Tag : eateries

eateries: dolci cafe silkream (in tokyo)

One of the things I noticed while visiting Tokyo this year was how soft serve ice cream and crepes had become a trend. I lost count of how many shops I saw offering this dessert, and well, it was most welcome since summer was on its way and the weather was warm and lovely. One afternoon, walking from Shibuya to Harajuku, feeling the need of a quick sweet fix, I stopped at the most adorable cafe ever: Dolci Cafe Silkream.

Opened by four friends who got together and decided to offer a space for relaxation dedicated to women, Silkream specialises in cremia, a premium soft serve vanilla ice cream.

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They also offer meals for lunch and dinner, drinks, and a takeaway only for the ice cream cones, but we decided to order an affogato. For ¥820 (around NZ$10),  the affogato is served with a portion of ice cream, cocoa puffs and a shot of espresso.

 

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Beautifully decorated, the interior was inspired by a cozy country house in northern Italy, with white wooden furniture and lots of flowers. And with excellent customer service, the cafe truly is the perfect place to enjoy dessert with your girl friends. When you sit, the front of house staff brings you a basket so you can put your bag under your seat, without letting it touch the floor. And the toilets are stocked up with toiletries for females, like pads/tampons and scented cleaning wipes.

 

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Located in Shibuya (1F,Haimanten Jinnan Bldg., 1-19-3, Jinnan) and open every day from 11am to 9pm, Silkream was definitely one of the highlights of my holiday in Tokyo. I forgot to take photos of the cafe’s interior, but their website is filled with them. No information in English, but if you can read Japanese the menu is available online.

eateries: chameleon restaurant & zomato meet up

Last Wednesday I was invited to join a group of bloggers for the first Zomato meet up in Wellington at the Chameleon Restaurant, at the Intercontinental Hotel. I got to taste their divine autumn menu, enhanced by the inspired Ata Rangi pairings, each course bursting with fresh, intense flavours. Their menu changes seasonly and talented chef Paul Limacher makes the most out of local ingredients available at different times of the year.

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When I first arrived at the hotel, I got distracted by a display of one of the costumes used by Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf on the Hobbit trilogy. As I was taking a photo on my iPhone, Geoff (director of sales and marketing at the hotel) quickly spotted me and took me over to the bar where all the other bloggers attending the event were enjoying a drink. I got myself a glass of infused lemon and gin, and sat down close to Kahu, Emma and Marie. Jenna, who I’ve met before at the Brunch Club meet up last month, was there too, as well as Tallulah, Rachel and Blaire. Shaun and James were representing Zomato and Helen from Ata Rangi completed the group. After a very stressful day at work, it was great to relax in such good company.

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We then headed to the restaurant and two tables with marked seats waited us. The personalised menu was a sweet touch, and variations to accommodate dietary requirements were noted, so everyone was properly catered for that evening.

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To start the degustation session, amuse bouche of duck on chicory leave.

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The first dish served was avocado tartare with cornichon, roasted saganaki, beetroot chips and coriander juice, paired with a crisp, Dry Riesling 2010. I’d never have thought of combining avocado with pan fried cheese but now it seems so obvious it’s a perfect match, I can’t believe it took me so long to try it!

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The next course was a plate of kingfish gravlax with creme fruit, vodka, cucumber, tomato jelly and watercress, paired with a refreshing Craighall Chardonnay 2013. It was like a delicate kiss straight out of the ocean.

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Then, we had lamb rack and braised neck, with wild thyme honeyed caramelised yoghurt, black garlic, brussels and shitake, paired with an elegant, layered Pinot Noir 2012 and my favourite wine of the evening, a peppery perfumed Syrah 2010. The meat was so tender, coming out of the bone with no effort at all.

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Dessert was an amazing piña colada coconut yoghurt mousse with rum pineapple and coconut sponge, followed by a plate of petit fours to share and coffee. I can’t stop thinking about it and would definitely go back just for another teste of that pineapple!

The menu isn’t actually divided into entrees and mains, and all the seasonal plates are NZ$26. It was an incredible evening and I had a wonderful time: amazing food, exceptional service, and lots of laughs with new friends.

