

I can’t say I’ve ever been jealous of Southern scarfie uni students, but that all changed when I had my first ever feed from Beam Me Up Bagels. How lucky they are to have this awesome little bagel shop right on the doorstep of their campus is almost infuriating to me. Here we’ve been under the impression Best Ugly Bagels is the top dog in NZ when these guys have been showing their Dunedin audience just how bagels should be done! For just $15 you can get yourself a super-stacked bagel you can barely fit in your mouth, or your stomach for that fact, that’ll keep your tummy quiet for the rest of the day.

11. Let them Eat Vegan 

I know lots of plant-based people always promise “you won’t even miss the meat” when they share their dishes and sometimes that’s a down-right lie, but at Let them Eat Vegan, I can assure you this claim is 100% true. Making all their meat & cheese alternatives in-house, they’ve mastered their recipes so these ingredients look, smell, feel and taste exactly like the real things. How? I Don’t know. But after chowing down one of their teriyaki “chicken” Baguettes, I found that it’s better to ask fewer questions and just enjoy the delicious dairy-free, meat-free, cafe classics they serve up!

12. Fleurs Place

This is Rick Stein’s favourite seafood restaurant in the world, and now it’s mine too. Humble, unassuming, and underrated are just 3 words to describe this seaside haven. Tucked away on the shores of Moeraki, this restaurant attracts all kinds of different holidaymakers that have just 1 thing in common; they all were blown away by their experience at Fleur’s Place. The chefs here not only nail the classic seafood dishes, but they also like to experiment with other locally sourced ingredients you may have never tried, like the famous Titi/mutton bird (which looks like duck but tastes a lot like anchovies!).

13. Riverside Market 

Can’t decide on what you want to eat? Why not try it all! Riverside Market is a newly build hub of all things food & drink right next to Christchurch’s Avon River. The best thing about this food court is that all its vendors cover cuisines from every continent, so you can fill that meal-shaped hole in your soul with your fave international dish! Feeling like a fajita? You can get it here. Craving a creamy carbonara? Again, right here. Longing for a laksa? Need I say it again – you’ll find one right here!

14. Miro

Now this place is somewhere I hold close to my heart, not just because its vibe, people, and food are all stunning, but because it exceedingly satisfied my hunger after a 4-hour journey to Christchurch. Set in one of the only heritage buildings in the South Island capital, Miro takes you back in time atmospherically, but when it comes to their flavours & techniques, they’re all 21st century. The star of the show has to be their breakfast tasting board, which features small servings of all their best-selling dishes, so you can experience all the enjoyment of brunch at Miro without any of the food envy.

15. Hello Sunday

Another place that I hold high praise for, for the sole reason of gratifying my growling stomach. Hello Sunday is like a fairytale cottage crossed with a Michelin Star restaurant; Charming, cozy, and above all, a culinary delight. We came here expecting your bog-standard brunch food but left impressed with the unique dishes they featured on the menu and inspired to try to recreate the gorgeous flavours we experienced ourselves. The team here has created something truly magical with this establishment, as when you go out to dine here it somehow feels like you’re coming home for one of your mum’s heartiest meals.

The Best BYO’s in Wellington

A BYO is the perfect place to get litty, whether it be for a birthday or just because you’re feeling extra thirsty on a Friday night. But the one question that always floats to mind when organising all the lads together is; where the heck do we go? To make this decision easier for you (so now all you need to think about is what wine has the most standards for the cheapest), I’ve compiled a list of the best BYO’s in Wellington that have always started me off well for a steamer of a night.

1. Great India

There are 2 things I love when its comes to a BYO – 1. A round table where you can chat sh*t to everyone, and 2. Flipping good food. Luckily, Great India has both of these (and a very cheap corkage) to kick your night off just right! The chefs at Great India specialise in dishes from South Gujrat and North India, with each dish bringing its own distinctive flavour and aroma (no matter how much you’ve had to drink) which simply can’t be replicated from your flats spice rack.

My top pick: Any curry, but get rice & naan for the whole table! This means they bring out a selection of different rices & naan to pick & choose from, and when I say a selection, I mean enough carbs to feed a small village.

Naan at Great India

2. Arashi

Arashi Kushiyaki Bar is, in my humble opinion, one of the best Japanese BYO’s in the CBD. If you’re looking for some lighter, less greasy meals whilst still being able to chug a bottle of wine in 15 minutes, then this is your place. From crispy skewered meats & proteins, to beautiful bowls of saucy teriyaki dons, Arashi can cater for any of your western asian food cravings – and has vegetarian/vegan options too!

My top pick: The Okonomiyaki! Savoury pancake, spring onions, Okonomiyaki sauce, and plenty of kewpie mayo – what’s not to love???

