The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

More Auckland vs Wellington malarky

by Joanna on December 6, 2012 in Food & Drink, Internet/Web, Joanna, Wellingtonista

Recently menus.co.nz put up a piece called Auckland is the capital of cuisine – not Wellington, and then asked a number of Wellington food bloggers to respond.

The Auckland internet seems to be very short of space, as our response was edited quite heavily(*) despite sticking to the word limit (and links changed to promote menus.co.nz pages, which I suppose, fair enough, but boo for losing pictures and punchlines), so for the record, here’s our actual response. And then,  as a special treat, we have the full text from TAWA-nominated Hungry & Frozen as well.


Joanna says:

If Auckland want to be the “Capital of Cuisine” then that’s fine. ‘Capital’  is a good title for a city where if you want to go to its best restaurants, you’re giving your money to a casino.  And ‘cuisine’ is such a lofty word that suggests it’s not accessible to the common diner.

Down here in Wellington, at the Portlander, you can pay $46 for the long bone OP rib steak (possibly the best steak you’ll ever eat in your life), but you can also get their delicious burgers (lamb slow-cooked in duck fat, anyone?)  for $10 at lunchtime.  You can dine at Martin Bosley’s by the water and pay a small fortune, but you can also grab a bacon buttie from him personally at the markets while you do your vegetable shopping. Chances are you’ve already bumped into him over a coffee somewhere else anyway. Because that’s how Wellington operates. Our food is delicious, creative and exciting – but it’s also accessible.

When Monterey started making their own syrups for cocktails, they decided to share that concept, and so Six Barrel Soda Co was born. Moore Wilsons has long championed the concept of being able to buy top of the range produce to cook for yourself at home.  Auckland can give itself whatever titles it likes – we’ll be down here eating while they’re talking.


Laura says:

My first thought was “well, what does it matter where is supposedly better?”

I guess it goes to show how much I love this city I live in because my follow-up thought was “but Wellington just is, okay? Case closed!” So there’s my argument. Kidding. I’ll try elaborating.

I’m the first to acknowledge Auckland is exciting. But what might be seen as a drawback is really something to celebrate about Wellington city: it’s comparatively tiny. You can throw a dart anywhere (please don’t literally do this) and undoubtedly hit somewhere serving up incredible quality food. On Cuba Street alone exists the kind of variety and quality that you might have to drive miles to locate in sprawling Auckland. (Sigh: I missed out on popular Little and Friday when up in central Auckland recently – it was so far away, and by the time I could’ve got myself there, it would’ve been closed.)

We do boutique – Crumpet serving handmade crumpets, Six Barrel Soda serving handmade sodas. We have countless international cuisines, from Americana to Malaysian. Fancypants dining – why, where to begin! Martin Bosley’s. Hummingbird, Matterhorn, Logan Brown, Arbitrageur, Pravda…Don’t even get me started on our amazing coffee. Oh wait: it’s better than anywhere. Moore Wilson provides fascinating ingredients without – importantly – sacrificing supermarket practicality, and the City Market sees the aforementioned Martin Bosley cheerfully making bacon butties for the crowds. All within such a small space. Having never participated, I couldn’t say how Auckland’s version of the hugely successful Wellington on a Plate compares- I’m sure it’d be fun to find out.

To conclude: Auckland is great, but Wellington is the best. Save that money you would’ve spent on petrol while idling in traffic to get from one side of Auckland to the other, and use it on amazing food in Wellington, after the merest of strolls from A (where you are) to B (many incredible cafes, minutes away.) And if there’s anything I learned from watching the Olympics, it’s that winning per capita is totally valid.


For the record, the only editing we’ve done on guest posts (as far as we can remember anyway) besides fixing apostrophes is to remove the phrase “guilty pleasure” because food should never have a moral character attached to it. Unless you’re eating the still-beating heart of a human being in front of their face. Or you ask for a really good piece of steak cooked “medium”. Then you should feel guilty as fuck.

Joanna McLeod

Joanna McLeod has started calling herself the Empress of the Internet because she can. As well as wrangling the other site contributors and Getting Shit Done, she likes to eat, drink and write in equal amounts. Yes, she would love to be invited along to your event in order to do those things. Joanna's also the best person to talk to if you're interested in advertising on the site.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Pete December 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm

These days when I see the hoary old Auck vs Wgtn fake fight dragged out yet again I think “lazy hack looking to create publicity”

Over the years visiting Auckland I’ve really enjoyed the streets filling with more bars and restaurants – around the Vulcan lane area I’ve had some great times and food.
What does this mean for Wellington? Err, not much.
Auckland is good, Wellington is good, Felix is a bit of an arse.

Thanks Joanna for your food columns, Im off to Hummingbird next week with a fellow carnivore to try the lamb

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That John December 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Sorry Joanna, but I just took seven friends to the Portlander for brunch today and we were all really disappointed. The lamb burger was incredibly fatty, and sat on a piece of limp lettuce and three thick slices of cucumber, between a crackingly stale bun.

The vegeburger was equally gross, with grease dripping out of the piece of lettuce.

The onion rings hadn’t been peeled enough, with the outer skin left on so that you couldn’t bite through them.

We won’t be back.

Reply

Joanna December 11, 2012 at 9:02 am

Oh boo, sorry to hear that John. I’ve always thought the Portlander’s bread lets down the whole side (proper review soon) but everyone I know loves their burgers and the onion rings are my favourite.

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