I was attracted to Wellington because of the highly acclaimed Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa museum. Which, if you haven't seen, you really must especially if you're a New Zealander. It was mindblowing how advanced the technology they used to make the figures so detailed and lifelike. The emotions on their faces were captured to create a sobering and eye opening experience. I couldn't believe it was free entry; they could charge $20 and it would still be worth it.
Aside from Te Papa, another attraction was the cafes that Instagram tempts me with.
Wellington is known for their arty vibes thanks to the architecture and design schools in the area. I wanted to visit some 'instagrammable' cafes and there was no one better to ask than my architecture and design friends who are well acquainted with the area. To give you an insight into the credibility of these friends of mine; one of them is a potter, one of them wears tortoiseshell glasses to work and the other has a man bun.
I asked for "hipster" and they gave me a looong list of places to check out. For four days, I went through that list and I had so much fun eating and taking photos.
|Most memorable meal at Sweet Mother's Kitchen|
Sweet Mother's Kitchen
The menu at Sweet Mother's is New Orleans/ South American cuisine and the interior decor reminds me of Mexico restaurant in Auckland; full of character, eclectic and intimately cluttered. Everything on the menu sounded divine, don't come here if you're on a diet, this is food for the soul. For chats, for sharing, for messy fingers.
|Dinner at Sweet Mother's Kitchen|
It was so filling we didn't have room for dessert, but look at the pies in the cabinet!
I came back another day to try the beignets, only because this is what Tiana in The Princess and the Frog makes in the film. Beignets are essentially doughnuts covered in icing sugar.
|Beignets + coffee|
A little disappointing though; the beignets were overcooked, they had a hard shell and they weren't as fluffy and light as I imagined.
Regardless, it was a still a highlight and one I'll be recommending to everyone. Sweet Mother's Kitchen tend to be busy, so book if you're in a group!
|Prefab's outdoor seating|
|Hanging lamps and metal chairs make up the industrial decor|
|Coffee bean machine|
I ordered the waffles special that week, which was coconut and caramel with fresh fruits. It was so delicious and I ate it so quickly that I regretted not taking a photo of it.
The cabinet food looked delectable too. Look at those donuts!
Tahi, a Thai-fusion restaurant right next door to Sweet Mother's.
|Chicken cashew stir fry 10/10|
This is Thai fusion with a twist.
It was encased in a crispy noodle basket and inside that, a lettuce cup holding the mouthwatering chicken cashew stir fry. The sauces were a perfect companion and I'd never eaten anything so fast.
Tahi is no cheap eats, but if you're wanting a treat that won't disappoint, try Tahi. Come here on your next date ;)
Mama Brown says "best milkshakes in town". I have to disagree, not that I've tried other milkshakes in Wellington, but it just tasted like any other ordinary milkshake.
No, it was just their weekly special flavor, the other regular flavors are the usual $8.90.
Will try Fidels' shakes next time.
L'affare, where I enjoyed the nicest brunch of avocadoes on toast.
|Avocado, tomatoes, ricotta on wholegrain toast with dukkah.|
In front of Moore Wilson's supermarket is a courtyard with a little smoothie stand.
Husk cafe, located down a little alley off Ghuznee Street.
There is a brewery behind the seating area and the cafe morphs into a bar in the evening.
I didn't know what to expect of Husk, so I was pleasantly surprised at the food and ambience. Will definitely be returning next time!
The next day I met up with a friend for brunch at Olive. They have $10 waffles every Wednesday.
|Tiramisu waffles. $10 at Olive every Wednesday.|
We were so busy talking that I forgot to take photos of the place! I didn't even get to admire the courtyard that it boasts, I completely forgot.
But the waffles tasted as good as they look; berry compote, coffee syrup and mascarpone sprinkled with dark chocolate shavings. A man even asked us what we were eating because it looked "incredible".
They have other specials on different days worth checking out, big breakfast and coffee $22 on Mondays, a three course dinner for $40 on Tuesdays and $12 desserts on Wednesday evenings.
|Maranui cafe, Lyall Bay|
Maranui cafe is in a big weatherboard building, the peeled paint and the wooden furniture adding to the vintage rustic feel. Up the stairs and you'll find yourself in a surf club style diner.
|View of Lyall Bay and the surf club next door|
|Bright colors on a dreary day|
"I hear you do amazing hot chocolates. Am I in the right place?"
I asked the waiter who nodded and grinned before serving this delectable liquid chocolate in a cup.
|Scopa's famous Italian hot chocolate|
If you're a fan of rich, decadent treats, then this is for you. Not to be eaten with anything sweet, just a warning, it is a "full flavored Italian hot chocolate". $4 for a regular size which a lot of other cafes can't get you.
Scopa is on the corner of Cuba and Ghuznee with open glass doors and a sophisticated feel to it. They serve Italian food and aside from the hot chocolates, my guess from looking at the other tables is to try the pizza!
The inside of this restaurant is simple, classic, with wooden partitions to create an impression of privacy between the bench seating. While the gale stormed outside, the three of us sat cosily, catching up on the past year.
menu, it would be the prices. I'm just being honest, this is no cheap eats. The meat dishes come on its own and you have to add on the carbs and salad, which in total would be a staggering $50 meal.
|Pasta tubes, lamb ragu, black cabbage, lemon + parmesan|
I was pleasantly surprised at the combination of perfectly al dente pasta, well flavored ragu with lamb that does not have that strong aftertaste that often puts me off. So tasty, so satisfying, no dessert required.
|Freekeh; salmon, pea sprouts, savoy cabbage, chives, fennel top|
|Organic chicken pie, roasted fennel bulb, tarragon|
Normally a sign outside a restaurant that says "Vegetarian and Vegan" would put me off. What's an asian dish without stir fry beef? But I had spent my last dollar at the secondhand bookstore and there was no other option between here and the airport. Another reason for this visit is because those of you who aren't vegetarian or vegan spoke highly of this place that I was curious enough to try it.
|Vegetarian hokkien mee with bok choy, tofu and mushroom|
Thanks to everyone who gave their suggestions! I had such a great time. Where to next??