3. NewKor

“If you know, you know” is the phrase that comes to mind when I describe Newkor. Only a very select few of my friends know about this place, which after dining and (lots of) wining here, is an abomination. Situated just opposite the liquor store on Dixon Street (convenient, right?), NewKor serves up some of the sauciest Korean dishes around – and I can confirm that the dishes here are as authentic as they come. Oh, did I mention they have karaoke rooms upstairs and endless bottles of Soju? Newkor literally has everything you need for a night to (not) remember!

My top pick: Korean fried chicken. I only tried this because it was going to go to waste otherwise, but god it was like KFC on crack (without all the grease and using real chicken of course). Nobody, and I mean nobody, does fried chicken quite like Koreans do

Fried Chicken at NewKor

4. Rasa

Located at the top of Cuba Street, or what I like to call ‘the rowdy end’, Rasa is a humble abode that serves up some killer south Indian and Malaysian cuisine. If you can squeeze your group in between its small walls then you can be reassured your night here will only be a fantastic one, as the team here prove that even the smallest of restaurants can be huge on flavour and quality.

My top pick: Roti. You cannot go to Rasa without getting a healthy serving of roti to pair with your meal, and if you do, you’re a psychopath.

5. Satay Village

When you say BYO, everybody in earshot instantly imagines mountains of Malaysian food, and there’s no other place that quite executes that authentic south asian flair than Satay Village. Inside the restaurant the decor is quaint, unassuming and very simple – but this facade soon disappears once the dishes start coming out, as the fragrances from their rice or noodle dishes soon fills your nostrils. Fun fact, they were the first ever Malaysian restaurant established in Wellington – so that means they must know a thing or two about that cuisine, right?

My top pick: The Laksa. I like to pretend I’m going to order something different, but the aromas and flavours of this dish drawn me in every damn time.

6. Indian Alley

Led by an A+ husband and wife team, the folks at Indian Alley take you on an authentic food journey through India with an abundance of awe-inspiring regional starters, mains, and desserts. With 2 restaurants across Wellington (one on Wakefield Quay, one in Press Hall), they have built a reputation of providing dishes which are daringly different and prepared with ingredients of exceptional quality for an enticing level of Indian flair. Whether you’re looking for a more casual dining experience with buffet or à la carte options OR seeking more of a traditional full service Indian fine dining experience, Indian Alley has you covered – oh, and you can BYO wine to make the experience even more enjoyable (and, perhaps a little more blurry!).

My top pick: Kurkure Paneer. Nothing in this world prepared me for the unfathomable flavour and texture of deep fried paneer with a fresh minty chutney dip.

Paneer Tikka at Indian Alley

7. Tequila Joes

If you’re for something a little more Western on your night out, then look no further than Tequila Joes! Being the only Mexican BYO Restaurant in Wellington, this place serves up some seriously saucy Mexican faves such as tacos, quesadillas & nachos – plus they have vegetarian and vegan options so no matter your dietary direction, you too can don the Sombreros and Cowgirl Hats and have a fiery fiesta of a night!

My top pick: Baja Fries. I know you’re coming to this place for Mexican, but trust me these pillowy fried pockets of spicy potato will line your stomach nicely for the night ahead!

Tacos at Tequila Joes

Best Italian Restaurants Wellington

For a small city, Wellingtons dining scene boasts cuisines from every corner of the world – with each eatery bringing something delicious and unique to our tables. However, out of all the countries, Italian fare is the one that is loved the most by our little capital – and here are the best places to get your fix of fantastic continental food.

Cicio Cacio Osteria

With a goal to deliver an authentic Italian food experience to everybody who dines here, Cicio Cacio prides is somewhere to come for humble Italian meals that you’ve probably never heard of, but will become fast favourites. I would recommend some stand-out dishes, however, in true ‘Osteria’ or ‘family-restaurant’ fashion, the menu changes every month to based on produce, and to shed light on a variety of incredible dishes from all Italian regions. That being said, I can guarantee any dish containing their house-made pasta will be a sensational one.

Check out their menu here.

Bruschetta from Cicio Cacio

La Bella Italia

The 10 minute drive (or 20 minute train) ride here out to La Bella Italia is a minuscule price to pay for the second-to-none wining and dining experience you get in return. Pizza, pasta, gelato, anti-pasti, sauces, wines, oils; you name it, if its Italian in origin, this place either serves it or stocks it. Not only do they provide Wellingtonians with an authentic dishes and products – they also teach you how to make them too in one of their immersive cookings classes (which also make for fabulous birthday or Christmas gifts!).

Check out their menu here.

1154 Pastaria

Wanting for some quick, cheap & tasty pasta for a midweek meal? Look no further. 1154 has just one goal; to source the best ingredients possible to curate a menu made from all our favourite carb-centred pasta classics – and I think they do a pretty bang up job. My top pick has to be their Fettuccini Carbonara; a stunningly simple dish who’s punchy flavours never fail to astonish me.

Check out their menu here.

