Nicolinis – Italian café bar and bistro

Another Welly institution I haven’t been to for years is Nicolinis,  Open since 1997, it’s still going strong. If you remember Bellissimo or Aroma cafe late 80’s, same owner- Raffaele Abbate.  I actually first met Raffaele and his wife when they ran the restaurant in the hotel in Webb St, early 80’s. Now there’s some years for you. Continue reading

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The Old Quarter

The former Malaysian Satay Kajang has reopened as a new Vietnamese restaurant on Dixon Street; The Old Quarter. What another Vietnamese restaurant in Welly you say but clapping your hands of course, and not complaining.  Continue reading

New Kid on the block!

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Dillangers Brasserie and Bar, Midland Park, used to be the horrendous Soho Brown and is now the latest hip bar to hit Wellington’s CBD. It’s already going off with a bang. Same owners as Green Man (which is popular but unfortunately not taken my fancy) but this one has. It’s way more classier and a defo 4.5 star qualmark rating, even without a hotel! As Astoria is always busy, it’s a much needed and a good spot for a business breakfast or coffee meeting, lunch, dinner, drinks or nibbles.  Their French chairs outside are gorgeous. Continue reading

Tasty Tauranga

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My friend recently moved her whanau to Tauranga, so I was keen to try out a few of their local eateries with them. Girlfriend doesn’t drink coffee (I know!), so the pressure was on for her to take me to a good spot. Yes by 11am the absence of my normally one a day indulgence, caused a pounding coffee headache. After descending the Mount, she succeeded with following her clients’ recommendation, and we stopped at the Central Deli in Mount Maunganui. Wow what a goldmine. She definitely exceeded my expectations.

Central Deli’s counters were heavily laden with the most amazing looking salads, frittata muffins,  let alone some really tempting sugar-laden treats,  including GF, vegan and paleo bliss balls and fruit slice. Yah finally a place that’s not afraid to embrace and label a paleo offering. I actually wasn’t that hungry as was still full from our delicious eggs, bacon and paleo toast. I was more focused on getting my coffee fix. However I chose a small Thai chicken salad with a wee pastry-less egg and bacon pie (so cute) and it was fabbo. My latte was divine. The others chose the Thai salmon salad which was lovely but rich and the kiddywinkles had a rich chocolate berry brownie and a cream doughnut. Hubby had a fejoa tea. Yum. I must say my healthy, nutricious lunch lasted me right until dinner.

Next stop, we chose to try the Tay St Beachside cafe. This was humming during the gorgeous winter day for breakfast, lunch and even though we arrived early, the place got very busy. It was a chilly night so we asked to move away from the draughty window and sat nearer the heat pump. The place filled up very quickly and they got really busy.

There was a fantastic selection of red and white wines and our lovely waitress offered my friend a taste of a few whites so she could decide on her glass of choice. Nice touch. I chose a Barossa shiraz and it was lovely. The menu was made up of small tapas (sharing plates) and sharing mains. The pork buns sounded and looked amazing but we kept away from heavy carbs. We chose calamari which was absolutely delicious served with a caper mayo and some bean shoot garnish. This was followed by some curried prawns which were delish also. Our main arrived probably an hour later but we didn’t notice the wait as we were so busy chatting. We weren’t sure if we were going to need sides so we held off. Good decision as our pork rack was of Fred Flinstone proportion. For $34 it was ginormous and came with two huge pork chops stacked high on top of Chinese stirfry cabbage. It was heavenly and I had no qualms with finishing all of mine.

Sweet tooth girlfriend had a fejoa juice and was keen to share a dessert. I caved and encouraged her to try her first creme brulee. She was hesitant as it was espresso flavour, however we were reassured the coffee flavour was mellow. Check. It was heaven and yes tasted more caramel than coffee and was served with a biscotti (of course this was not as good as the ones I used to make!).

Service was fabulous and couldn’t have been more friendly and accommodating. We were told they were just trialling the sharing plates and we both endorsed that they were on to a good thing. Plus we got to use girlfriend’s entertainment card. Bonus.

So my friends, when in Tauranga I cannot highly recommend both of these places. Make sure you fit in a walk up the Mount as the views at the top are spectacular. I can’t wait to go back and check out the Farmers Market. The Taurangians appear to love being outdoors and organic produce is highly sought-after. I easily found some blue duck eggs and coconut butter to take home to Welly. Apparently raw milk vending machines are readily available everywhere too. Go the regions!