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Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Three Days in Wellington

Three days in Wellington already made me fell in love with it. Upon touching down into the Wellington airport, the small plane window showcased a dramatic scene of plunging shores and crashing waves, white foams gathering around the rocks. Amazing.

The drive to the city centre showed me a city that was a mix of Nordic and Urban. Imaginge getting a holiday house here on the hill overlooking the water… Wellington city is so close to the shore! Even walking to work you can see the water.

Upon recommendation by my colleague, I stayed at Holiday Inn Wellington, which reminded me of Central Equity apartments - modern and adequate but not of the best quality. The furniture is modern but Dare Gallery like. My room service was served without a table as my laptop was on the desk, and the kitchette was too tall for eating from. So I ate on the bed with the tray on my knees… hmm... not the most comfortable. But who cares if you’re on a holiday right. Amenities are basic. But the space is very function, with a fully equipped kitchette with microwave, kettle, toaster and lots of storage space. I do like the bathrooms – clean lines and functional. And that is what the hotel is about - functionality.

I got a tour of the gym and spa after I got back from work, and the long thin lap pool looks fantastic. At the end of the room, there was a large spa enough to fit six people. There were a large steam room and a sauna. However, there the gym area was sparse with only a treadmill, exercise bike, exercise ball and a yoga mat…

Typical hotel breakfast was rather expensive – full breakfast at $29. So I went to have breakfast outside on the last day at
Leuven Belgian Beer Restaurant on the way to work. $6 for a poached egg and bacon on toasted French bread, with a hash brown and half a tomato. With a foamy hot chocolate, the meal came to $9.00. Pretty good.

On the first night, it was beers on Featherton Road at Arcadia, followed by
Zibibbo for dinner. I had the Rotisserie Duck with White Truffle and Honey Glaze, and a few glasses of the divine Ata Ranga Sauvignon Blanc 2004. The Zibibbo Tapas Platter - for Two entree was absolutely fantastic. It’s set out on a lovely wooden tapas board with individual nine ceramic square plates filled with savouries from chorizos and beans in extra olive oil to freshy made foie gras. My colleague, who have moved here from Sydney, told us that there aren’t many restaurants in Wellington and to survive they have to be good. So you can’t really go wrong with any restaurants here in Wellington.

For dessert, two of us ordered Tamarillo Creme Brulee with Berry Sorbet. You think that’s good, our other two colleagues decided to share the Dessert Tapas Platter - Tasting Plate for 2, which had small bowls of all six of the desserts on the menu. Ahhhh, I thought they meant the savoury platter! Why wasn’t I listening? The platter looked great….

After that, we went downstairs for some beers, franchelico and their home-made sangria. Boy did the sangria have a kick to it…. That was my night-cap.

…Walking to our client’s site is like walking on a cliff, the wind was so chilly Thursday morning… From the hotel restaurant window through the chain curtains, while having breakfast, I saw people streaming pass in waterproof and wind proof jackets… no one carried an umbrella… hmm…

Second night I had dinner in, and after receiving good reviews from my colleague about Plate, the restaurant downstairs, I was confident that my dinner would be fantastic. I was not wrong… My wood roasted salmon – succulent, with the right balance of fat and flesh, with a sudden taste of capers and the freshest nicoise salad and salsa verde with brushed potatoes, boiled eggs, extra virgin olive oil. So simple, but so so tasty. It really highlights that if you have great produce, what ever you make will be good... just don’t over complicate things.

I also had mandioca fries, a type of potato, which is chewy, paprika and roasted onion like flavours, no sweetness just texture and flavour. It came with roasted red onion flavoured mayonnaise. Fantastic! Last but not least, a caramel flan with rum and raisin syrup. Can you believe it was cold enough in my room that the syrup was solidifying! I didn’t know how to work the air-con… Facing the harbour, didn’t help. Ah well I worked it out in the end…. And it was time to sleep…

“Can you take me to the International Airport”
“Domestic and International, they are all the same place”
“I see…”

Video from the drive to the Airport

Zibibbo Restaurant and Bar
25 - 29 Taranaki Street
Wellington, North Island, New Zealand
(04) 385 6650

Leuven Belgian Beer Restaurant
135-137 Featherston Street
Wellington, North Island, New Zealand
(04) 499 2939

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