Pasta from 1154

Pizza Pomodoro

At Pizza Pomodoro, their pride comes from delivering to the “original” Neapolitan pizza experience to us dough-hungry Wellingtonians. However, even though they’ve mastered the art of the Margherita, it doesn’t mean they don’t like to get creative. Toppings such as sausage, aubergine, smoked chicken and even roasted potatoes feature on some of their more flamboyant pizzas – and they even let you build your own pizza too (if you think you know flavour combos better than they do).

Check out their menu here.


One of Cuba Street’s many famous food digs, who also happen to serve up some incredible food and drink inspired by the informal barcari (restaurants and bars) of Venice. Forget pizza and pasta dishes (although their Pizzette is bangin’), the real gold is hidden in amongst their small bite & vegetable menu items. Oozy arancini balls, crunchy cheesy broccolini, and thick crispy polenta chips – need I say more?

Check out their menu here.

Pizzette from Ombra


Scopa is another one of Cuba Streets Italian hotspots – but rather than serving up plates of pasta, they put all their focus into crafting the perfect pizzas. Staying true to their Italian roots, their pizza base recipe and method is exactly how the old Nonna’s all make theirs, but when it comes to the toppings, this is where they like to push the boundaries of tradition. Of course they serve up the perfect Margherita (which are $10 on a Tuesday), but their other pizzas feature ingredients like clams, spicy sausage, zucchini, potatoes, and even mint. Oh, and if you’re a sucker for sweet things, you’re going to love their molten hot chocolates (they’re the best in the city).

Check out their menu here.

Hot Chocolate from Scopa

Daily Food & Drink Deals in Wellington

Want to save a bit of cash for your next breakfast, lunch, or dinner date? Check out these daily food deals and drink deals in and around Wellington that’ll keep your wallet full, and your tummy even fuller!


Santeria – 2 for 1 classic Pizzas 

Chow – 2 for 1 meal deals 

Tommy Millions – Two slices of the original pizza for $5

Mediterranean Foods – Metre long pizza 

Mad Mex – Meat-free naked burrito Monday’s $2 off 

Leroys – 2 for 1 Burgers 

The Old Quarter – Bao Down Mondays ($12 Bao + bubbles)

JJ Murphy’s – 2 for 1 pies

Vinyl Bar – 2 for 1 Pizza’s 5-7pm


Maranui Cafe – Tradesman Tuesdays $20 Big Breakfast + Coffee

Lashings – 2 for 1 Tuesday on any brownie menu item 

Mockingbird – Taco Tuesday 3 tacos for $15 + house wine or beer for extra $5

The Botanist – Taco Tuesday $20 tacos + pint 

Mediterranean Foods – Viva Vegan Tuesdays 

Dragonfly – Half price cocktail specials 

Scopa – $10 Margherita Tuesday 

The Library – 2 for 1 desserts

The Rogue and Vagabond – $2 Taco Tuesday 

Leroys – 2 for 1 Tacos, $8 Quesadillas

Flamingo Joes – $10 Cocktail Tuesday

Master Kong – 2 x Bao Buns for $12 after 5pm

Olive – 3 Course Dinner for $55 every Tuesday

Lulu Bar – 2 for $20 Cocktails


Sprig + Fern Seatoun – Burger + Pint $30

The Chippery – Burger + fries $12 with Student ID

Sprig + Fern Tinakori – $15 Pizza

Maranui Cafe – $15 Eggs on toast + bottomless coffee 

The Old Quarter – Cocktail specials 241 

Chow – 241 cocktail specials 

The Library – 241 cocktail specials

Poquito – Wine & Cheeseboard for $20

POP – $10 Tap Cocktails 

Zelati – 2 for $20 Waffle Wednesday

Havana Bar – $10 Tap beers, $8 ciders and $8 red & white wines

Lulu Bar – 2 for $20 Cocktails


Yoshi Sushi & Bento – $20 Poke Bowl + House drink between 5:30-7:30pm

Amador – $10 Hot Pot after 5pm

Seashore Cabaret – 2 for 1 burgers every Thursday night 

The Old Bailey – 2 for 1 dessert

Sprig + Fern Tinakori – $20 Pie + Pint Night

The Foundry – 2 for 1 Cocktails every Thursday

Lulu Bar – $10 Mojito Thursdays

Havana Bar – $10 Tap beers, $8 ciders and $8 red & white wines

Lulu Bar – 2 for $20 Cocktails

Vinyl Bar – $10 cocktails & $7 cruisers


Maranui Cafe – Black Fridays black coffee $2.50 

Bitters & Love – $7 Coffee + Muffin, Creamy Puff or Madeleines

Yoshi Sushi & Bento – $20 Ramen + House drink between 5:30-7:30pm

Fidels – Pizza Special 3-7pm 2 Asahi’s + pizza $28

El Barrio – $10 Cocktail Hour (8pm-10pm)

The Hunter Lounge – 2 for 1 Margherita Pizzas from 3pm

Southern Cross Bar & Restaurant – $10 House-made Taptails Friday 6-9pm

Havana Bar – $11 Mojitos

Dragonfly – 2 for $20 cocktails after 10pm

Vinyl Bar – $8 Bubbles from 4pm


Maranui Cafe – From 7am – 9am, eggs on toast and a coffee for $10. 

