Cafe Polo

Food: 4 stars Service: 3.5 stars Ambience: 3.5 stars A suburban café with amazing wine selection and great food Gone were the days when Miramar was a sleepy suburb. 15 years ago, no one would ever make a trip to Miramar as the highlight of their weekend. The shops were tired. The streets were vacant….

Phu Thai Lana

Food:  3 stars Service: 3 stars Ambience: 3 stars Be sure to specify the level of spiciness you want – because they don’t ask! I like planning.  The process of planning and writing things down in my clunky old diary is calming. It puts me in my comfort zone. I like to eliminate the unknown. …

Chorizo Kofta with Chipotle Yoghurt

I went to a ‘Bring-a-Plate’ work function last night.  There were about 40 people in attendance. I did some brainstorming. I wanted to bring something tasty, but also something that is easy for people to pick up and eat while they move around and socialize. Besides, the recipe also had to be quick and easy…

Hippopotamus, Wellington

Food: 5 stars Service: 4 stars Ambience: 4 stars Hippopotamus is my favourite fine dining restaurant in Wellington, but what an odd choice for name.  I wonder where the inspiration came from.  When I think of hippopotamus, Wilbur Smith’s novel, The River God, comes to mind. It is a story of Pharaohs, Queens, the lush…

Salmon Gravlax

Gravlax is a Nordic dish of raw salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill.  It is usually cured in the fridge for 2-3 days and served in thin slices.  Salmon gravlax goes beautifully in salads, on top of thin breads with cream cheese, or by itself with a drizzle of lemon juice and a few…

Mr Ji’s, Petone

Food: 2 stars Service: 3 stars Ambience: 2 stars Where Lemon Chicken doesn’t taste of lemon and Orange Beef doesn’t taste of orange. I am Chinese. I am familiar with the different schools of cuisine. The schools are heavily influenced by the produce and culture of the vast regions across China. For example, northern China has lots of cows and…

Chocolate Caramel Popcorn

Why pay more for things that you can make cheaper and better at home?  I’d say. You might have come across fancy shops in shiny malls that sell flavoured caramel popcorn. They are dead easy to make at home, especially with the tricks that I am going to tell you – trust me, I have made…

Lemon Sour Cream Cake with Poppy Seed

Lemon and poppy seeds are good friends.  It is a classic and popular combination for cakes and muffins.  This recipe came from one of my favourite American bakers – Rose Beranbanm. Her cook book Rose’s Heavenly Cakes won the International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook of the Year for 2010.  What I particularly love about this cake…

Sous Vide Roast Beef

‘Sous What?’ is the usual response I get when I talk to people about this technique that is not used often in home cooking.  My contention is that it should be. Don’t let the scary French words scare you. The pronunciation is ‘sou-veed’.  To sous vide is to cook food in a vacuum bag at…

Khandallah Trading Company, Wellington

Khandallah Trading Company, also known as the KTC, is a popular watering hole in the posh Wellington suburb of Khandallah.   It mainly attracts people from the nearby suburbs of Khandallah, Ngaio, Crofton Downs and Wadestown.  The place is warm with inviting staff, a great place to hang out with mates and the dining area…

Visa Wellington on a Plate 12-28 August 2016

Wellington is reported to be The Coolest Little Capital in the World by Lonely Planet. We are also known to be the Creative Capital, the Film Capital and the Culinary Capital.  We are the Culinary Capital because we have hundreds of dedicated restauranteurs and chefs who put on undeniable pleasures day in and day out….

Ruth Pretty’s Chocolate Cake

I think I first saw this recipe ten years ago in the insert of Saturday’s Dominion Post. It was the featured recipe for Ruth Pretty’s weekly column, which has always been the first thing I read when I flip open the papers with a cup of hot coffee.  Life is just not the same without…