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Friday, September 03, 2010

Wellington pop-up restaurant in Sydney

If you haven't been to Wellington, look out Sydneysiders, because Wellington is coming to you.

The former Bayswater Brasserie site in Kings Cross is set to be transformed into a unique pop-restaurant, WLG (Wellington's airport code) that will be serving up the best of Wellington's restaurant scene. Over thirteen days in September, the temporary restaurant will be hosted by four of Wellington's top chefs:

September 14-15: Jacob Brown, head chef and owner of The Larder
September 16-19: Shaun Clouston, head chef Logan Brown
September 21-23: Tom Hutchison, head chef and owner Capitol
September 24-26: Rex Morgan, head chef Boulcott Street Bistro

On September 20, the pop-up restaurant will be closed for a private function.

wellington on a plate pop-up restaurant menu

What will the event be like?

During our recent trip to Wellington for Wellington on a Plate, Billy, John, Peter and I caught a meal at the pop-restaurant which ran for two nights only in the former Rialto building. The ground floor was converted into a snazzy restaurant, large tables lined with chairs and long benches for communal dining. Wine glasses sparkled amidst a hum of conversation, but it was the entrance of the room that I was most fascinated by, a makeshift open kitchen allowing diners to watch head chef Jacob Brown in quiet action.

Jacob Brown, head chef The Larder, plating up


chill box
Portable chiller box with panna cotta and salmon

Lot 8 spiced olives

red wine glass
Red wine

Sharing platter
[From top]: Fried goats cheese with manuka honey and feijoa chutney;
citrus cured salmon gravlax with New Zealand wasabi panna cotta;
venison carpaccio with horseradish and wild watercress;
and Lot 8 spiced olives with fresh baguette slices

Just like the Sydney version is set to do, we started with a sharing platter that was plated for two. Fried goats cheese was paired with a feijoa chutney, the feijoa fruit still presenting an unfamiliar tart flavour for the Aussies at the table.

A wobble of wasabi panna cotta was an unusual accompaniment to citrus-cured salmon gravlax, creamy with a detectable note of horseradish. Fanned slices of venison carpaccio were tender and not overly gamey, and we relished the plump and firm Lot 8 spiced olives.

Mains option 1: Roasted groper with Marlborough mussels, clams and green pea stew

Diners were given a choice of mains. I went with the roasted groper, perfectly cooked, and served with the biggest shelled clams I'd ever seen. The clams were the size of mussels and a tumble of vivid green peas were bursting with sweetness.

horopito beef
Mains option 2: Horopito seasoned beef
with slow roasted tomato, beans and extra virgin pomme puree

Billy ordered the Horopito seasoned beef, and we swapped dishes halfway through, of course. The doorstop of protein was cooked to a juicy medium rare, seasoned with the native Horopito pepper. A roasted tomato, stack of green beans and dollop of smooth mashed potatoes completed the meat and three veg set-up.

mushroom risotto
Mains option 3: Wairarapa wild mushroom risotto with grana padana

I managed to dig my fork into the Wairarapa wild mushroom risotto too, the toothsome grains cooked with a forest of wild mushrooms that create a satisfying umami flavour. A splay of micro greens and light shavings of grana padana add colour and panache.

coffee brulee
Mojo coffee brulee with Whittaker's chocolate mousse

Dessert is wickedly rich. Wellington has amazing coffee, and we're treated to a brulee made with locally roasted coffee beans by Mojo. The slight bitteress of the coffee is an ideal foil for the toffee top, and the quenelle of intense chocolate mousse has been made with Whittakers chocolate, a New Zealand confectionary company.

coffee brulee
Coffee brulee

Like what you see? Then enter this week's Freebie Friday competition to win two tickets to the upcoming Wellington pop-up restaurant in Sydney.

Diners at the pop-up restaurant in Wellington



One lucky reader will win dinner for two at the Wellington pop-up restaurant WLG in Sydney. Advance tickets are currently sold out so this is an exclusive opportunity for you to win a fabulous Friday night out.