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You can read more about the tasting meet up from Kahurangi at Xox Bubbles and Emma at Muffin Mum.

eateries: loretta (plus brunch club meet up!)

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This past Saturday was a great day of firsts: my first time attending a Brunch Club meet up and also my first visit to Loretta on Cuba St!

When I created my first blog in 2001, one of the things that really stood out to me was how bloggers are such cool people to hang out with. I’ve been blogging on and off ever since and made truly amazing friends along the way who, unfortunately, are far away in Brazil. So when I decided to start a blog in English, I knew I had to find a community of local bloggers to join, share my interests and keep me inspired.

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with Georgina and Auie

 

I had a small taste of a meet up last month, when Katie visited Wellington and some of the bloggers got together at The Library for a chat and desserts. I remember being very nervous that day, but quickly relaxing as we started sharing funny stories and advice on free stock photography. This time it felt a lot easier to strike conversations with so many new faces and discuss business cards, flat mates horror stories, avocados and spam filters. It was a truly fun occasion and I’m looking forward to the next one!

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And what about Loretta? I still remember when that location used to be a French cafe and I had no idea the space was so big, stretching out all the way back. The ambiance was lovely, tastefully decorated and so pleasant. The service was impeccable and the front of house staff looking after our table was friendly, never letting our glasses of water empty for longer than half a minute.

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I ordered a long black and I have to say that my personal way of “testing” the barista’s skills. Most places tend to burn the coffee, it’s a simple drink but easy to get it wrong. Loretta’s long black was spot on! I had with no sugar, simply enjoying the richness of the scent and flavour. Then, I had an orange juice so fresh and tasty I almost ordered another one.

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The menu is varied but not too extensive, which is always a good sign, it shows a kitchen focused on their strengths. And Loretta’s are eggs. I had a croque madame, which is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. Delicious! And I could see consistency around the table, everyone’s eggs looked just as good.

Pip, RhianaJenna and Rochelle have also posted about the brunch.

Check out the other girls’ blogs too: Georgina, Larissa, Tallulah, Bridget, Hannah, Auie and Morgan.

eateries: on the road in the north island part 2

My last post covered some of the restaurants and cafes Ivan and I visited during the first part of our motorcycle adventure, from Wellington all the way up to Cape Reinga, then down to the Waikato. Here’s the second part of our trip, which took place mainly in Hawke’s Bay and the Wairarapa.

  • Day 7:

Flavour of India, Napier

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We stayed at a holiday park nearby and our plan was to eat at the restaurant on site, but that was closed that day. So we headed out in search of a cheap alternative still open and decided to give a chance to this tiny Indian takeaway. My photo doesn’t do it justice: the food amazing! Possibly the best curry I had so far. The onion bhajis were crisp, the shaved almonds and drizzle of yogurt on top of the curry were a delicate touch that made all the difference, the price was good and service was spot on.

Where: 132 Kennedy Rd, Napier, Hawke’s Bay
www.flavourofindia.co.nz

 

  • Day 8:

Bistro Three Eleven, Napier

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You gotta risk it to get the biscuit. Sometimes that biscuit is worth the risk, sometimes it leaves a funny taste in your mouth. This bistro was the latter unfortunately. We shared a plate of king prawns tempura and had fish & chips for mains but the food took so long to be served (and the place wasn’t even full!) that we got our drinks for free.

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At least Ivan enjoyed his beer, a traditional Hawke’s Bay pilsner made by Independent Brewery.

Where: 311 Marine Parade, Napier, Hawke’s Bay

www.bistrothreeeleven.co.nz

 

Lick This, Napier

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Just across the road from the bistro there was Lick This. It was a burning hot summer day and we couldn’t resist tasting their home made gelato.

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Tiramisu gelato: approved!

Where: 290 Marine Parade, Napier, Hawke’s Bay
www.lickthis.co.nz

 

Charlie’s Art Deco Restaurant, Napier

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To wrap up our second and final day in Napier, we had dinner at Charlie’s.

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We both had the set menu: venison steak main and passionfruit cheesecake for dessert. The food was ok, not really remarkable but you could tell there was some effort put into it.

