Monday, March 24, 2008

Capitol - Wellington

Wellington. My old hometown. Another public holiday, flying visit. I’ll keep it short and sweet – only one new food experience for me this weekend.

There was much talk of “draconian” new labour laws - where employers now have to pay a decent holiday loading and give time off in lieu. What a scandal, up to 20% surcharge in some of the establishments that daned to turn their espresso machine on for Easter Friday and Sunday. Being all for fair pay, I didn’t mind. But anyway. I wasn’t out on the mean streets looking for a meal on those days.

Saturday, the city briefly came out of a sleepy hiatus. I had the opportunity of a quick lunch in the city with my sister after we’d the amusing experience of watching our elderly dad land a 737 in both Heathrow and Singapore. No airline food in the flight simulator though. Time for something new, or at least a change from the predictable fare (yes I had yet another good meal at Chow in Tory Street and a passable lunch at Eva Dixon’s on the way to the airport – though when a menu says “nicoise salad” I’d expect to see some olives and for the tuna to not be optional).

Unlike the last time I attempted to eat there, The Capitol was open. Right next to the movie theatre at the top of Courtney place, this café has stood the test of time. The menu is relatively small and the service is variable. Vegetarians are not very well catered for. My sister managed to rearrange the crepe on offer, removing the pancetta and cheese for a more vegetable based option. The kitchen obliged with no hassle. For me there was only one dish that caught my eye – an artichoke and potato fritter with smoked fish. A trip to New Zealand is incomplete without some kind of fishy morsel, preferably smoked. I didn’t catch the quickly spoken name of the seafood that was on offer that day (oh to have such choice in Melbourne) but it was pleasantly smoky and salty without being over the top. The fritter was more of a well fried, large potato cake with chunks of fish on top. Flavour-wise the closest comparison would be the addictive fish cakes at Ciccolina in St Kilda. I skipped the crème fresh and was not at a loss without it. Maybe something acidic to cut through fat would have been better, preserved lemons perhaps?

The espresso, looked and tasted like a ristretto, a mere half a mouthful of caffeine. It didn’t touch the sides. The soy hot chocolate passed muster, though took some prompting after waiting for 10 minutes in a café that at the time had only 2 tables of patrons.

Verdict: Worth another visit. The menu range was very narrow for non-meat eaters but the staff was friendly. I’d certainly try the fritters again.

10 Kent Tce
Mt Victoria
Region: Wellington

Phone: 04-3842855

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