6 things to order when dining in Wellington
New Zealand's fertile terrain grows some of the world’s freshest produce, making the country famous for top-notch gourmet food and drink, all of which are available in its capital city. Here’s our guide to eating your way through Wellington.
The gravel rivers of the South Island are home to the Chinook Salmon – more commonly known as the king salmon. Chef Chetan Pangam of One80° Restaurant, located in luxury hotel Copthorne Oriental Bay, is known for his signature dish: ORA King Salmon. This dish, best paired with white wines, includes salmon gravalax, miso belly, edible citrus sand, compressed cucumber, salmon caviar, beetroot gel and dill mustard crème fraiche.
It’s not just salmon that New Zealand is famous for. The surrounding chilly oceans of the country’s islands are rich with other types of seafood – like creamy, plump oysters. Wholesale Boot Company (WBC) – so named as it’s housed in an Art-Deco building that was formerly a boot factory – has a spectacular oyster bar featuring one of the largest selections of local seafood available in the city.
Green-lipped mussels are plentiful in New Zealand's waters. This variety comes fairly large, with a distinctive dark brown shell with green edges, and contains all the briny flavours of the ocean. Seafood peddlers The Crab Shack offer Marlborough green-lipped mussels by the scoop (500 grams) and with a choice of three sauces: Horopito tomato, Indian coconut curry, or white wine, chilli and garlic cream.
New Zealand's crisp weather and ample green pastures are home to another major local export: premium beef. The majority of beef in New Zealand is grass-fed, and are internationally renowned for being flavourful and fresh. Portlander, located at the corner of Whitmore and Featherston Streets, offers some of the best cuts of steak in the city. For an unforgettable dining experience, you won't go wrong with the prime rib or rib eye from Hawke's Bay or the sirloin from Canterbury.
Locally raised lamb in New Zealand is greatly lauded around the world for its subtle but succulent flavour and juicy texture. Award-winning fine-dining restaurant Logan Brown cooks up an excellent lamb rack, which is served with kale gratin, lamb shoulder and minted peas. It's a gorgeously prepared dish that both plays up the tenderness and slight gaminess of the meat.
Kiwis are blessed with 10 wine-growing regions such as Marlborough, Hawke's Bay and Martinborough, so naturally food in the country is made to go with the best of the region’s wine offerings. Bistro and wine bar Boulcott Street offers a huge selection of local wines that pair perfectly with Chef Rex Morgan's sophisticated fare. Be sure to try the Nautilus Cuvee Brut NV from Marlborough and 2009 Church Road 'Tom' cabernet sauvignon merlot from Hawke's Bay.
With fruitful soil and seas, rivers and streams teeming with life, New Zealand is a country blessed with an abundance of wonderful produce. Wellington proves to have what is perhaps New Zealand's most vibrant food-and-drink scene – essential for a trip well enjoyed.