For months, speculation has been rife over the new occupants of the space on the corner of Dixon street and Hannah's laneway. After a spell as the infamous Hope Bros, and later a restaurant, its newest incarnation is Eva Beva. With its winning combination of great food, great drinks and a warm, accessible atmosphere, Eva Beva looks like it'll be a fixture for a long while yet.
After a rainy Wednesday of work and other such activities, the warmth and eclectic decor of Eva Beva was the perfect casual, low-key spot to have dinner. Families, working couples, groups out for a few beersies scattered themselves around the place, whether out in the conservatory-like space (made from recycled windows? Very cool), in posses around the bar or in the more ambient main dining space. We said eclectic decor- and we mean it. With interesting tiles, the aforementioned recycled woodwork, a dab of pressed tin, a smattering of neon and a car in the upper back corner (seriously, how very Hard Rock Cafe), there's a load to look at.
When it comes to the food, Eva Beva is firmly within the territory of a gastropub. You'll find the classics such as the scotch fillet steak, hotpots or the burger of the day (daily options also include pasta, fish and soup). Each end of the demographic is decidedly covered—whether you're a meatlover ("meat platter," anyone?) with a bottomless stomach, or someone who would really just rather have a salad or light main. Small plates, salads, lighter options and classic mains are all on the menu, presenting a diverse range of tastes and cuisines—making it a great spot for massive family dinners as well as those nights when you're just not quite sure what you feel like.
Neither my companion nor myself could quite decide what to order (isn't that always the way?)—so we did the tried and tested method of choosing two dishes and splitting them right down the middle. Our first dish, the lamb flank stuffed with spinach, feta and pinenut ($26) was a classic dish done well. The accompanying mushy peas and mint jus brought just a hint of pub, while the perfectly tender meat and elegant flavours of the flank elevated the dish to exactly what I felt like on a wintery night. The second dish was distinctly less "pub" but nonetheless well-executed: a Superfood Salad ($18). The ratio of ingredients—beetroot, baby spinach, slaw, quinoa, seeds, haloumi and falafel tossed in a spicy harissa dressing was excellent, letting every bit of crunch, spice and flavour (hello, Haloumi!) come together into a truly delish dish. A glass of Stoneleigh Rose ($11.50 glass, $45 bottle) and an Eva Bambina cocktail ($16) from the reasonably priced drinks list completed our main course. As is expected from a gastropub, Eva Beva has a great range of wines and beers (craft beers are also on hand for the aficionados) and even serves wine in two sizes of glass, priced accordingly. The desserts are classic fare- warm apple pie, chocolate lava cake and a cracker of a cheeseboard to round out the meal.
Brought to you by the duo behind Hospo Gurus, who also operate such Wellington institutions as Bad Grannies, Vinyl and Ivy Bar, Eva Beva is bound to join your list of classic Saturday night spots- or indeed, any night.