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Starting as a pop-up last year, Kisa is now a permanent fixture on Cuba Street, offering mezze plates of delicious smoky flavours.
By Sarah Templeton
June 21, 2022
By Sarah Templeton
June 21, 2022

Another Wellington pop-up turned permanent fixture has put down roots on Cuba Street, this time a Middle-Eastern-inspired restaurant and bar from the owners of Ombra and Mr Go's. Kisa is the new opening on the corner of Cuba and Vivan, serving a variety of mezze and large plates, as well as a stacked drinks menu of drops like Marlborough wines, local craft beers and house-made sodas with a Turkish flare.

Kisa caused a stir in the capital during its first iteration as a pop-up back in 2021, thanks to its variety of dishes and ingredients from the wider Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Israel. Its newly opened brick-and-mortar space has a menu designed once again by executive chef Jonny Taggart who led the original pop-up, with head chef Chris Morgan also joining the team.

But the real star of the show is the huge Josper Mangal charcoal barbecue, as well as a custom gas-fired pita bread oven. Those two kitchen additions result in delicious smoky, charred flavours, especially in the mezze plates like date labneh ($10), tomato ezmesi ($9) and smoked eggplant moutabel ($11). Those all go best with the house pita, only $3.50 a serve.

Diners keen for something heftier might opt for a Shawarma spiced slow-cooked lamb shoulder ($48) or the Imam Bayildi — eggplant stuffed with onion, garlic, tomato, rosewater and kisir ($32). The 90-seat space allows bookings but keeps half of the restaurant free for walk-ins.

Currently, Kisa is open from 4pm on Tuesdays and 12pm-close Wednesday – Sunday, but will eventually be open for lunch and dinner Monday – Friday, as well as serving breakfast on weekends.

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