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Where: 80A Emerson St, Napier, Hawke’s Bay
Charlie’s Art Deco on Zomato

 

  • Day 9:

The Coffee Club, Hastings

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We left Napier early that morning on an empty stomach and less than 30 minutes after we hit the road, we stopped for breakfast.

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When Ivan got his iced coffee, I totally regretted ordering a hot chocolate. It was nice, just not as impressive as his.

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You can’t go wrong with poached eggs, bacon, tomatoes and toast.

Where: 110 Omahu Road, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay
www.thecoffeeclub.co.nz

 

Cafe Strada, Masterton

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I love breakfast food and will quite often have it anytime of the day. So for lunch in Masterton I went with french toast, bacon and bananas. Quite yummy!

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Where: 232 Queen Street, Masterton, Wairarapa

www.cafestrada.co.nz

 

  • Day 10:

Lake Ferry Hotel, Lake Ferry

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We didn’t actually stay at the hotel but we ate there twice, first for dinner, then lunch the following day (fish & chips for me, pulled pork sandwich for Ivan both times).

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I guess the main reason we went there so many times and will keep coming back was this breathtaking view of Lake Onoke…

Where: 2 Lake Ferry Rd, Lake Ferry, Wairarapa
www.lakeferryhotel.co.nz

eateries: on the road in the north island part 1

New Zealand isn’t a country famous for its local cuisine but nonetheless offers great food to be enjoyed, from fine dining restaurants to smalls cafes on the side of the road. Travelling over 3,000km around the North Island with my husband allowed me to find some precious gems that might go by unnoticed by many tourists. Since we were on a budget, we tried to mix it up and cook some of our meals or buy cheap takeaways. But we also indulged a little when possible. Here are some of the places we visited during the first part of our journey.

 

  • Day 2:

River Run Cafe, Mokau

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Mokau is a tiny town 90km north of New Plymouth. We stopped at the River Run Cafe for a quick bite on the second day of our trip, on our way to Raglan, in the Waikato. I ordered a savoury muffin and a mixed berries muffin, both delicious. Fresh and made at the cafe, they were a very pleasant surprise and a nice way to start off my day.

Where: 30 North Street, Mokau, New Plymouth
River Run Cafe on Zomato

 

The Shack, Raglan

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Later on that same day, we got lost on our way to Raglan but still arrived in time for a late lunch. Our friend Tanya took us to The Shack, a funky cafe in the heart of the town. I ordered a Sloppy Jose, a spicy pulled pork and beans sandwich full of flavour.

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My friend ordered a salad and Ivan had a burger. We were all really happy with our dishes. Coffee was good, service was very nice, we had a great time there.

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Where: 19 Bow St, Raglan, Waikato
www.theshackraglan.com

 

  • Day 3:

Mormors Cafe, Kaiwaka

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On the third day of our trip, we stopped at Mormors for a snack on our way to Otamure Bay, in Northland. This is the cafe with the creepy doll… There’s a lot to look at but we didn’t stay long. Ivan had a croissant with jam, I had a caramel slice. We ate, used the toilet and left.

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Where: 1954 State Highway 1, Kaiwaka, Northland
Mormors Cafe on Facebook

 

  • Day 4:

The Trainspotter Cafe, Kawakawa

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The Trainspotter was hands down our favourite, we stopped there twice! Not only the food was delicious and moderately priced, there was free wi-fi and many power plugs all over. So, even though the cafe was full and our meals took some time to be prepared, we had no reason to complain because it gave us time to charge our phones and check emails, Facebook, etc.

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Both days we had the Kawakawa Breaky and the eggs were the highlight, superbly cooked.

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The second time we ate there, I needed a sugar fix and shared a regular brownie and a fudge brownie with Ivan.

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Highly recommended!

Where: 39 Gillies Street, Kawakawa, Northland
www.trainspottercafe.co.nz

 

  • Day 5:

Matakana Village Pub, Matakana
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This was our most expensive meal but it was Christmas Eve and we felt like celebrating. Our stay in Matakana was a last minute change of plans but we had a wonderful time there. For entrees, we had sundried tomato and bacon arancinis with smoked paprika mayo. Simply perfect!

