Dear old Wellington, you greeted me with grey skies and farewelled me with sunshine. Whatever the weather, eating delicious vegan food in this city is easy.
The first stop on my vegan discovery tour was:
Queen Sally’s Diamond Deli, Queens Drive, Lyall Bay
This is a neighbourhood bolt hole and well worth a trip out to the beach (catch the number 3 bus from town).
You’ll be delighted to be there before you’ve even got to the counter. There’s lots to look at.
And when it comes to the food, vegan co-owner Katie Richardson has got you covered.
There are plenty of vegan options … black bean beetroot cakes with basil cream sauce, tofu soba salad, fennel rice salad, hazelnut cupcakes, cookies and a fabulous range of preserves to take away. Cosy up in here. There’s lots to enjoy.
But save some room for after your walk on the beach. Just around the corner on the beachfront is Queen Sally’s older sister:
The Maranui Cafe, Lyall Bay Parade
If you’re staying with friends and family in Wellington, chances are they’ll take you here. If not, take yourself.
Arrive early on the weekend as it’s super popular. Why? The setting is spectacular. It was once the old surf lifesaving building so sits in the middle of Lyall Bay beach.
Building a vegan cooked breakfast out of Maranui’s menu is totally doable.
But for plant-based heaven go straight to the scrambled tofu. Tasty. Generous. You won’t need to eat for the rest of the day!
And like the deli, their counter top is flush with vegan delights.
Let’s head into town.
Feeling the urge to “do lunch” in the city? Head to:
Loretta, 181 Cuba Street
I felt stylie just sitting there. The aesthetic is solidly spacious and minimal. I loved it.
Co owner Mark Weir immediately had me interested in the black barley salad. Originating in Ethiopia, the grain has a nutty taste giving the salad a lovely texture.
My friend had the mixed roasted salad with tahini cream dressing. Our drinks were equally fresh and alluring: rhubarb and rose; strawberry and mint.
I’m not one for desserts but the vegan chocolate raspberry mud cake undid me.
There’s enough on the menu here to satisfy. Loretta is a little more than cafe prices but then … it’s a little more.
What do you do after a great lunch? You go out for dinner!
The Ramen Shop 191 Riddiford Steet, Newtown
This place is low key and casual with a couple of vegan noddle bowls on the menu. And if you need a tofu-rice hit The Ramen Shop do that too – with generous servings of tofu. Unfortunately the tofu buns had dairy in them but the American Pale Ale made up for it!
Thorndon Farmer’s market
Early Saturday mornings are made for vege markets. And whilst the one on Hill Street is teensy it’s got organic produce, nuts, blueberries and vegan cheese. Susan Assadi’s delicious cashew cheese was a happy discovery. Watch out for her label Persian Feast.
Needing a mid morning coffee fix, Google lead me to:
Sweet Release, 142 Willis Street
The great folk in this tiny vegan enclave showered me in sweet and savoury options, fabulously loud music and superb coffee.
“Help yourself to the vegan cookbooks” said Taren “we lend them out.”
Sweet Release felt a bit like home as I leafed through recipes over my coffee and mushroom and tofu pie.
But let’s get shopping. Cuba street must be the funkiest street in the country. Go there and you’re bound to find something that sets you apart from the rest. To keep your energy up head to:
EKIM on the corner of Cuba and Able Smith Street
This is burger central. Relive your grunge days and feel like a student again. The two vegan burgers on the menu are totally worth the trip down memory lane – both have serious slabs of tofu in them. I opted for the one with beetroot relish. But the fries. Oh the fries. Picture spicy, smokey potatoes with homemade tomato sauce. I hear it’s a well kept secret.
Darn I’ll just have to go back.
And if you’re looking for something special to take home. Grab some Fix & Fogg peanut butter from out this window on Eva Street. It’s insanely good. I’ll have the Smoke and Fire … and the Dark Chocolate.
Have I missed anywhere? No problems. Fly me down and I’ll eat, shop, and write up a storm.
Thank you Wellington! It was a blast.
With love and memories of great friendship and great food.
PS Watch this space for the next vegan food quest … (when I’ve recovered!). Sign up to my newsletter and I’ll let you know about my next eating adventure .. with a few yummy recipes in between.