Diners will enjoy three courses of Kiwi cuisine followed by coffee. Matched wines will be available for purchase by the glass.

Many of the products used on the evening will be sourced direct from the Wellington region, including cheeses, oils, coffee, meat, seafood and chocolate. Wines will be from the Martinborough and Marlborough regions. Each night will be headed by a noted Wellingtonian chef, with many of the bar staff and baristas also flown over from Wellington.

Date: Friday 24 September 2010
Time: 8pm sitting
Location: 32 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross

Prize value: AU$58

All you have to do is fulfil the requirements below:
  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell us: What comes into your head when you think about Wellington, New Zealand?
  2. And then send an email to grabyourforkfreebiefriday@yahoo.com.au with the subject heading "WLG" and include your full name and a copy of your published comment from this post.

  3. OR ENTER VIA THE GRAB YOUR FORK FACEBOOK FAN PAGE - Simply leave your answer on the event listing here.
The winning entry will be decided on honesty, creativity or entertainment value. Don't be shy! You gotta be in it to win it! Readers may submit one entry per day as long as each answer is different.

The WLG pop-up restaurant competition closes on Thursday 16 September 2010 at 5.30pm AEST. The winner will be announced on Grab Your Fork on Friday 17 September 2010.

EDIT: This competition has now closed. Congratulations to the winner announced here.
Interested in checking out the WLG pop-up restaurant for yourself?

A limited number of walk-up places have been allocated for each night, Tuesday 14 to Sunday 26 September 2010. These will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Dinner service starts each night at 6pm and costs $29 per person for three courses. More info at Time Out Sydney and the WLG Facebook group.

Congratulations to the following people who have each won a double movie pass to see The Kids Are All Right: Nix, K, J, Nugen, Jasmine1485, Boxsey, Adela M, Olivia, Miss and Monica. Enjoy the movie!

More Grab Your Fork competitions to enter:
(entries close Sunday 5 September 2010)

(entries close Sunday 19 September 2010)

Grab Your Fork dined at the Wellington pop-up restaurant as a guest of Positively Wellington Tourism for Wellington on a Plate.

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Boulcott Street Bistro
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Devour Gala Dinner
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Fidel's Cafe
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Logan Brown
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Matterhorn
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Osteria Del Toro
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Petone Food Tour
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Te Papa Museum
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Wellington Pop-Up Restaurant
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Wellington Pop-Up Restaurant in Sydney

41 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/03/2010 12:50:00 am


  • At 9/03/2010 10:14 am, Anonymous Audz said…

    THE WIND!!! When I visited beginning of this year, noone had told me just how windy it would be. I remember going for a walk at night with my friend towards the pier. When we were trying to cross a 4 lane road, it took forever since the wind kept pushing me back. Standing on the edge of the pier was even scarier as, being a non swimmer, I can close to tipping over many times because of the sudden gust of VERY strong wind.
    Yet, i still won't change that night, we could not stop laughing at how close i came to falling over in public.
    I'm just happy i wore jeans that night!

  • At 9/03/2010 10:46 am, Anonymous chelsea said…

    When I think of Wellington, I think of my sisters and me accidentally making the best alcoholic milkshake concoction at Sweet Mothers Kitchen, and then subsequently fighting over who would get to finish it! Who knew a vanilla shake coupled a rum cocktail with cinnamon would taste so heavenly. combined with the curly fries and a fish po boy, it was the perfect afternoon in the sun.

  • At 9/03/2010 10:47 am, Anonymous Monica said…

    The pure air (probably because of the constant wind that makes you feel alive!), the wonderful and active harbour, the sea with it's shimmering turquoise colour, the relaxed shoppers as they take in the food, art, coffee and chilled atmosphere of the Welly people and the never-ending hills and views of the bays and city. Love Wellington!

