Quick bites: Hot buns crossed with a twist, Concord getting ready to take off


Sweet Release's custard-filled vegan cross buns will be available until Easter.

provided

Sweet Release’s custard-filled vegan cross buns will be available until Easter.

Welcome to Quick Bites, a weekly column highlighting some of the newest, best and most innovative flavors and spaces in Wellington’s hospitality scene.

Easter Twist to Sweet Release

Sweet Release Bakery owner Kris Bartley said the response to last week’s tweet about their special set of vegan cream filled hot buns was “overwhelming”.

“Everyone wants to go to Wellington for one and we have people asking to book them for Easter,” Bartley says.

Sweet Release became Wellington’s first all-vegan cafe within two years of opening in 2014 and ‘raves’ about a custard twist on their weekly donut flavor inspired a particularly sticky take on the favorite Easter.

Rebecca VanDeCasteele is the manager of the Concord restaurant, which opens Friday in the former Lido cafe.

KEVIN STENT

Rebecca VanDeCasteele is the manager of the Concord restaurant, which opens Friday in the former Lido cafe.

Concord ready to take off

Concord, Shepherd Elliot and Dean Golding’s highly anticipated new restaurant, will open its doors for the first time this week. Restaurant manager Rebecca VanDeCasteele said the new “European bistro”-themed restaurant is hosting a ticketed event on Friday night.

She wouldn’t spill the beans on what diners can expect in the newly decorated premises of the former Lido cafe, just that Elliot and Golding have created a dining experience distinct from their previous venues – such as Shepherd, Puffin and the Intrepid Hotel – while “quality and attention to detail remain the same”.

“It’s going to be an experience you can’t really get in Wellington, if not New Zealand.”

There are only 36 places available, so don’t hesitate to book your table at: https://www.concordrestaurant.co.nz/first-class

MacLean Fraser, Executive Chef of Artisan at the Bolton Hotel, has been named New Zealand's Chief Beef and Lamb Ambassador for 2022-2023.

Provided

MacLean Fraser, Executive Chef of Artisan at the Bolton Hotel, has been named New Zealand’s Chief Beef and Lamb Ambassador for 2022-2023.

MacLean Fraser ticks the moment off the bucket list

MacLean Fraser, executive chef of the Bolton Hotel’s Artisan, said being named New Zealand’s chief ambassador for beef and lamb had been on his to-do list for nearly 18 years.

Outside of the kitchen, Fraser says his love of hunting influenced his respect for the process that led to the product at the heart of his creations.

MacLean Fraser's signature lamb dish was one of his submissions to Beef and Lamb New Zealand, and is still on the menu at Artisan.

Provided / Stuff

MacLean Fraser’s signature lamb dish was one of his submissions to Beef and Lamb New Zealand, and is still on the menu at Artisan.

“With everyone urbanized, I think some people have lost that appreciation that meat comes from a living animal. This beautiful kitchen is so far from the farm, from the paddock to the plate. I try to waste as little possible and to use the whole animal from nose to tail. It’s a question of respect for the animal.”

One of Fraser’s Beef and Lamb New Zealand submissions is still on Artisan’s menu – grilled lamb loin, potato in duck fat, baby carrots three ways (whole cooked in salt, mashed, pickled ), peas (in pods, shoots and foam), with layered potato slices and crispy bacon.

Som and Aranya Putthapipat have sold their restaurant, Nakhon Thai, after 17 years of serving Thai specialties in Hataitai

Provided

Som and Aranya Putthapipat have sold their restaurant, Nakhon Thai, after 17 years of serving Thai specialties in Hataitai

New owners for Nakhon Thai

The Putthapipat family passed the torch to new owners after running their Thai restaurant in the village of Hataitai for 17 years. While Nakhon Thai changed hands on April 3, not much has changed. The restaurant has retained its name and menu, and the husband and wife of the previous owners, Som and Aranya, will continue to work while the new owners settle in.

Som says he and his wife have enjoyed sharing Thai cuisine with Wellington locals and are happy to have run the restaurant as a family – their children also worked there.

“Hataitai is a big community. We are happy and grateful for the support over the years, and hope they will continue to support the new owners.

THING

Construction to reinforce St James’s Theater began in April 2019 and was originally due to be completed in late 2021. (Video originally posted June 2021).

The St James Theater about to reopen?

The signs are positive, St James’s Theater is set to reopen, with an application for a liquor license having been lodged with Wellington City Council. Opened in 1912, the 1,600-seater St James was awarded the yellow sticker in 2015 after a technical assessment found it only met 20-30% of the new building standard. It has been closed since 2018.

If you know of a new cafe, bar or restaurant, or any interesting or innovative happening, email [email protected] with “Quick Bites” in the subject line.

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