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16° & CLOUDY ON THURSDAY 22 FEBRUARY IN AUCKLAND
By Georgia Munn
September 20, 2017
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A Guide to Wellington's Food and Drink Scene

Omnivores, look no further for your next holiday destination.
By Georgia Munn
September 20, 2017
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in partnership with

Wellington is heaven for gourmands, combining all the ingredients that make for a brilliant culinary getaway. There are laneways crammed with cool, little artisanal producers; clandestine cocktail bars behind unmarked doorways; quiet suburbs hiding excellent, casual and international restaurants; centre-city breweries in abundance and a pack of wineries just over the hills. And then there's the fact that the city is wedged between a picturesque harbour and sprawling farmland, so the produce scene is very, very local.

Wellington is a physically small city, so it's best explored on foot. This not only helps mitigate some of the effects of a food-filled holiday, but means there's also no stress about arranging transport or planning too far in advance. Just follow your nose and tastebuds.

It's often said that Wellington has more bars and restaurants per capita than New York City. Whether or not there's any truth in this, it'll surely feel like it as you explore the many beaut spots, tasting your way through the city's unique culinary ethos.


SHEPHERD

Tucked away down Hannahs Laneway, Shepherd features framed botanical posters, taxidermy draped with fairy lights and jars of preserves used as decoration. And this unexpected and playful, yet refined decor is mirrored in its food. This is fine dining-quality fare in a wonderfully fun atmosphere where the staff know the origins of every ingredient.

Expect plenty of local seafood, Asian condiments, fermented and pickled ingredients and some of the most creative desserts you'll ever taste. The pumpkin cardamom doughnut with peanut butter popcorn and whiskey anglaise is a favourite, but the menu is seasonal and changes almost daily so expect to find a new favourite each time you stop in.


Facebook / Fix & Fogg.

FIX & FOGG

What started as a hobby for then-lawyers Roman and Andrea Jewell has turned into a bit of a peanut butter empire. Fix & Fogg was born from the couple's desire to learn new skills, and it quickly became one of the most delicious products coming out of Wellington. Swing by Hannahs Laneway, and if the peanut butter flag is out — you'll know it when you see it — then the PB will be flowing. The adorable shop window is literally tucked under a staircase and offers tastings, gourmet toast and the occasional peanut butter donut.


Facebook / Husk.

HUSK

Another spot hidden down an alley, another spot that's the result of a collaboration between Wellington hospo stalwarts — HUSK is a lot of things: a cafe, a bar, a brewery, a coffee roastery and a restaurant.

With true dedication, the coffee and beer venture is open from 8 or 9am till late every day. Swing by for a breakfast of sardines on toast and a Karamu Coffee flat white (with beans roasted onsite), lunch featuring pork shoulder tacos and a pint of Reet Petite, a stem ginger red IPA by Choice Bros (brewed onsite) and for cheeseburger spring rolls and a barrel-aged negroni for dinner.


LAMASON BREW BAR

Wellington runs on strong coffee, and Lamason is where you can try the best of it in a safe environment. You won't be mocked here if you're not really sure what the difference is between V60 and Swiss Gold.

Lamason does do traditional espresso and they do serve a small selection of food, but what you really want to visit for is the specialty coffee. If you're a newbie, don't be afraid to ask the staff what they recommend. Their single origin beans each have their own unique flavour profiles, and they're beautifully profiled by siphon brewing — which is basically vacuum coffee extraction, otherwise known as magic.


Facebook / Harbourside Market.

HARBOURSIDE MARKET

In Wellington, you bend the knee and swear allegiance to one of the weekend produce markets. There are a handful to choose from, but Harbourside Market is the true ruler of this realm.

Every Sunday from sunrise to early arvo, locals and visitors flock to the market to get their week's fruit and veg, as well as bread, cheese, meat, fish, tofu, honey, eggs, peanut butter and so on. The markets also feature a bunch of food trucks and buskers. The roti wraps and cold brew coffee are a perfect cure to a foggy Sunday head, the waterfront vista is stunning and the people watching is excellent.


Maybe you've been to Auckland, maybe you've gone to the snow in Queensland, but now it's time to set your sights on Wellington. The harbourside city may be compact, but that only makes for excellent walkability from its excellent restaurants, cafes and bars to its cultural hot spots and around the great outdoors. Use our planning guide to book your trip, then sort out your Wellington hit list with our food and drink, culture and outdoor guides.

Published on September 20, 2017 by Georgia Munn

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