Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lunch at Chow

I told you about our adventure to Matui/Somes Island - but I don't think I mentioned it took two attempts. We knew it was on the agenda for the last few days of our holiday (we got back to Wellington a few days before we started work so had some holiday-at-home things planned), but had figured we'd be able to rock up, hop on the boat, and ride away. I needed to stop into my work (near the ferry departure point) for something, so we figured we walk around to the ferry, check out the timetable, pop away if we had time to kill, and come back as required. Turns out, though, that the ferry doesn't go all that often, and only stops at the island every second time... And we had just missed the ferry going to the island (12pm), so it would have been a two-hour wait for us to get the outgoing ferry, and another two hours on the island before heading across the bay for our lunch in Days Bay. Hmm, lunch at 4pm? Not so much...

I couldn't let the concept of having a nice lunch go, though (I do love eating out!), so proposed we pop in to Chow to make the day less mundane, and we planned (with reference to the timetables, always a good move) our day trip for a couple of days later.

I've eaten at Chow a few times, and love them for a variety of reasons - they have a great fixed menu for lunch - $25 per head for miso, salad, a main and a drink; they can be pretty speedy at service for the workday crowd; and (essentially) the food is delicious. They bill themselves as "fresh Asian" and that sums up the food very well - it has lots of lovely spiced things, distinctly Asian flavour combinations, but sets itself apart from many of our Asian restuarants with the abundance of fresh (in many cases raw) produce appearing in the dishes.

I have had and loved the tofu - well spiced with a lovely chilli dipping sauce, this is the way to convert the tofu-haters in our midst. ;-) So that was a no-brainer. I have been wanting to try the blue cheese and peanut wontons so we ordered those but sadly they're not available at the moment, so we settled for the coconut prawn dumplings. The prawn was nice and juicy and they were pretty good dipped in the lovely chilli soy sauce, but they don't have my devotion the way the tofu does!

I had the prime Angus beef salad, which was awash with coriander and mint - there was a little more mint than I liked but that wasn't too hard to remedy, and the salad was lovely and fresh, and the crunchy spiced peanut topping was spectacular. The beef was tender and rare and all the flavours work together wonderfully. 

Mr Cake had the lettuce cups of Pekin (their spelling) duck, which you roll up in your fingers to eat, which is quite fun. The fatty nature of the meat meant the lettuce was a nice accompaniment, adding a fresh, crunchy aspect. While this was nice it wasn't a favourite - they have so many great combinations, like the beef salad I had, that this probably won't make the shortlist for us again.

It was a great lunch, though - and made even better by the Chow deal - if you're dining between 12pm and 4pm and buy two appetisers, long plates (like our dumplings) or salads, one is free, making our total bill for our lunch $40 - very reasonable for excellent food.

What's your favourite Asian restaurant?

Chow is located at 45 Tory Street, Wellington, ph 04 382 8585,


  1. That all looks delish. We have nothing like that up here (Chinese anyway). Most of it is the usual greasy stuff and premade wontons etc.

  2. I was pretty thrilled to discover the non-greasy nature of Chow - if you're ever in Wellington (or Auckland, there's one there too) you should definitely try it. :-)

  3. I love chow! But usually never think of it when I crave Asian food - my favorite cheap noodle house is satay palace on Cuba near Floriditas (with lime green walls). And my favorite Thai place has to be Ban Mai Thai on Vivian. Chinese I don't often eat out for dinner, but love Dragons and Majestic for yum cha on the weekends.

    Have you discovered Dahra yet? Its a new (ish) contemporary Korean place down on Bond street, went there for dinner last night and thought it was great! Very fresh (like chow).

  4. Thanks Jen - some good tips in there for me! I've heard great things of Satay Kingdom, must make an effort to get there. We loved the food at Phu Thai Esarn, but haven't tried Ban Mai Thai yet. And Dahra will have to go on the list, too!

  5. Chow is fun, I agree. Was wondering about Ban Mai Thai on Vivian so thanks for the headsup Jen. On Dahra, we went last year and while it was nice - the service was great - I just don't think I like Korean food. Fun at the time but I wouldn't go again unless invited by friends or something.

  6. Anne, I often find I forget I don't like something until after the allure of a new restaurant or interesting menu item sucks me in. ;-)


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