The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

WOP: Give me shelter

by Robyn on August 16, 2011 in Food & Drink

So, Wellington on a Plate – it’s quite good, yeah? While Joanna is a (deliciously) seasoned pro, this is my first year sampling the culinary delights of the festival of nomz. So I figured I should share my findings. Here are my first two experiences – Martin Bosley’s and Foxglove.

Martin Bosley’s

While Martin Bosley’s has a Wellington on a Plate menu (two courses plus wine for $45), the Boz is also participating in the Burger Wellington competition with a creation is called the Crab Shack Stack. It strangely reminded me of the Krabby Patty burger from SpongeBob SquarePants, which is one of the reasons I chose it.

Now, the restaurant isn’t huge and it didn’t seem full, yet we waited almost an hour for our meals to arrive. Early on we were brought some nice bread rolls with whipped butter and sea salt. Then a bit later we were brought an amuse-bouche of a salmon-based salad and as a way of saying “Soz for the lateness of your mains, guys.” But that stage I was so hungry, the wee salad actually got my stomach into action and made me feel even more hungry.

Finally my Crab Shack Stack arrived. It’s made up of a fish cake, avocado, bacon and tomato, and served on “hand-cut cheesy fries” with “Marty’s bulldog sauce”.

Boz burger

The burger was good, but with the eternal fancy-burger dilemma – hands or cutlery? I should have eaten it with my hands – it would have been so much easier – but as Martin Bosley’s is such a classy joint, I felt obliged to (awkwardly) knife-and-fork it.

I’m not too sure about the inclusion of bacon in the burger. While it was excellent bacon, it just seemed a little overpowering. As Martin Bosley’s is known for excellence in seafood, I’d have prefered the fish cake to have carried the burger on its own.

The fries were good, but it didn’t quite work having the burger served on top of the fries. They ended up getting a little mushed, which made me sad. I like good hearty chips, and these ones were a little too thin to hold much heat.

But Martin Bosley’s is in an amazing location. We had a spectacular view of parts of Wellington unusually covered in snow, and saw the dramatic weather sweep in and out of the harbour.

And as a bonus, we were seated at the special table designed by artist Simon Ogden. Its top is creatived from old linoleum pieces, cut into interlocking shapes, and that was almost enough to take my mind off the wait.



Another harbourside restaurant, Foxglove’s Wellington on a Plate menu (slightly different from the one listed on the festival website) has a choice of three entrees and three mains, each course served with a matched glass of wine, all for $35.

But first, the bread. It was a nice hot sourdough roll, served with an amazing herbed marscapone and a lovely fruity olive oil. By the way – do y’all break your bread roll or do you cut it with a knife? I used to be a cutter (#emo), but now I’m a breaker. Cutting seems to squash the break, and breaking feels all European.

For my entree, I chose the cauliflower and gorgonzola risotto with “tempura celery heart” and “truffle potato foam”. You know how vile and cold the weather has been lately? Well, this was the complete opposite of that. It was lovely and warm and cheesy, and it just made all thoughts of rain, hail and thunder melt away.

The opposite of bad weather

I had a wee taste of one of the other entree options – steak tartare. I’ve always been a little afraid of this (raw mince!), but it was good quality steak, and the foie gras added to its palatability.

And then for my main course, I had grilled groper, served with a clam sauce and a little salad. The fish was perfectly cooked, nice and moist, and wasn’t overshadowed by the accompaniments. It was kind of small, but coupled with the entree, I was left pleasantly full – the right kind of fullness for a lunch. I mean, you want to be able to get some work done in the afternoon.

From the sea

Likewise, the two glasses of wine served were both well matched with the mains*, but weren’t enough to send one into a dozy afternoon slump. Though perhaps that was also warded off by the 70% dark chocolate truffles we finished with.

I was really impressed with Foxglove’s Wellington on a Plate menu. It’s good value and is worth exploring.

* I literally know nothing about wine-matching so this might be a complete lie.

Robyn Gallagher

Robyn used to live in Wellington, but now divides her time between coastal Waikato and wherever. She can be found over at her long-running blog, watching too many music videos, or generally mucking around on the internet.

hungryandfrozen August 17, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Never been to Martin Bosley’s before, but have heard many good things…I know what you mean about the burger hands-or-cutlery dilemma, I have no idea what I’d do at a place so fancy to be honest. Actually to be very honest I have a strange but persistent habit of eating each element of a hamburger separately. I guess I’ll cross that bridge if I come to it.

Foxglove’s menu sounds great, I do love that place (especially because of the cat that hangs round outside)

Ryan August 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Went to Martin Bosley’s for lunch last friday, specifically to have the burger. (disappointment #1)

Got there, and they had run out of the burger so I order the two courses from the menu that my wife was not having, being the Harrington’s air-dried ham with roasted pears and fresh cheese entree and the Spaghetti with Yellow Brick Road clams, chilli and basil main.

The salad was quite tasty even with what was obviously not air dried ham but cooked (disappointment #2).then 20 minutes later I was informed that they and run out of Clams (Disappointment #3) so would Mussels be ok? normally i’d say no but I figured that the meal would be good enough that even with mussels (which I love) it would still be amazing.


Out came 3 over cooked rubbery mussels, 3 day old “fresh” pasta with barely a trace of basil or chilli………. (disappointments 4,5 and 6).

As this was my first time dining at Martin Bosley, for my 5th wedding anniversary, needless to say I wasn’t impressed.

Joanna August 22, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Did you complain, Ryan? I’m really surprised to hear about such a bad performance, although I’ve never actually been to Martin Bosley’s.

(Kiwis are so bad at complaining at the time. I much prefer to go home and write bad reviews instead, but I’m trying to get better to raising the issue at the time)

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