Flamingo Joes – Flamingo’s Feast $50

Garden Hotel – Bottomless brunch $49

POP – Bottomless brunch

Coenes – $5 Mimosas 8am – 4pm

Master Kong – Kung Fu Yum Cha $39

The Arborist – $5 Brunch Mimosa until 5pm

JJ Murphys – 2 for 1 Burgers

El Barrio – $10 Cocktail Hour (8pm-10pm)


St Johns – Bottomless brunch 

The Realm – $8.50 breakfast (vegetarian & vegan options available)

The Arborist – 2 for $20 cocktails 4-6pm 

The Welsh Dragon – Roast dinner + pudding for $30

JJ Murphy’s – Roast Dinner/BBQ + Drink $23

Crab Shack – Kids eat for free (12pm – 6pm)

El Barrio – 2 for 1 Desserts

Every Day

Sweet Release – Early morning discounted baked goods 

The Hudson on Chews – $5 coffee and scone

Le Samourai – $5 coffee and scone/pinwheel

The Old Quarter – $15 lunch 

Ozeki – $12 lunch specials

Garden Hotel – Happy Hour 5-7pm Wed-sun 

Maranui Cafe – Fries + 2 x Milkshake $15 3pm-5pm

Concrete Bar Happy Hour 4:30 – 6:30pm

Indian Alley – $14 for a choice of curry, naan, rice, and a soft drink

Great India – $12 Main, rice + naan 

Chow – $15 lunch special Tuesday to Sunday

Mr Go’s – $7 Gua Bao of the week before 6pm

The Arborist – Happy Hour & 2 for $20 cocktails 4-6pm

St John’s – Happy Hour 4:30-6:30pm Mon-Friday

Hanging Ditch – $13 cocktails before 7pm

Ombra – Aperivito drink & complimentary bite deals 3-6pm

Vinyl Bar – Happy Hour 5-7pm

Where to Buy The Best Hot Cross Buns in Wellington

It’s coming up to Easter, and you know what that means (apart from a very celebrated 4 day weekend)? Hot cross buns! That’s right, its that time of the year to triple your bread consumption in the name of christ – and (in no particular order) here are the best place to do so:

Leeds Street Bakery

Not only do these guys slay a salted caramel cookie (seriously if you haven’t tried it you need to), but they also bring a whole new meaning to the classic Hot Cross Bun. With a tasty tangelo twist, these sultana-laden buns have that extra depth of flavour that you won’t find at your average-Joe bakery. 


Its only fitting that a place who prides themselves on the best brownies in town also whips up some strong contenders for Wellington’s best HCB (hot cross bun). And, they even incorporate some of their chocolate mastery into the batter of these bad-boys – creating a spicy, sweet and tangy explosion that’s all mellowed together with chunks of single-origin Dominican Republic 70% chocolate. 


Vegans & Paleos – here’s something for you! On a mission to provide New Zealand with diet-friendly products, the guys at Thoroughbread prove that thigh-slappingly good hot crossed buns don’t have to contain any wheat, gluten or dairy. If you want nutty, spicy, fruity, fluffy buns with none of the allergy-nasties, these are the buns for you.

Aro Bake

Of course, I couldn’t write this piece without including our cities Hot Cross Bun breadwinner. Operating for over 30 years, you bet the team at Arobake have spent that whole time perfecting their recipe to create beautiful buns that never fail to put a smile on the ol’ dial – just ask any of their many stockists and they’ll sing the same praises! 

Sweet Release

Another dairy free, nut free, egg free and vegan hot cross bun?? You betcha, baby – Wellington Easter’s are getting woke. Known for their vegan takes on naughty home style cooking, their uber-fluffy and diet-friendly hot cross buns are just as drool-worthy as any of their cult classics. 

Clareville Bakery

Even though this bakery hails from over the Remutaka hills, their second-to-none baking skills make up for the time it takes to travel to this haven, just take one bite of their cronut and you’ll see what I mean. Here, hot crossed buns aren’t just a little snack to kill some hunger pains, they’re actually incorporated into the classic NZ’s brunch meals – think hot cross bun French toast with a dollop of cinnamon mascarpone and a sprinkling of seasonal fruit, bacon and maple syrup. 

Your Guide to the Best Vegan Food in Wellington

Even though the plant-based diet isn’t so much a commodity anymore, it can still be hard finding a place to eat that ticks all the boxes for a good vegan meal (no, we don’t want avocado toast AGAIN.). Luckily, I’ve taste-tested my fair share of vegan-friendly cafes & restaurants so you can learn where to get the most plant-based bang for your buck.