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And we also had chimichangas!

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The Matakana “Hand Cranked” Golden Larger, brewed especially for the pub, is a refreshing full malt drop with a clean, crisp finish. I prefer wine, but enjoyed every single drop of my pint with gusto.

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Mains were chicken and mushroom pot pie with roast corn and polenta chips. The best polenta chips I’ve had in New Zealand so far.

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The Christmas spirit was all around and we had a fantastic time!

Where: 11 Matakana Valley Road, Matakana, Auckland
www.matakana.co.nz

 

  • Day 7:

Italian Bakery & Espresso, Tirau

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After two days in Matakana, we headed south to Napier. We stopped in Tirau for a light lunch at this small bakery and had a great meal.

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Nice coffee and the best brownie of our trip! We also heard an American tourist asking the owners if they roasted and ground their coffee themselves, she left so disappointed when got a sound “no” in reply, but we were very satisfied. We even suggested that they should add tiramisu to the menu and call it “Tiraumisu”. 😉

Where: 35 Main Rd, Tirau, Waikato

Update: check out part 2!

eateries: remedy coffee

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During my last trip to Auckland, I decided to only eat at cafes where I had never been before. I usually look up lists like “top places to go for brunch” just so I can have a starting point, but this time I decided to be more spontaneous. Two Saturdays ago, as my husband and I were walking up Queen St, I  simply pointed to Remedy Coffee on the other side of the street and said “why we don’t have breakfast there?”. Luckily, I couldn’t have picked better .

 

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There’s this trend now of hyping up places with difficult access for tourists but one of the things I really liked about Remedy is how central it is, how easy it was to find it and remember how to get there. Located on 1 Wellesley St, just off Queen St, the cafe is within walking distance of many hotels and backpackeers in the CBD.

 

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Filled with stacks of books, comic books and board games, the walls appealed to my nerdiness straight away. But if you’re into more factual reading, there are newspapers available too.

 

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I usually order a long black but that day I felt like having something more sweet. My mocaccino was delicious, the temperature just right, great balance of chocolate and coffee. My husband also enjoyed his espresso. You get $0.50 off if you bring your own cup, save your money and the environment. The staff is friendly and service is good and fast, we had time to enjoy our meal without being late for my appointment and noticing all the details around the walls was a nice way to kill time before our order arrived.

 

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Extra points for the corn kernels in the scone, what a delightful surprise! It goes so well together with bacon. We left planning to come back the next day to try different things from their menu or cabinet, and totally forgot to check if it’d actually be open on Sundays. Business hours are Monday to Friday from 6:30am to 6pm, and on Saturdays from 9am to 2pm. Some other time then, one more reason to return to Auckland.

 

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There’s a monthly prize for best mirror selfie under #remedycoffeenz on Instagram. And the Arcade is on free play!

 

My bill: $17.00 for 2 coffees and 2 scones (06 Dec).

eateries: curbside cafe

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One of my favourite things to do on a Friday night after work is stopping by the Cuba St Night Market and having a taste of Wellington’s great food scene. With so many options, there’s always something new to try and a couple of weeks ago the chosen one was the Curbside Cafe.

The food truck craze hasn’t hit Welly that hard yet and Darcy (Curbside’s converted bedford camper) truly stands outs. Managed by couple Peter and Pene, the menu caught my eye when I spotted a Ron Swanson slider: venison and beef, streaky bacon, beer glazed caramelised onions with a maple syrup hickory bbq sauce. Who would let that pass?

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The demo sliders on display were a really clever touch, seeing live exactly what you’re gonna eat makes ordering so much easier! I also applaud their concise, 6 items menu. Short menus means the place is specialised in what they offer and that’s always a good sign.

 

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Everything was so tasty and packed with flavour! I tried the Ron Swanson, the Reuben and the Pork Belly sliders and recommend all three of them and at 3 for $10 they’re fairly priced. And service was quick which meant we weren’t late to our movie afterwards. I’ll definitely come back some time and try one of their coffees too!

 

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You can check Darcy’s next location on Curbside’s website and fanpage.