Archive for April, 2012

(EB) Plum on Cuba Street

April 23, 2012

I’ve been to Plum before. They have wonderful desserts. One day I went there with friends for an afternoon drink and snack (we’d been somewhere in town that morning), stayed chatting and found it was dinner time so ordered dinner.
It;s a lovely place with mirrors all along one wall and a good, comfortable atmosphere.My friend, Mona, and I started our level two burlesque class today. I suggested we eat using the Entertainment Book and gave her a few options. She sensibly suggested “anywhere on Cuba” as the dance studio is there. So we went to Plum.

I had the Free Range Corn Fed Chicken Breast Stuffed w Herbed Cream
Cheese On Sautéed Mushroom, Artichoke & Bacon Lardons (full price $25.00) and Mona had the Seared Aoraki Salmon on ratatouille (full price $26.00)
Salmon at Plum on Cuba Street
which melted in the mouth – it was wonderful.

We shared a side order of Gourmet Potatoes Tossed In Salsa Verde ($7)
FOOD1369

The service was good and we had a glass of white wine each before going off to giggle with our new classmates.

Venue: Plum on Cuba Street
Offer: BOGOF (up to value of $35)
Visited: Tuesday, 18th April 2012 at 6pm
Verdict: Fabulous food, nice venue.

EB: Concrete Bar in Cable Car Lane

April 23, 2012

We go to the pub quiz at the Green Man on Monday evenings. We meet others from the Wellington Wonders meetup group and the meetup officially starts at 6.30pm, for the quiz that starts at 7pm. This means eating out (or taking a packed dinner as well as a packed lunch) as it leaves no time to go home first. The food at the Green Man is variable in quality and overpriced so, if we remember, we try to eat somewhere else. It occurred to me that we should have been using the Entertainment Book (EB) for this.This week (16th April) we did. I chose ‘http://www.concretebar.co.nz/ Concrete Bar on Cable car Lane, about halfway between my office and the Green Man. The offer for 2011/2012 is ‘one complimentary main course when another main course of equal or greater value is purchased’ Maximum value $30 (BOGOF).

I took a look at the menu and found that mains were only served at lunchtime, that the evening menu was tapas, so I called them. A very friendly and helpful girl took my call. She explained that on Mondays and Tuesdays we could order from the lunch menu. She took a reservation and said she would tell the chef we would want to order from the lunch menu. The 2012/2013 offer is for 25% off the total bill.

Two of us arrived and were seated by the window where we could look down and see if the third was on his way. We were given menus, cold water and asked if we wanted to order drinks (we didn’t – I try not to drink during the week). Joe and I ordered the rosemary roasted New Zealand lamb cutlets served on a rocket, cucumber and parmesan cheese salad. The cutlets were topped with a mint, pea and parmesan pesto and a balsamic reduction. The full price was $22.50 (so we paid $11.25 each). It was lovely. The salad very fresh and the cutlets so delicious I wanted to eat the bone. The portion was a lunch size, or a dinner size if a side of carbs were added.

Rik had the chicken quesadilla – also delicious was a very tasty filling. His chips were great too. His choice cost $16.50 and we didn’t get a discount ont hat as we’d used it on the more expensive lamb dishes.

FOOD1361

Venue: Concrete Bar on Level 1 of Cable Car Lane (just off Lambton Quay)
Offer: buy one main course get another free
Visited: Monday, 16th April 2012 at 5.30.
Verdict: Great food, good service.

Eating the Entertainment Book

April 22, 2012

Here in New Zealand (and in Australia, too) we have something called the Entertainment Book. The books are sold by organisations to raise cash for charity. They contain hundreds of money-off vouchers (25% off, or buy one get one free are the main ones) for lots of shops and services but mainly for cafes and restaurants. They come out each year in late March or early April and the voucher are valid immediately and expire on 1st June of the following year.
I’ve just bought the 2012/2013 book which means it’s time to use up the vouchers in my 2011/2012 book. I didn’t make enough use of it this past year. I’m going to make better use of the new one. I’m also going to blog about the food I eat and the places in which I eat it.

This coffee walnut cake is from Cafe Mamba up Plimmer Steps off Lambton Quay. It’s a cafe and I met Rik there for lunch one working weekday. Its decor is very basic, the ceiling is concrete and this, coupled with the music that was playing made it very difficult to have a conversation.
They do an all day breakfast and I opted for that rather than one of their pasta dishes which is what I probably should have had. The English breakfast tea was very good – I think they must have used boiling water rather that just very hot which far too many places do these days.
I didn’t feel comfortable getting my camera out to snap my meal but I’m sure you know what an English breakfast looks like. the sausages were a little weird, but many kiwi sausages are. The bacon was good, the eggs (I chose scrambled) were fine but the mushrooms were awful.
The place was very busy so I assume that some of their other dishes must be really good because there is plenty of competition in the area.
I bought some coffee walnut cake to take away. Rik ate his piece that afternoon but I had mine the next day. It was still moist and tasted delicious.

Venue: Cafe Mamba on Plimmer Steps
Offer: 25% off total bill (up to value of $25)
Visited: Wednesday, 11th April 2012 at lunchtime
Verdict: Too noisy to sit in, don’t bother with the big breakfast, the coffee walnut cake is worth buying but take it away.

Sushi from Woodward Street

April 15, 2012

I don’t know a lot about sushi. When I lived in England there were some sushi places in central London but it seemed to me that you had to know about it, to understand what you were getting. Then it spread to the supermarkets and the supermarket versions I tried were, of course, mass-produced and, unsurprisingly, not fabulously fresh or fabulous at all. They were also quite expensive for what you got.

Here in New Zealand almost everyone I know eats sushi. People often have it for lunch or a snack. There is at least one chain of sushi places but also lots of little individual sushi shops. I try to avoid chains. There are so many good individual food places here in Wellington, both food shops and cafes and restaurants to try. I’ve heard good things of, and seen the long queues outside, the sushi place in Woodward Street. Today I bought some there for the first time. I chose ones that didn’t have sauces over the top as I wasn’t sure I’d like them.

I don’t know the names of any of these so please feel free to educate me.

Top row, left to right:
Avocado – a little too ripe and squishy to be perfect.
Gorgeous! Chicken in some kind of sauce with carrot and avocado. Sesame on the outside.
Rice with salmon on top – do they call this type nigiri?
This one was rice all the way through with this strange fried-looking cover over it. between the ‘cover’ and the rice there seemed to be something juicy and slightly sweet. I’m not sure if it was a separate ‘something’ or if it came from the ‘cover’. It was nice though. I’d definitely have this one again. I’d love to know what it’s called.

Bottom row, left to right:
Gorgeous – beef in some kind of sauce with carrot ad cucumber.
I’m not sure if this was prawn, or minced prawn and other stuff in a prawn shape. Tasted good though. with lettuce and carrot.
Another avocado one.

There were no prices on anything but this whole lot came to NZ$4.20. A bargain!

A friend told me that the one near Midland Park is good, too. I’ll try that next