My absolute go-to for a cheeky cheap vegan dinner. At Boquita, they believe food should be nourishing for you, for the planet and for everyone involved in making their food. Here they offer a range of delicious, plant-based Mexican meals, perfect for a delicious and nutritious speedy lunch, a family favourite take-home meal, or easy eat-in dinner. Even though it sounds too good to be true, believe me, this place prides themselves on no nasties, no short-cuts and no compromise on flavour.

CCL Supreme Menu Suggestion: You might think I’ve got the wrong cuisine, but believe me – Boquita proves that falafel does in fact belong in tacos.

Check out the menu here.


Courtenay Place’s answer to a vegan/vegetarian’s “where should we eat?” dilemma! Formerly the swainish-inspired rooftop bar, Mockingbird was transformed into a bold, hip new dining hub that offers plant-based burgers, bowls, tacos, loaded fries and more. Not only have they introduced a huge variety of unbelievably tasty vegetarian/vegan food, they also pride themselves on their 13 rotating craft beer taps, vegan wines, and a range of diversely delicious sangrias. Oh, did I mention they also run bottomless brunches on weekends? What’s not to love!

  • CCL Supreme Menu Suggestion: Available anytime (until 3pm), any day – it’s their bountiful brunch bowl. Why? Hash browns, obviously.  

Check out their menu here. 

Sweet Release

Everybody’s favourite comfort food made vegan! From saucy stacked rib burgers to ooey gooey Mac and Cheese, Sweet Release are an all vegan cafe that is taking the vegan community of Wellington by storm. Not only are they the new Manner’s street hangout that’s taking all my money, but they’re also the organisers behind the all-vegan monthly night market called The Vegan Vault and the team behind Not a Butcher, a vegan meat subscription service. Not vegan but do have a few pesky allergies? Don’t worry – they don’t serve dairy, eggs, meat or nuts anywhere.

CCL Supreme Menu Suggestion: Not-Rib Burger – I’ve never tasted real ribs before, but now I don’t need to knowing I’ve got this mouthwatering meat-alternative to sink my teeth into!

Check out the menu here.

Willis Kitchen

Sometimes it can be hard finding a place that promises good food for vegans and non vegans alike – but not here! Willis Kitchen is the place where you & your mates can tuck into ‘Fakon and Ekks’ or “Bacon and Eggs’ at the same table. For them, the most important principle is to create delicious food (both plant-based and not) for everyone to enjoy, and change the mindset towards vegan food.

  • CCL Supreme Menu Suggestion: Some would argue its not a meal, but I reckon you’d have the best night of your life tucking into their vegan family-sized tiramisu! 

Check out their menu here. 

Aunty Menas

Sometimes you never know whether that vegetarian fried noodle dish you ordered is gonna contain some secret meat, but rest assured knowing you can be safe from any imposter-meats here. Aunty Mena’s is a bustling upper Cuba Street kitchen that serves up your go-to Asian/Malaysian classics but with a vegan twist. Whether it be breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, this place never stops serving up hearty portions of beautifully balanced food that don’t break the bank – or your vegan diet!

CCL Supreme Menu Suggestion: The curry noodle – this dish is so spectacular it made my meat-lovin’ mate who absolutely despise vegetables fall in love with tofu. 

Check out the menu here.

Aroha Plant Based Cuisine

Beautiful bowls made up of plant-based bliss! At Aroha, they believe plant-based food does not have to forfeit it’s flavour. We want to show you how we subvert the stereotype, to demonstrate vegan and vegetarian foods not only healthier but also can be very creative and delicious. From succulent superfood salads to cosy chickpea-laden curry’s, this upmarket food hall joint serves up high-hitting healthy workday lunches that’ll keep your brain juice running for days!

CCL Supreme Menu Suggestion: Basically, every single salad they offer mixed together for maximum flavour impact!

Check out the menu here.

Hare Krishna

These guys are the pioneers of Wellington’s vegan business lunch. Situated in the heart of Wellington City, Higher Taste Hare Krishna restaurant is a pure vegetarian/vegan restaurant providing a divine eating experience. Originally Inspired by the streets of India, but also influenced by the ways of the North and West, Higher Taste knows exactly what Curries, Chaats and cult-favourites to serve up to either get you through your 9-5, or as a little dinnertime treat.

CCL Supreme Menu Suggestion: Basically any of their curries will fill your tummy, but if you’re feeling especially naughty (or feel like you deserve a mid-day treat), then get a syrupy serving of their gorgeous Gulab jamun. 

Check out the menu here.


A vegan take on fabulous fine dining degustations. Vegetarian, Vegan, Plant Based, Meatless, call it what you will, for them, their main focus is simply serving up good food – taste wise, and health wise. Their menus offer a creative, inclusive style of cuisine that pushes the boundaries of modern New Zealand dining experiences. Rather than trying to trick people into eating meat substitutes, they’re focused on celebrating ingredients in their own right, and work closely with local suppliers and producers to create dishes that boast the beautiful flavours of vegetables in the best way.

