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Wholy Mac

Not your average mac and cheese.
By John Son
October 08, 2019
By John Son
October 08, 2019

Mac and cheese, while being an undeniably wholesome comfort food, doesn't exactly have a reputation for sparking the imagination. That's unless you happen to be stopping by Wholy Mac, Petone's very own mac and cheese bar.

Based in a narrow but cosy space in the heart of popular Jackson Street, Wholy Mac's interior is simple and unobtrusive, a far cry from the food it serves. Glance over the diners' shoulders on your way to the counter to take a peek at what's on offer, before perusing the menu itself: a panoply of curious and out-there combinations.

All of Wholy Mac's mains come with a base of cheddar and mozzarella blend mac and cheese, accompanied by its signature herbed breadcrumbs and a selection of toppings ranging from seafood and fried chicken to bacon and more.

We had a tough time choosing just two from the menu, but eventually settled on the Wholy Cow ($14.90) and Mac X Mex ($14.50). The Wholy Cow is one of the plainer options on offer, with just slow-cooked beef brisket and gravy on top of the mac and cheese. While the brisket was decent enough and the gravy added a rich veneer to the dish, we felt that overall it was a tad bland and lacked any real punch — a bit unfortunate given that the individual components seem to be of reasonable quality.

The Mac X Mex, on the other hand, embodies what Wholy Mac strives to be: solid mac and cheese fused with familiar but fun flavour combos. It's exactly what you're imagining — a nacho-themed mac and cheese dish topped with chilli con carne, sour cream and jalapenos, with a ring of tortilla chips around the sides. The flavours are bold and zesty, with some sharp contrasts between the spicy toppings and the creamy mac and cheese, and it's a meal you can have a bit of fun with — especially with the hot sauces provided on the tables.

Wholy Mac certainly offers something fresh and funky to Lower Hutt's burgeoning foodie scene, with Petone locals now boasting a dedicated mac and cheese bar to call their own. It might not be fine dining, but if you're after a hearty serving of mac and cheese with some twists (and who wouldn't be, on a typical Wellington winter night?), there are few better places to go.

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