  • At 9/03/2010 10:53 am, Blogger heartbreak pie said…

    Am I allowed to enter? I live in Wellington, so I think of home, but my sister lives in Sydney and I'd love to send her along for a taste of my adopted city. When I think of Wellington generally, I think of food. Whenever anyone comes to visit, people ask "what do you have planned" the answer always being "eating and drinking". Simple. Bliss.

  • At 9/03/2010 12:15 pm, Anonymous Sarah said…

    W – Wet, windy and wild
    E – Eating fabulous local food
    L – Library, very cool bar in town
    L – Lord of The Rings stuff everywhere
    I – Interislander ferry over to Marlborough to guzzle and soak in wine heavan
    N – Noir, of the Pinot varietal
    G – Gorgeous rugby playing men
    T – Te Papa museum
    O – Osteria del Toro for fabulous Paellas (OK not very kiwi but so good!)
    N – New Zealanders and their funny accents 

  • At 9/03/2010 4:21 pm, Anonymous seiryra said…

    Te Papa Museum!! Coolest museum I have ever been too. An Extra plus for its Giant Colossal Squid, no where else around the world.

    Another thing, it was also the place I met the guy who will become my future husband.

  • At 9/03/2010 4:37 pm, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    I'm enjoying reading everyone's version of the events from wellington...I look forward to the Sydney one! There certainly were a lot of micro herbs on that yummy risotto...

  • At 9/03/2010 6:11 pm, Blogger Taufulou said…

    with that kind of food to offer along with wine, sure its something very hard to resist. :)

  • At 9/03/2010 8:56 pm, Anonymous Cynthia said…

    Fully booked WLG pop up dinner that I missed out on!

  • At 9/03/2010 9:04 pm, Anonymous Jessica said…

    I would love to dine in Wellington. It is going to be real fun to dine at a pop-up restaurant in Wellington.

  • At 9/03/2010 9:57 pm, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    Damn it I really want to go! When you look at that empty glass of wine at the WLG pop up, please think of me?

  • At 9/04/2010 1:11 pm, Anonymous Hilda said…

    When I think of 'Wellington, New Zealand'? Honestly, if it weren't for Grab Your Fork's recent reviews on a few notable restaurants in Wellington, the first thing that would come to my mind would be, 'Wellington Boots? They are made in NZ?' (Now that answer probably won't win me this WLG Dinner For Two!) So Wellington's food looks fantastic - or is that just another typical reaction from Helen's mouthwatering written reviews and drool-worthy photos? I don't know but Im not wasting my time sitting here wondering. WLG's reservation list for their pop-up restaurant in Sydney has been an absolute sell-out and Im desperate as hell to find out what all the fuss is all about! If Im not lucky, I'll be one of those desperate diners queuing up at the door hoping to score a table for two. I've even decided on what boots Im going to wear!

  • At 9/05/2010 1:07 am, Anonymous Marc W said…

    When I thought of Wellington to enter this competition, my train of thought went like this:

    - Hey! I've been to Wellington!
    - I had a great time there bouldering at Castle Hill and all the sheep stories I heard were true!
    - OMG so many sheep!
    - It was so pretty.
    - Wait, Castle Hill is not in Wellington. It's near Christchurch!
    - I am not even on the correct island!
    - Didn't they film the first Narnia movie at Castle Hill?
    - The bouldering was really good.
    - Soooo hungry.

  • At 9/05/2010 12:40 pm, Blogger dyeo said…

    Thanks for the post and putting up great photos of they food. They are making my mouth water!! hehe Too bad tickets are sold out already :(

  • At 9/07/2010 11:25 am, Anonymous Natasha G said…

    We booked ahead to stay at this old wooden hostel in Wellington and when the owner opened the door and greeted us, I gasped and took a step back. I apologised for my reaction and he said it was OK he's used to it. He told us the story of how he was severley burnt and his face disfigured in a fire at the hostel many years before. Fair enough, but it's a bit scary being served breakfast by someone who looks like a hideous monster! He really freaked me out and I was scared of him. Maybe he should have looked for another type of job....