  • CCL Supreme Menu Suggestion: Get the non-alcoholic drink match with your degustation, and prepare yourself for some seriously sobering but outstanding concoctions.

Check out their menu here.

Pranah Cafe

Your one-stop plant-based coffee shop. Pranah is a small cafe in the heart of Newtown that dishes up delicious homemade food that’s all vegetarian/vegan, so people from all walks of diet can enjoy! On the surface the food & drink look hearty and humble, but once you tuck into one of their towering pancakes stacks, boss-ass burgers or even just one of their sweet-treats, you’ll unleash a pandora’s box of beautifully balanced flavours that get you coming back for more & more.

  • CCL Supreme Menu Suggestion: Satay + Tofu + Pie Crust = heaven. Trust me. (And it’s freaking vegan!

Check out their menu here.

The Botanist

Do you love mouthwatering vegan meals, superb hospitality staff, and long walks along the beach? Well, swipe right to this bad-boy because here you can can get all that and more. The Botanist brings the best in innovative plant based cuisine to the stunning south coast of Wellington. Views to the sea, with a sheltered sunny courtyard, six rotating craft beer taps, botanical cocktails, local & organic wines. 

  • CCL Supreme Menu Suggestion: The pancakes!! And if the image below isn’t enough to convince you to dive into this terrifically good tower, maybe knowing that these are 241 on Tuesday’s will?

Check out their menu here. 

World-Famous Burgs at Ferg’s

Ah, Queenstown. What else can I say apart from it’s one of the most beautiful, serene places I’ve ever visited – not just in New Zealand, but in the world. Not only is Queenstown a hub for all adventure sport fanatics alike, but it’s the perfect place to come to relax, take in the beautiful views – and to eat. Of course, Queenstown has its famous cookie time shop, an abundance of awesome bars, and some super special waterfront eateries, but there is one place that springs to everybody’s mind when you mention food and Queenstown in the same sentence – and that’s Ferg Burger.

Just around the corner of the beautiful waterfront sits what I like to call, the Ferg establishment – a building that’s broken into three incredible food places; Ferg Bakery, Ferg Bar, and of course, Ferg Burger. Ferg Burger is famous world-wide for its gigantic burgers and generous servings of chips, so it’s no surprise that you can either smell the scent of food or see the line of hungry punters before you see the burger bar itself. On a normal day, you could be waiting up to an hour for one of these burgers, but luckily due to Covid-19 (the only time I think I’ll say that), Queenstown was stripped of its international tourists, so us locals could get our mitts around one of these bad boys in about 10 minutes flat.

Honestly, it took less time to get our burgers than to look at the whole menu. I don’t know what kind of magic they’re making here at Ferg’s, but they somehow manage to serve up about 15 different kinds of burgers without making a single one taste anything less than amazing. Since I’m on that vegetable grind at the moment, I went for their Holier than Thou – a deep fried tempura tofu patty with a spicy satay, coconut and coriander sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion & aioli – and oh my god. Satay and tofu are one of my all-time favourite combos, so I already knew I was going to like it, but heck I didn’t think I was going to scarf-it-down-in-5-minutes-flat like it. I literally couldn’t stop eating it because the flavours were so god damn addictive, and even writing about it now has me salivating. I managed to steal a cheeky bite of my boyfriends Bun Laden burger, which was a sensational combo of; falafel, lemon and chipotle yoghurt sauce, salad, avocado and aioli, and this was also a bloody knockout burger but with a fresher and lighter flavour combo. Oh, and how could I forget their chips?! They’ve even managed to make a humble chip something worthy of an award – they’re the perfect thickness, have the perfect crisp, have their skins on for that extra hit of nutrients, and come with some of the best tasting dips I’ve ever had.

So, all in all, the hype that you hear about New Zealand’s most famous burger bar is one that is definitely not overrated. Every single element of this place has been perfected to provide customers with a fantastic dining experience that you simply could not replicate anywhere else; the service, the atmosphere, the food, and the stunning views you can soak up whilst chowing down your champion sized burger. If you ever find yourself wandering around Queenstown with a rumble in your stomach, I beg you to go to Ferg Burger and see for yourself why this little burger bar has captured the hearts of customers far and wide.

So, all in all, the hype that you hear about New Zealand’s most famous burger bar is one that is definitely not overrated. Every single element of this place has been perfected to provide customers with a fantastic dining experience that you simply could not replicate anywhere else; the service, the atmosphere, the food, and the stunning views you can soak up whilst chowing down your champion sized burger. If you ever find yourself wandering around Queenstown with a rumble in your stomach, I beg you to go to Ferg Burger and see for yourself why this little burger bar has captured the hearts of customers far and wide.

Check out the amazing Ferg Burger menu here.

