Chow, Wellington, New Zealand

I was in Wellington with several colleagues today and we decided that we’d give Chow on Woodward St a try for lunch – my colleagues had both been there before and said they liked it. They usually have good taste in food, so I believed them.

We got there around half eleven, I think we were the first people in for lunch.

We ordered several dishes to share, from memory

  • Red Duck Curry
  • Teriyaki Squid
  • Beef Satay
  • side of Asian Greens
  • Pork and Shitake Mushroom Dumplings
  • Jasmine rice

Let’s get the good dishes out of the way first. The Beef Satay and Asian Greens were very good. Its a pity we didn’t order more of those dishes as I’d have probably left satisfied if that’s all I’d eaten.

But, unfortunately that’s where the goodness ended.

The Pork and Shitake Mushroom Dumplings had little to no flavor at all and were completely forgettable.

The Red Duck Curry was atrocious. Too sweet and way too much coconut milk! I love my curries but could hardly eat this dish and gave up after one spoonful.

The Teriyaki Squid just had no flavor and was rubbery – we should have tried the Salt and Pepper Squid as it could only have been better.

My colleagues were shocked at how the quality and edibility of the food had fallen since they last ate there.

In all, 3 people who won’t be going back to Chow again.

The Bolton Hotel, Wellington, New Zealand

This was my second stay at The Bolton Hotel in Wellington. In a previous job I’d stayed here for a couple of night right after the hotel opened back in 2004 (I think it was ’04… it was a boozy trip… so the memories have faded!).

The hotel is just off The Terrace in a really convenient location near the Beehive and just a 15 minutes walk to where I was working.

The Bolton is a boutique hotel. There’s probably only 8 or so rooms per floor so it has that small hotel feeling (despite the 142 rooms that the hotel actually has). Even the reception area on the ground floor belies the size of the hotel.

I’d been upgraded to a one bedroom premier suite. King sized bed, separate lounge room and a galley kitchen. Huge bathroom too, as I’d been given a disabled room. Only downside was that I looked into the apartment building next door rather than onto the parkland or downtown Wellington… but since I was at work all day it didn’t really matter that much!

Onto the important stuff:

  • Room was very nicely appointed
  • Bed and pillows were great. I had 2 nights of magnificent sleep (despite the timezone change)
  • Room was very quiet… in fact,  didn’t head anything!
  • Room service dinner was OK, probably 7 out of 10 (see below)
  • Free newspaper
  • Internet was pretty standard, but you had to call reception and get an access code to connect. Every other hotel can do this on line… why can’t the Bolton?

The room service

I was feeling a bit peckish after the flight from Melbourne so decided to try room service. Not much on the menu took my fancy so settled on a Red Beef Curry. Don’t get me wrong, the curry was nice, but you could tell that it’d been stewing away for a while and there were some crusty bits from where it hadn’t been stirred often enough. Should have known something was up when they said they’d be up in 15 minutes with my food… and they were!

The glass of Pinot was nice though.

In all, a nice hotel, but the InterContinental is still my favorite in Wellington.

Shed 5, Wellington, New Zealand

Shed 5 is a pretty decent restaurant at Queens Wharf on the Wellington waterfront. Be warned, this restaurant is on the slightly pricey side, but its well worth the money if you are looking for a great feed.

We each chose our own starter, but decided to share. I ordered Beet tartin with Tarago River chevre, cipollini onion, watercress & fig saba and it was very tasty. The others ordered Pappardelle scallops with red pepper caviar, pea shoots & parsley pesto and West coast whitebait & blond asparagus fritter with smoked chipotle aioli. By all accounts, the starters were good.

For the mains, two of us ordered Merino cross lamb rack with lamb rillettes, kasundi tomato jus, onion rings & mint prelibato flakes, and Black angus sirloin with balsamic & wild mushroom lentils, foie gras parfait, crispy Serrano ham & roasted beet jus. It was a hard choice as there were a number of dishes that appealed.

We again decided that a local pinot noir was the only way to wash down this delicious food.

One thing that struck was just how friendly and helpful the staff were. They bent over backwards to make us feel at home. Well done!

You can find Shed 5’s website here.

InterContinental, Wellington, New Zealand

Had to head off over the pond to Wellington at the southern tip of New Zealand’s north island for a couple of days of work.

Stayed at the InterContinental on Grey Street. This is a great location, adjacent to wharf area that’s been done up as a recreational and dining area. It also a short walk, i.e. minutes, to the main shopping and business areas and probably a 15 minute walk to Cuba Street for food and nightlife.

Didn’t partake of room service on this trip as I was with colleagues so we went out for dinner rather than staying at the hotel.  However, we did have a couple of drinks at the bar in the lobby and also did have a nice dinner at the Arizona Bar and Grill that is adjacent to the hotel and offers TexMex style cooking. A very nice dinner.

When I travel to Wellington again, I will be staying at the InterContinental.

Note to Qantas… why is the flight to Melbourne at 6am on a Saturday morning??? That’s such an uncivilised hour.