Culinary Change in the Capital - LBQ
The effects of Covid-19 have gone beyond ditching hugs and handshakes, the dutiful 20-second hand washing countdowns and carrying personal supplies of disinfectant.
The global pandemic has made a huge Covid-shaped dent to a plethora of industries. Without doubt, the New Zealand hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit. With no people, no walk-ins and increased safety measures, just the tip of the iceberg, the entire industry has had to navigate unchartered territory, with many suddenly forced to change business models in the blink of an eye to keep the doors open.
Wellington restaurants, cafes and bars have fought back hard throughout lockdown and Levels 2 and 3 to adapt, effectively changing how they connect with customers. It’s due to the local industry’s fortitude, innovation and strength of community that we’ve seen the likes of packaged cocktails (Dragonfly), collaborations (The Pandemic Pack; Lockdown Libations) and distanced deliveries to the long-suffering masses, absolutely over cooking at home (loads of businesses, many of whom had never before had to rely on delivery as part of their services).
We chatted to three Wellington restaurants about what they did to adapt in Levels 2 and 3, whether customers are supporting local, as well as what they’re looking forward to when Visa Wellington On a Plate takes over the capital in October.
First in this series is inner city craft beer pub, Little Beer Quarter.
Stacey Walsh, Owner/Publican - LBQ, Edward Street
Restaurants and eateries really had to adapt their offerings when NZ went down to Alert Levels 2 and 3. Did LBQ offer anything new or do anything different to adapt?
We adapted our food menu for Levels 2 and 3 because we wanted to provide food that really appealed to people, wanting a break from cooking, but also wanting comfort. We kept all our classics, but added a lot of comforting autumn/winter dishes, and desserts that have been big hits for takeaway and in-house. Our Truffled Three Cheese Mac 'n' Cheese (vegan and regular), Mac 'n' Cheeseburger (vegan and regular), Dirty Mac 'n' Cheese, L.B.Quarter Pack, Mash with Gravy, Maiden Multiverse Passionfruit Sour Doughnut Holes, Wooden Spoon Ice Cream Sandwiches and Aro Noir Vegan Brownie with Salted Caramel Sauce are all new additions, that have been really well-received.
How did people respond to your Level 2 and 3 offerings? Did you find people were supporting local? How is it all going now?
Our customers have been awesome, supporting us through click 'n' collect, deliveries at Level 2 and coming in for food with their drinks in the first week of Level 3. They’ve truly adapted with us through the restrictions, changing rules and different ways of doing things. Their support has meant that our kitchen has been pumping at a time where we couldn't sell our bread and butter: craft beer, wine and spirits.
What are you looking forward to the most about Visa Wellington On a Plate being held in October?
We’re really looking forward to a spring Visa Wellington On a Plate with different produce on offer, a different vibe with - hopefully - warmer weather and more people being able to dine outside. The big change for us this year is that Visa Welly On a Plate is separated from Beervana; the two happening in separate months allows us to go all out for each of them and focus on them as two different entities. We are really excited about this and plan to throw two unique food and drink events: one to lead up to the start of Burger Wellington and the other to lead up to Beervana. We plan to have a lot of fun with it this year.
You can find Little Beer Quarter on AT YOURS and have their food delivered to your door.