  • At 9/08/2010 10:30 am, Blogger Lilla said…

    What comes into your head when you think about Wellington, New Zealand?

    Belonging, smiling faces, creativity, long hot summer days, bloody southerly winds, whales in the harbour, beaches, crayfish and paua, fishing boats, the interisland ferry, the arts, but most of all home.

  • At 9/08/2010 11:56 am, Anonymous Hayley said…

    Thinking of Wellington makes me smile :) The funky metropolitan city bursts with culture and contemporary art and cuisine wherever you turn. Driving 15 mins out of the city one discovers the beauty of the rolling hills, the picturesque natural landscapes and fresh, life- affirming air! And to top it all off, the friendly, down-to-earth locals make the experience all the more lovely. I was very lucky to live in this gorgeous city for 6 months, I cant wait to go back :)

  • At 9/08/2010 8:25 pm, Anonymous Rosemary said…

    Logan Brown, Te Papa, hillsides of weatherboard villas, probably in that order! I'm a "Hunger for the Wild" tragic, have re-watched the dvds so often I almost know them by heart, but haven't yet visited WLG or THAT restaurant!

  • At 9/09/2010 11:38 am, Blogger Lilia said…

    It is the cuisine or food of course as I am a foodbloggers stalker. I heard a lots of great Maori and England country style cooking, Kohu Road ice cream, Cuba Street Arts, and famous Te Papa Museum.
    I never been to New Zealand yet, but will definitely put them in my future travelling itinerary.
    As I was living in Wollongong before, I know that other city which could be a sister city of Wollongong is Wellington, a gorgeous city between beach and mountain!

  • At 9/10/2010 4:59 pm, Anonymous Laura said…

    I think of sitting in the back of my parents car for days on end, driving through endless suburbs while they point out every house they have ever lived in. I think I may have missed the highlights! Judging by your food blog, I definitely missed the amazing cuisine and would love to and I'm sure it would change my view of Wellington!

  • At 9/12/2010 12:03 am, Anonymous Andrea U (via Facebook) said…

    I think of wonderful wines, Welly winds and Wingnut Films

  • At 9/12/2010 9:28 am, Anonymous brian said…

    It had been 15 years since I had left a cold, grey, dull Wellington with 2 restaurants and the Monde Marie coffee lounge.
    When I returned they had painted it, renovated it, and filled it with excitement - suddenly I was proud of the little city I grew up in.

  • At 9/12/2010 12:37 pm, Anonymous vivian said…

    30seconds & time starts now *beep*: Lord of the Rings, Forever Young, waterfalls, hot springs, mud baths, manuka honey, piko piko fern, frangipanis, shellfish, mushrooms and sweet potatoes! :)

  • At 9/12/2010 4:37 pm, Anonymous Jason Ko said…

    Blue pristine water, sweet scented aroma, aurora-like sunset, mmm...Sheep's heaven

  • At 9/13/2010 9:34 pm, Blogger anon said…

    Wellington swellington
    Never have i been
    But what comes to mind?
    A picturesque scene

    The capital of New Zealand
    since the year 1865
    Blossomed into a cosmopolitan dream
    And now upbeat and alive

    Green and gold Kiwis,
    Dare i mention their sheep?
    Fish and what they call 'Chups'
    Makes my knees go weak

    Imagine this experience
    In the central of Sydney
    The Martinborough wines
    Giving a treat for my kidney!

    Wellington pop-up,
    I can smell it right now!
    The cheeses, oils, coffee,
    And chocolate, are ready to chow!!

    How tantalizing and fresh
    The savory meats and seafood
    I would love this opportunity
    To dine here dude ;)

  • At 9/14/2010 5:56 pm, Anonymous Charis L (via Facebook) said…

    I think of wellington boots when I heard wellington although I know its not from new zealand, whenI think NZ I think All Blacks, pineapple lumps and smelly hot springs.

  • At 9/14/2010 5:57 pm, Anonymous Cynthia L (via Facebook) said…

    I think of sheep, sheep and more sheep!

