Hospo hokey cokey: changes in the city’s food scene

By Sophie Carter

Featured in Capital #84

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Our foodie landscape looks very different than it did six months ago. Sophie Carter has cast her eye over the changing landscape and compiled a list of who’s in, who’s out, and who’s shaken it all about.

Chaat Street

Chaat Street has quickly become the talk of the town. The restaurant offers tapas-style Indian street food by chef Vaibhav Vishen, cocktails, and a “Chaat-it-yourself” takeaway option – take home prepped food and assemble it when you’re ready to eat.

Abandoned Brewery

Abandoned Brewery’s new pop-up taproom in Porirua is the first stage in making the site their permanent home. They have has teamed up with food truck Kid Karaage, so customers can grab some grub to accompany their beer.

Auntie Social Lounge

The new kid in Newtown. Auntie Social Lounge features 70s-style carpet walls, live music, and mulled wine.


Scots Gaelic for ‘flour,’ Flùr opened in May at the top of Cuba Street. The new café serves coffee and clever little pastries you’re unlikely to find anywhere else (it’s not every day you eat a pistachio passionfruit friand).

That Little Cake Shop

In November last year That Little Cake Shop opened its Victoria Street store. Going from strength to strength, baker Alisha Lewis will soon also be serving her cakes and cookies in a second shop at Paraparaumu Beach.

RE Burger

Starting their journey in a
tiny food truck in Dunedin,
RE Burger has now expanded to nine locations, Wellington’s Tory Street being the latest.

Belén Vegan Bakery

After running a delivery
service with their plant-based treats, Belén Vegan Bakery
has opened a store on Lambton Quay. They offer everything
from vegan sausage rolls to carrot-cake croissants.


Chews Lane is now home to New Zealand’s first and only Chartreuse Bar. At Elixir Bar and Restaurant you can enjoy Chartreuse on its own, paired with food (like a negroni tart) or in a custom cocktail.

Karahui Wine Bar and Eatery

There’s always room for more wine in Martinborough. Karahui Wine Bar and Eatery is the latest addition to Memorial Square. They offer tastings from their own tasting room, saving you the wobbly bike ride around
the vineyards.

Graze Wine Bar

Kelburn just got cooler. Graze Wine Bar not only serves wine, but also top-notch food. They aim to have as little environmental impact as possible, sourcing local, ethical ingredients for their dishes.

Black Lion Bakery and Café

In the mood for a fresh loaf of sourdough, a sandwich filled to the brim or a vegan danish? Black Lion Bakery is stocked up with all the good stuff and open on Cuba Street.


When Lido closed, the space received an extensive red and gold make-over, becoming Concord. This is the latest venture of Shepherd Elliot and Sean Golding (best known for Shepherd restaurant and Golding’s Free Dive).


After a series of pop-ups Kisa now has a permanent home at 195 Cuba Street. From their shiny new premises they’ll be serving Middle Eastern inspired cuisine, mezze sharing plates and Martinborough wine.


Welly’s favourite brownie shop has closed its Eva street café after six years. Their sweet treats will be sorely missed.

Vic Books Pipitea

Vic Books Pipitea has announced their shop and café will close at the end of July. A retreat for students and hungry Pipitea residents, the café could no longer sustain the damage from the pandemic and the vaccine protests. Vic Books Kelburn will remain open.

Milk Crate

After its 16 years on Ghuznee Street, in April we said goodbye to Milk Crate. They coped with the pandemic, but in the end it was rising rent that made owner Morgan Allan-West decide it was time to close the café.

Lamason Brew Bar

The sunny Lombard Street coffee shop has become another casualty of covid. After 11 years they have closed. Owner Dave Lamason said he doesn’t think “the book is finished” but “a great chapter of this amazing story has sadly come to a close.”


Lido was a much loved institution for over 30 years. Owner and chef Frank De Roose said the café had been struggling with staff storages because of the pandemic, and with a grandchild on the way he decided to call time.

Tommy Millions

Pizzeria Tommy Millions served its last slice in March. After 10 years in business they decided to “call time” on the final remaining kiosk. Their next-door-neighbours, Lucky Chicken, have now moved into the larger space.

La Belle Waffle

La Belle Waffle’s little window closed in June. We will miss the sweet, warm smell wafting down Manners Street and having a little bit of Belgium on this side of the world.


In December 2020 one of the city’s oldest eateries, Astoria, closed. But after 18 months Astoria is back up in business, and it’s had a makeover.


Grill Meats Beer has had an extreme makeover. The Cuba Street joint, which specialised in IPAs and burgers, underwent a speedy transformation into Liberty Restaurant, a fine dining establishment.


The little hole-in-the-wall bubble tea shop has been shut since last September
for earthquake strengthening. Thankfully it has reopened in its new and much bigger home on
Lombard Street.

Mean Doses X The Brew House

Newtown’s cycleway development means the The Brew House has moved. They’ve joined forces with Mean Doses brewery to make a one-stop-shop. At Mean Doses on Tory Street customers can now both fill up a flagon and pick up all the equipment to brew their own.


Mason has become Margot. Owner Matt Hawkes decided it was time for a break and has headed north for warmer weather and better surf. The new owners took over in August.

Hop Garden to Boneface Tavern

After almost 12 years, in early June The Hop Garden poured their last pint. But as one door closes another opens. Boneface Brewing Company has taken over the 13 Pirie Street location, where they’ll be serving their own beers on tap along with their famous menu.


Crowds stood outside Laundry on its final night at 240 Cuba Street, where it had been for nine years. Due to lease issues they have packed up their vintage lampshades, leopard print curtains and disco balls, and will be moving to new digs.

Le Moulin

In May customers queued outside Le Moulin, hoping to get one last baguette. The bakery took a seven month break in 2021, while co-owner Nita Kivi recovered from heart surgery. They reopened in October 2021, but after 24 years they decided it was time to close up. Thankfully the baker missed baking and the store is now back open on weekends.

OnTrays Scheckter’s Deli

The best Reuben in the city
was cruelly taken away from
us in May this year. Thankfully the OnTrays store lives on, having moved to Johnsonville shopping centre, where you can still find their many European treats.


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