Wellington’s Best Breakfast Granola Bowls

Whenever people ask me what my favourite meal of the day is – they’re always a little taken aback when I confidently reply breakfast. Sure, dinner is great, but how good is a greasy bacon Eggs Benedict, or a sky-high stack of buttermilk pancakes – or the big English breakfast featuring all of your fried friends. All these options are terrific – especially to a breakfast lover like me – but there is one dish that, in my opinion, ranks above them all – and that is the humble granola.

Why you ask? Well, the beauty of granola, is it can be anything it wants to be. It can be chocolate-y, it can be nutty, it can be fruity, and it can be served with other tasty ingredients like yoghurt, milk, honey, stewed fruit – the list is endless. So, now you know why it’s such a crowd-pleaser, I’m here to shine some light on the cafes in Wellington that are acing this simple but delicious dish.

1. Comes and Goes.

If you’ve had the granola from here before, I’m hoping you’re reading this and nodding your head in agreement when I say that the granola from Comes and Goes has to come number 1. Not only did this beautiful breakfast bowl have the most gorgeous nutty granola I’ve ever tasted – it was topped with a vanilla panna cotta that Mary Berry would’ve been proud of. Along with the tangy berry compote, bittersweet cacao powder and colourful combination of fresh fruit – this granola bowl isn’t just the top of the list for granola, its hand-down got to be the best brunch I’ve tasted to date, ever.

2. Coenes

If you love sweets, chocolate and caramel – you’re going to love this daytime delight. I brunched at Coenes for the first time a few weeks ago, and of course to do a little more research for you guys for this write-up, I simply had to order their granola (although their eggs bene did look divine). Well. All thoughts of food envy & ordering-anxiety left my brain once that stunning plate of granola was place in front of me. Underneath the caramelized granola sat a layer of tart berry yoghurt, which offset the rich flavours of the extra cacao, caramel sauce, butterscotch sauce, and whipped coconut cream. This bowl was a mix between breakfast and an indulgent after-dinner dessert – and I was totally there for it. 

3. The Oatery

Going to a café to get your granola fix is good and all – but what if you want the goodness of granola outside? Well, that’s where the gals at The Oatery have your back – as their fresh, fruit and wholesome granola and porridge bowls come in at third on my list. I had my first Oatery Granola Bowl after a 10km run – and I tell you, it was exactly what I needed to refuel. Every bite of the lusciously fatty Fix & Fogg peanut butter, mixed with tart berry coulis, rich bananas, and nutty granola was to die for – and even though this bowl was massive, I reached the bottom in no time because I couldn’t stop myself digging in for more.

4. Goldmine

Now this one here was a dark horse I never imagined would make my top 5 – but here it is, the granola bowl from Goldmine. I came to this place expecting a nice brunch, nothing out of the ordinary – but instead I was surprised with a bowl of granola that had everything I loved going for it. Crunchy, candied, nutty granola pieces? Check. Soft and sweet poached fruit? Check. Two dairy options (or non-dairy in my case) to make the granola as soft or crunchy you want? Check. Even though this bowl didn’t push the flavour boundaries like the previous two, it executed every single element that a granola bowl should consist of perfectly – which is why it has come number 3 on my list.

5. Beach Babylon

Last – but definitely not least – is the granola bowls from our Oriental bay-side friends, Beach Babylon. Their granola is in fact so good, that they released their recipe to the public after an overload of requests. Of course, no matter how hard we try – our homemade version will never be as good as their beautiful bowl of nutty, oaty, buckwheat bliss. And did I mention it’s all vegan? Oh yeah. They go the extra mile here – serving it up with some good old coconut yoghurt, berry puree & fresh seasonal fruit (with a dash of your favourite milk substitute on the side) – which means everybody can go ahead and enjoy what they’ve got to offer!

Getting Cultured at Burger Culture

When you hear somebody mention Nelson, you generally think of long golden beaches, beautiful sunny weather, and marvellous mountain walks – but you don’t really think of its food do you? Well, think again, because of the past few years Nelson has been carefully crafting its hospitality scene so it can compete with the likes of Auckland and Wellington for being known for New Zealand’s best bars, cafes and restaurants.

Within the last 3 years, old restaurants have been given a lick of new paint and devised menus inspired from Michelin eateries around the world – but it’s the new places that are really something else. From American style food to vegan takes on everybody’s favourite dish – Nelson’s food scenes got everything going on. But I think the whole city can agree with me when I say the best place that’s graced the streets on Nelson is Burger Culture. Now, this place ain’t any old burger shop. Oh no. Think of the best burger you’ve had in your life, then think about a chicken version of it, or a lamb, or fish, or chickpea or jackfruit…basically, what I’m trying to say here, is that these guys know no burger boundaries. Every single burger they’ve got on their menu has been carefully crafted with local ingredients that when combined together creates nothing less than the perfect burger.

