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photo 1One occu­pa­tion­al haz­ard of a pro­fes­sion­al gour­mand is a diet rich in fat and sug­ar, and accord­ing to my doc­tor the inside of my arter­ies now resembles half-melted raclette, while my liv­er is approach­ing the size and con­sist­ency of foie gras. It was just as well that my next review was Lor­etta, a new res­taur­ant from the Floriditas crew that emphas­ises veget­ables and grains. Such a philo­sophy would nor­mally fill me with con­tempt and trep­id­a­tion, but this time I steeled myself for a meal con­sist­ing mostly of what I would nor­mally con­sider not so much food as some­thing one feeds to food.

We star­ted gently, with a hal­loumi salad. The cheese was per­fectly fried and more­ishly salty, though not as squeaky as I nor­mally expect, and the salad glowed with the jew­el-like col­ours of radic­chio, per­sim­mon and chives. Radic­chio is the Cam­pari of veget­ables, with a bra­cing bit­ter­ness that can be off-put­ting, but in this con­text was a per­fect complement.

Some dishes are fur­ther up the food chain, and as a main we chose half a wood­fire-roas­ted chick­en (tweely referred to on the menu as “½ a chook”). This was served very plainly, but richly seasoned with rose­mary, lem­on and a hint of chilli. We accom­pan­ied this with sautéed Agria pota­toes and a grains dish that mixed red rice and kid­ney beans with quinoa, radic­chio, rhu­barb and feta. This looked more like gran­ola than a salad, and might have tasted like it if the feta hadn’t giv­en it a lift.

We also had to try one of their piz­zas, though you can for­get about masses of pep­p­er­oni and gooey cheese. Most of the offer­ings were veget­ari­an, and though the one we chose had pan­cetta, it was a bit play­er com­pared to sliced Brus­sels sprouts and yet more radic­chio. The menu changes fre­quently to accom­mod­ate sea­son­al pro­duce, and I assume that radic­chio must have been right in sea­son: so many purple leaves covered the pizza that it resembled a trif­fid. A tasty trif­fid, though, since they achieved the fabled alchem­ic feat of mak­ing Brus­sels sprouts not just edible but delicious.

To suit the healthy vibe, the fit-out mixes clean lines with rus­tic touches and more Nor­we­gi­an wood than a Murakami fan club. All wines are avail­able by the glass and half-bottle, and there’s a respect­able selec­tion of craft beers. It all makes for a bright, bust­ling hangout for shiny, healthy people.



Address: 181 Cuba Street, Te Aro

Phone: 04 384 2213

Cost: Salads and grains $16–17.50; mains $19–24

Open: Tue–Fri 11am–10pm, Sat 9am–10pm, Sun 9am–4pm

Food: Eclect­ic café

Drink: Pan­head Port Road Pils­ner $9.50; Domaine La Bastide Viog­ni­er $8.50/glass, $43/bottle[/warning]

[wp-review] [info]

August Café

A com­fort­able, unpre­ten­tious stal­wart of Martinborough’s small café strip, Medici does the basics well, and has been rewar­ded with pop­ular­ity among both loc­als and Wel­ling­ton week­enders. It’s a lively, fam­ily-friendly loc­al, offer­ing Mojo cof­fee and a stack of counter food. The menu con­sists mainly of reli­able stand­bys such as eggs Bene­dict, pan­cake stacks, Caesar salads and club sand­wiches, though with a few spe­ci­al­it­ies like Span­ish eggs and salt and pep­per crispy squid. Inside, it’s cosy on a cold day if you stay away from the doors, and when it’s warm, pat­rons can take advant­age of the court­yard and street-side tables.

Address: 9 Kit­chen­er Street, Martinborough

Phone: 06 306 9965

Open: Mon–Sun 8.30am–4pm, din­ner Thu–Sat from 6.30pm in summer[/info]


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