October 7th, 2020 JoAnne

What do I get for lunch today? Dine Welly’s got ya!

Photography by Cafe Neo Café & Eatery: Common In and Taste the Elements

It’s the age old question…. What do I get for lunch today? (Well, it always is at the Visa Wellington On a Plate office.) Dine Wellington (1-11 October) has you covered for this eternal conundrum - grab some work cronies and head out for Festival dishes that are available for lunch. 

Not only will you get to try some of Wellington’s finest lunchtime dishes (at very reasonable prices), you’ll also be supporting local restaurants who have been missing the lunch crowd, which took a dive during lockdown and Levels 2-3. 

You can check out our Dine Wellington map, which shows you what dishes are available in your neck of the woods, or you can take some of our Dine Welly lunchtime suggestions, based on those stereotypical midday go-to’s. 

But take it from us - these are anything but stereotypical!

Photography by Bellbird Eatery: Land and Sea festival dish

Pies 

Sometimes all you want for lunch is a pie. Except these Dine Welly pies don’t fall under the “all I want for lunch is a pie” kind of pies. These are peak pies. 

You can be sure Pickle & Pie will dish up a very decent pie (when “pie” is part of their name!). Its Dine Welly dish, Wellington Pie, is a lamb pie with Kingsmeade Robiola and Zany Zeus cream cheese, accompanied with Shoots NZ microgreens. 

Or try Bellbird Eatery’s Land and Sea, a puff pastry pie of beef, Parkvale mushrooms, Baylands Brewery stout and oysters, with a side of roasted bone marrow and mushy peas. Oysters in a pie? You can’t get more peak pie than that. 

Photography by The Old Quarter: Ho Chi Mama festival dish

Soup 

Soup for lunch - it’s always a bit of a mission bringing it from home. It inevitably ends up leaking throughout your bag. You end up walking down Lambton Quay, trying to feign normalcy as last night’s chicken noodle soup seeps onto the pavement/your clothes/your dignity. 

These Dine Wellington broths are guaranteed not to betray you in such a manner - and what’s more (having bypassed bringing soup to work of late), we can vouch that they’re delicious and comforting lunchtime eats.

The Ramen Shop’s Go-Kai Manpuku combines a traditional Japanese ramen with a slight Kiwi influence, featuring housemade noodles with pork broth and belly, kūmara, carrots, foraged and Japanese greens with a smoked Awatoru Wildfood kahawai dumpling.

Master Kong takes a similar approach, taking a traditional Filipino broth, called sinigang, and gives it a Kiwi twist with foraged native greens. Kohuatia - Boil Up is best shared with another, and features Woody's Free Range Farm horopito-rubbed confit pork belly, okra, kūmara and eggplant with a kawakawa, tamarind and watercress broth.

The Old Quarter’s Ho Chi Mama is a broth garnished with fresh greenery, accompanied by grilled Vietnamese Angus beef wrapped with betel leaf, vermicelli, pickles, peanuts, crispy shallots, Ōtaki herbs and spicy Vietnamese nuoc cham.

Nourishing, light, and leaves your bag dry as a bone. 

Photography by Field & Green: East End Ale Barm Bread festival dish

Platters

Sometimes you need to up the ante from the little bits and pieces you’ve squirreled away in your lunch box. However, we’re all about a good graze, so why not consider a platter, where you simply select from an array of kai at your leisurely pace? 

Cafe Neo’s Common In and Taste the Elements serves two and this pastoral platter has a bit of everything: seafood, veggies and meat, featuring dried mushroom and herb-crusted lamb backstrap with caramelised onion; beetroot-cured salmon with Zany Zeus smoked yoghurt, pickled cucumber and chilli popcorn; fresh oysters and a Bloody Mary shot; grilled vegetables with hazelnut dukkah; smoked Parkvale Mushrooms and housemade sesame crackers and walnut raisin bread.

Field & Green has also got its graze on with East End Ale Barm Bread - think of it as an abstract sandwich! Using Shelly Bay Baker flour and Froth Tech Technologies ale beer yeast in the barm bread, it’s paired with a selection of spreads: beef dripping, cervelle de canut, potted shrimps, chopped herring and Kheema Pav.

Photography by Capitol

Crayfish 

A crayfish for lunch? You’d have to be cray to say no. Pretend it’s anywhere on the timeline between the 1980s and 1990s, and long lunch over one of these babies like the boss can’t track you down (because cell phones weren’t really a thing back then, right??). 

Boulcott Street Bistro has a Kiwi take on French steak frites, with its Crayfish Frites, grilled Yellow Brick Road crayfish with french fries and sauce américaine, and Capitol’s La Cigala con Patatas Bravas, adds a Spanish flavour with a Fish Factory half crayfish with chilli and pimento braised potatoes, lemons and saffron.

Even 1154 Pastaria is getting behind the crayze with it’s very indulgent Mac N’ Steeze, housemade macaroni with an Italo-American four-cheese sauce, BBQ spiced pork belly, rock lobster and a corn chip crumb. Then book an office meeting room for a post-lunch nap! (You’re still in 80s/90s mode, remember?)

Photography by Beach BabylonBootlegger's Bounty festival dish

Something sweet

Dessert for lunch? Why the heck not?! You’re an adult and you can do what you want. Though it’s also school holidays at the moment, and you might want to treat the kids (if they're good).

In saying that, here’s one that definitely needs to wait until they’ve reached 18. Beach Babylon’s Bootlegger’s Bounty is a sweet tableau of Whittaker’s Dark Ghana and spiced rum fondue with Fix & Fogg peanut butter blondie, tropical fruit and coconut lime tuile. 

The kids may prefer Seize’s Donut Kill My Vibe, a housemade kombucha jelly baked donut, with traffic light icing and avocado chocolate mousse. It’s colourful, fun and donuts are a fave with both big kids and small. 

Photography by JoAnne: Set menu at Apachè

Set menus

Don’t forget, Dine Welly also has loads of set menus that are available over the lunching hour. They’re great value for money and a wonderful way of trying a range of culinary delights from one restaurant to another.

Apachè has a three-course fixed menu for $52, which features generous helpings of young green rice encrusted tiger prawns, makrut lime, sweet chilli, tamarind and garlic chips for the first course; its Festival Dish: Barry's Bun Cha with grilled Earthend mānuka honey and lemongrass cured Tucker's Piggery free range pork belly with fried imperial pork and crab rolls, rice noodles, pickled green papaya, hot and sour broth, Vietnamese herbs, candied peanuts, crispy shallots and pork crackling for the second course. 

You then have the option of finishing up on either a dessert of burnt white chocolate, yuzu, matcha, coconut and black sesame shard or Vietnamese drip coffee, free range eggnog, bitter organic cocoa dusts and honey ash cigar. 

Other lunchtime set menus are available at Capitol, Chow, Dockside, Bebemos, Fratelli, Rockyard Restaurant and way more. 

Make an occasion of it, and grab your work crew to try them out! 

Get out and support Wellington’s local restaurants this year with Dine Wellington (1-11 October) - check out the line up of Dine Welly Festival dishes and set menus!