When it comes to burgers, I like them bougie. I’m not gonna go around spending good money on something I can cook up at home – I want to be eating a bun-hugging combo of flavours that I’d never even think of putting together. That, my friends, is the only negative about Burger Culture. That being they have too many god-damn delectable burgers on their menu that it makes it impossible to choose. As a vegetarian you might think it’s easier because there are only a few veggie burgers – but think again, as these guys have your beef-cravings covered with beyond patty substitutes. So, when 4 of us were trying to place an order – you bet it took a good 15 minutes before we were happy with our choices (though food envy was still on the horizon).

I ended up going for their tofu-fighters burger, a sky-high stack of deep-fried tofu, cucumber slaw, roasted peanuts and chilli soy sauce. To say this burger was delicious would do it injustice. Honestly, this burger alone would convert the meatiest of carnivores to a plant-based diet. The tofu was PACKED with flavour, and that crisp gave it the perfect texture to harmonise with the juicy fresh slaw & sticky sweet sauce. I love satay – and those roasted peanuts gave the flavour profile a pop of nuttiness that just took every mouthful to another level of pure burger heaven. I also had a bite of their jalapenō beef burger (with a beyond patty of course) and heck it had me guessing whether I was eating real beef or not – and once my patty-awe had faded, I was now in awe of the Mexican flavours that were dancing a salsa on my tongue.

Phew, that was a lot of burger talk. But heck, when you taste burgers that good – all you can do is rave about them. And let’s be honest, it’s probably better that I jabbered on in a blog post rather than pester you all in person about how dang good these burgers are. Living in Wellington, NZ, I’ve been to a lot of burger bars, but I cannot say that any of the places I’ve been to in Wellington have been as good as Burger Culture is in little ol’ Nelson. The chefs here treat the menu like it’s Wellington on a Plate every single day and do their best to serve up locals & travelers Nelson-grown ingredients in interesting and unusual ways – but always between a bun of course!

If I’ve made you hungry, or you’re wanting to drool a little more, check out their menu online here!

4 Ways to Support NZ Food and Hospitality Post-Lockdown

After a solid 5-plus weeks in lockdown, we’re finally lifting the blanket and making the first moves back to normality. For the everyday kiwi, phase 4 meant semi-acceptable day-drinking, embarrassing TikTok’s, and buckets of banana bread. However, for small business owners, these 5 weeks were filled with uncertainty, sleepless nights, and fear. COVID-19 has pushed our country to its limits and tested our capabilities in ways we were unprepared for, however not all effects of this virus have been negative. This virus has proved how strong we stand together as a nation, and how willing we are to act selflessly in support and protection of those who might suffer more from the effects of the virus.

With this in mind, it’s now, more than ever, that we need to keep this communal camaraderie going. Local businesses have been doing their best to stay afloat during the peak of this pandemic, but it’s the aftermath which is going to be their biggest battle. Luckily, if we spend that extra dollar to shop locally, we can help breathe some life back into these affected businesses.

So why am I talking about this on my food blog? Our capital is built on hospitality. In fact, we’ve got the most cafes per capita in the world. That’s a lot of businesses, with a lot of employees, who are all going to feel the impacts of this pandemic. Below is a little list of things you can do to support these businesses who are desperately trying to get back on their feet – and remember – no task is too small, every little helps:

  1. If you can’t be arsed cooking spaghetti for the 11th time in a row or waiting in line for the supermarket, get dinner delivered or by takeout! About every café and restaurant (and potentially, bar) in Wellington are jumping on the take-out bandwagon, which for us means doing our bit and ordering our favourite food and eating it at home in our dressing gowns (such a tax right?). So, jump onto your social media to see if your favourite food places are offering delivery or takeout, and get to ordering!
  2. Buy local ingredients and products. When I say local, I don’t mean just Wellington (although we do have some pretty premium products made in our capital) – I mean the whole of New Zealand. Sure, sometimes buying international is cheaper and seemingly more economical – but spending that extra dollar on some peanut butter is the difference between a local business staying afloat or a multinational corporation just getting richer.
  3. When we can finally get our caffeine fix, source it from Wellington’s smaller independent cafes. I know the pull of a Venti double shot caramel macchiato is strong, but believe me, a flat white made from locally roasted beans is going to taste just as good – if not better. Our capital hails some of the best cafes in New Zealand, so it would be almost rude not to make the most of our brilliant baristas’ skills.x
  4. Quarantine means missing out on your favourite fast food snacks, which I bet you now realise you’ve under-appreciated this whole time. But why not try make your own supreme pizza or original recipe? The great thing about people being deprived of their favourite fried food, is that they’ll go out there and try re-creating it. 5 weeks into quarantine, there’s a recipe for about every fast-food favourite which look and taste damn-near close to the real thing. Not only can you feel the achievement of making your favourite food from scratch, you can also get the family involved for some bonding and learning time in the kitchen – with delicious food being the reward!

So, there you have it, 4 easy ways you can do your part in supporting our awesome local hospo businesses, whilst getting some fantastic food and drink out of it at the same time!

Kia Kaha, stay strong and stand united, New Zealand.