It was mixed anticipation I felt when I heard that El Matador was set to open. The idea of the meat-centric Spanish/Argentinian Cuba St eatery sounded terrific, but I felt a small amount of guilt at being unable to take vegetarians there. Luckily, this wasn’t the case, and had I felt like a sweet meal Kate and I would have brunched without ordering any meat at all. Gaucho’s Breakfast might just be my new favourite hangover cure in Wellington. Perfectly cooked eggs with melted smoked cheese, chorizo and the best salsa I’ve had in New Zealand.
Little Penang on Dixon Street has won a place in my heart. It’s my favorite Malaysian restaurant, and I honestly have faith that it always will be. I’m yet to finish a meal there without feeling remorse that I’m too full to try more meals. My favourite dishes so far are Nasi Lemak and Assam Laksa, the former is spicy and rich and the latter has such a strong range of flavours it’s practically an adventure traversing sour, fishy and fruity all at the same time. The owners are also amongst the most friendly restauranteurs I’ve encountered in Wellington. The restaurant doesn’t have much seating, but they do offer takeaway and are open to 7:30pm Monday to Wednesday and 8pm Thursday to Saturday. I’m going to keep going back, as often as possible.
Arthur’s is the mascline counterpoint to Martha’s pantry Wellington’s mainstay for cute, Englishy tea & scones fare. For people who like to fulfill their designated gender roles once in a while, Arthur’s is conveniently located opposite Martha’s. Both are on the corners of Cuba Street & the by-pass.
The vege breakfast is totally respectable and though I thought my pie was very good, it hasn’t yet enticed me to revisit, perhaps on a cold & windy (summer’s) day in Wellington I may feel more for it.
The coffee is great and though the ambiance would be enough, the rest of the menu will have me back for more, the ploughman’s lunch being at the top of my list.
Update: Now that a liquor license is had then I’m sure it will be a great place to chap it up. Thanks Tom!
Words & Photos: Jason Aldous
Photos: Uptown Girl
My new favourite crisp, cool refreshing beverage is not from Wellington but definitely available here (from Glengarry, Regional Wines & Matterhorn among other stockists). Crooked Cider have been appearing at The City Market for the past few weeks and I’ve cheekily tried their cider twice (I was with different people each time!). Their products, both the limited edition and the slightly sweeter perry (pear cider), are both delicious and more comparable to champagne than apple juice. After sharing one bottle with Kate I’m sold on this cider and greatly prefer it to the more common lolly water varieties. I tried their Rum last Sunday too. One word: smooth.
NZFF (Or NZIFF) should be pretty familiar by now. Wellington has had an annual international film festival since about 1972. WOAP is a more recent invention. Wellington On A Plate is only in it’s 3rd year, but it’s grown exponentially and seems to touch on pretty much everything I’d be interested in eating in Wellington. Apart from the set menu deals at participating restaurants, there are also burgers, the bake club, lessons, Beervana… Much more than I can list.
Make sure you check out NZFF.co.nz and Wellingtononaplate.com. And for some film recommendations visit Sounds Like Cinema.
Let’s talk about Monterey Newtown. Sometimes it feels like the internet’s favourite place to eat, but the truth is a lot of people have yet to discover it. Why are my friends and I (and many others) so evangelical about it? Because it’s a fancy yet relaxed neighbourhood diner where you can draw on the tables and drink old fashioned American drinks that taste better than the time you tried them in the States. Because depending on what night you go it’s either filled with rowdy roller derby girls, or is quiet and ambient with beautiful records playing, and absolutely perfect for a hangover. Because the halloumi and onion ring burger (with coriander mayo and homemade bbq sauce) on super soft buns might change your life. Go there now, and order it. And if you eat animals order it with bacon. Or get the savoury french toast. Or the sweet. Or the mushrooms on toast. Or the cheeseburger. Or wait for winter when the A++ mac n cheese is back on the menu. Monterey is my happy place and you want to go to there too.
- Kate McLeod (Lovelorn Unicorn)
The Roxy Cinema has finally opened in Miramar. The pet project for filmmaker Jamie Selkirk has had much input from Miramar businesses and the film community. Beautifully revamped in its original 1930s style, the theatre features two screens and a restaurant. While the first screening won’t be until Thursday, you should get along to visit and dine at the Coco at The Roxy. We brunched there and the scrambled eggs were perfect and the iced coffee the best I’ve had in Wellington. The experience was great, the atmosphere of a beautiful building adding a lot to the visit. These photos don’t do it justice, particularly the ceiling. So make sure you start making plans to visit The Roxy yourself. I look forward to both the first screening and to my first dressed-to-the-nines extravagant night of cocktails there.
Photos & Words: Jason Aldous
More Photos at Something to Shoot For.
If you’re short of reasons to visit Sweet Mother’s Kitchen (unlikely, there are so damn many) there’s one more for the list. Chicken and Waffles is a brunch special at the moment. Yes you read that right, Fried Chicken and Breakfast Waffles. And I’m sorry Gladys Knight, but I think SMK are doing them even better than Atlanta, GA. There’s no indication how long this will last, so get on down during brunch hours (all day weekends and before 11.30 weekdays) to savor this ridiculous goodness.
- Jason Aldous & Kate McLeod (Photos and Words)
The Documentary Edge Festival starts in Wellington on the 10th of March and runs all the way through to the 17th. Over 60 films from 20 different countries screen so there’s bound to be something for everyone. The Documentary Edge Awards were announced on the 24th with ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE, INTO ETERNITY and New Zealand’s own I AM THE RIVER winning multiple awards making them the must-see films of the festival. Spike Lee’s epic follow-up to his Hurricane Katrina documentary WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE (DocEdge 2007) will also screen. IF GOD IS WILLING AND THE CREEK DON’T RISE has Lee return to New Orleans to see how efforts to rebuild the city have progressed.
Other topics explored: Star Wars fan-culture in THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS, Filipino exploitation flicks in MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED!, South American politics in Oliver Stone’s SOUTH OF THE BORDER, sex and gender in IS SHE OR ISN’T HE?, and New Zealand 70s counter-culture in DIRTY BLOODY HIPPIES.
You can find the full schedule on the website and I encourage you to explore as much as possible.
- Greg of Sounds Like Cinema