  • At 9/14/2010 10:32 pm, Blogger Pochacco_Joey said…

    Paddington Bear and his awesome set of wellington boots come to mind first...and then his round frame which shows he clearly enjoys his food...and then the great food that comes from NZ!

  • At 9/15/2010 7:46 am, Anonymous Anita said…

    Since reading all your posts about the restaurant scene in Wellington, the only thing that pops into my head is FOOD. I would never have considered a trip to Wellington for food but after reading your blog I think a quick flight across the ditch is in order.

  • At 9/16/2010 11:23 am, Anonymous Jessica said…

    The first thing that comes to mind was, I wonder where's this Wellington restaurant in Sydney, then I realise it's an establishment in Sydney, well not permanently anyways. Clearly I've never had any exposure to the idea of pop up restaurants. After reading some more of the post I realise Wellington is a place in New Zealand and automatically my next thought was, I didn't know there's a place in New Zealand called Wellington. It's always great to enrich my knowledge in geography because I was never good at it in school. This has been an excellent multipurpose blog!

  • At 9/16/2010 12:28 pm, Anonymous Victoria Hughes said…

    Wellington - where funky art meets fine food and fresh air meets cosy cafes. The sound of boats clinking on the harbour and spectactular country views stretching for miles. A feast for the senses!

  • At 9/16/2010 12:31 pm, Anonymous Victoria Hughes said…

    Wellington - where funky art meets fine food and fresh air meets cosy cafes. Boats clinking on the harour and stunning country scenes stretching for ever. A feast for the senses!

  • At 9/16/2010 1:22 pm, Anonymous Teresa said…

    Wellington = Coffee. Crazy Wind!! Coffee. Beers on the waterfront. Coffee. Amazing art scene. Coffee. Live music. Coffee. Beautiful restaurants and little cafes with a very distinct quirky personality.

  • At 9/16/2010 1:42 pm, Anonymous jamie dexter harrison said…

    Wellington, ah not quite the scurge of Napoleon, however if he had ever been across the sea to Wellington he would have eaten and drunk like a king, so to surpass any conquorer it beats France and Italy hands up for food destinations around the globe!
    And that's from a well travelled Chef to boot!

  • At 9/16/2010 5:23 pm, Anonymous Natalie D (via Facebook) said…

    I think of the the fabulous girls we met last Melbourne Cup Day at Harbour Kitchen Bar who were from Wellington NZ. We had heaps of fun together and have been friends ever since. Hope we're doing it again this year!!!

  • At 9/16/2010 5:24 pm, Anonymous Giulia F (via Facebook) said…

    I've never been to Wellington but it looks like a very livable city and it's full of cafes! So I think at many lovely lunches in the sun!

  • At 9/16/2010 5:24 pm, Anonymous Denis G (via Facebook) said…

    I think of Peter Jackson's bony legs. The only time I went to Wellington was for the LOT premiere, had a great time and even though it was 12 degrees Jackson was walking around with shorts like it was a Sydney summer.

  • At 9/16/2010 5:25 pm, Anonymous Peter W (via Facebook) said…

    I think of how much the city has changed for the better since I was a starving student, surviving on peanut slabs and getting blown through intersections on my bike. From stewed, drip filter coffee to cafe city - Wellington is now the bejewelled belly button in the centre of New Zealand.

  • At 9/16/2010 5:25 pm, Anonymous Petra A (via Facebook) said…

    The fact that originally coming from Auckland everyone from Wellington likes to call me a JAFA (just another f***ing Aucklander)!

  • At 9/17/2010 12:37 am, Blogger Yuki said…

    When i hear Wellington, i immediately think of beef wellington. IT's bizarre i know, but i guess i'm too into food that that happens. For instance,if someone mentions Paris, i don't picture the Eiffel tower first, but macarons.

  • At 9/17/2010 1:30 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    This competition has now closed. Congratulations to the winner, announced here.


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