Charley Noble Wellington – Delicious Dining in the Capital

If you’re looking to enjoy world-class dining with quality New Zealand produce while you’re in the Land of the Long White Cloud, then you’re in luck. Charley Noble in Wellington has long held a reputation for being one of the best restaurants around and if my dining experience was anything to go by, it certainly holds up to its name.

We chose to sit at the bar for lunch for a bit more of an entertaining experience, watching the chefs expertly prepare the meals. I would absolutely chose to sit there again, I may have even picked up a few new chopping techniques!

We explored the menu and soon called over Justyna to help us choose – everything looked good. She pointed out a few items (some I would never have chosen without her suggestions) and we put together a few complimentary plates.

To start, we ordered the market ceviche, venison carpaccio and the pig’s tail salad. Yes, you read that correctly, the pig’s tail salad! Right there is one of the menu items I would have never chosen without Justyna’s influence. It is not what you would expect, well it wasn’t what I expected! Mandarin provided a perfect burst of sweetness contrasting the texture and taste of the crunchy pig’s tail (almost like crackling) and slightly acidic dressing. I highly recommend giving it a try.

The market fish ceviche was beautiful and light, with a lovely orange flavouring and delicious sweet and spicy candied chillies! The candies chillies were a first for me and I was both surprised and delighted with their flavour and texture – slightly crunchy, still with a nice chilli bite but also sweet from the sugar.

The venison carpaccio was a classic dish, well delivered. Quality, fresh local produce. The meat literally melts in your mouth. Must try.

The Charley Noble somelier, Jordan, was very knowledgeable and personable – my favourite! He perfectly matched my wine (Colere Pinot Gris – Pinot Blanc from Marlborough) with my entrees so that it didn’t clash with the candied chilli in the ceviche. The wine was lovely and oak-y, aged four years. Beautiful pairing to bring out the flavours.

For my main wine pairing I sampled two reds, ultimately going with a Waipara Pinot Noir from Greystone. Jordan said that particular wine is very popular, he can pair it with almost anything.

Again, Justyna was called in to help us chose our mains. We went with the super juicy and flavoursome house made pork sausages with had some wonderfully charred radiccio and pears to accompany them. The meat is sourced from the Wellington region and always free range. We couldn’t go past the risotto with zucchini, pecorino, house pesto and smoked baby tomato. Full of flavours and still quite light. Finally, we chose a side of eggplant, zucchini, parmesan and mozzarella bake, which as you can imagine was cheesy greatness.

On my next trip to Charley Noble I’d like to try their fish of the day. When I visited, snapper was sitting pretty on ice, sustainably caught, in the restaurant within a few hours. Actually, my list to try next time is quite large. There is the fire grilled cauliflower steak (looked amazing), anything from the woodfired rotisserie (dinner only) and their steaks are legendary. Can you see why I had so much trouble choosing what to eat?!

You’d think I would have no room left, but I couldn’t miss out on dessert! To sample some of everything I went with the petit fours. I loved the fluffy marshmallow with raspberry. The yoghurt panna cotta with crunchy ginger snap and caramelised pineapple was absolutely suburb, but the winner for me was the peanut butter and chocolate bar. I washed these down with a Passage Rock late harvest Cabernet from Waiheke. It was silkier than a port but still sweet in flavour, without being overbearing.

Amazing food, knowledgeable staff, lunch with a show, fantastic local wines, I was in a happy place.

Side note – I also wish I had tried the house made pasta. I was daydreaming watching the Chef making the pasta, when a waiter came over and asked me if I was done. I was so mesmerised that I nearly jumped out of my chair! The poor guy got such a surprise. Ha!

Charley Noble Eatery & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

*While this dining experience was complimentary, this review is true and authentic. I will be back at Charley Noble on every trip to Wellington that I have an opportunity. And I’m starting with the pasta!

Best NZ Day Trips: Martinborough Vineyards

Why is it one of the best NZ day trips? Well first of all, there’s wine. Do I really need to keep going?

Okay fine, so there’s also great views, excellent food and a whole heap of fun to be had exploring! If you’re looking for a fun day trip around the lower north island of New Zealand than this should be a high contender.

We hired bikes from Green Jersey Cycle Tours (random name, don’t you think?) and the ten of us jumped on approx 11am. The vineyards are just a few minutes bike ride away and you pass one approx every four minutes or so as you cycle the outskirts of the Martinborough township.

We started at Schubert (an excellent place to start) before heading to Ata Rangi, Tirohana Estate (couldn’t fit us in), Poppies Martinborough, Margrain Vineyard for platters and then back to Poppies for platters. Tastings are approx $5 for five wines and generally if you buy a bottle you don’t pay.

My favourite wines were Schubert and Poppies. Schubert was very professional, lovely wines and great explanation of the varietals. Poppies was bursting with energy, Shayne (winemaker’s husband) provided unique and fun insights into each wine and most importantly the wine was delicious. I enjoyed the Pinot Noir and the Rose as well as most of the others. They had already sold out of a few of the varietals, it’s a popular place! Their platters are infamous so we made our way back there after lunch for a platter and I couldn’t resist the truffle cheese too! I’m a sucker for truffle anything. And a sucker for cheese. And wine… you get the point!

Margrain Vineyard venue was lovely with beautiful grounds. They were busy during the tastings and rushed through. I would suggest going when they’re quiet and doing the five wines tasting.

The bikes Green Jersey Cycle  were so much fun! They’re cute with little baskets at the front to store your goods, and they even had a free wine pick up service! Anddd you could choose which colour bike you’d like. I loved riding around with my friends, it was such a beautiful day too. Plus you don’t have to worry about driving or getting to each vineyard. The locals are obviously used to the bikes and keep a wide berth on the road.

If there’s a large group of you and you have your heart set on a certain winery or somewhere for lunch, I do recommend making a booking. We struggled to find somewhere that could fit the ten of us for lunch and were sure to make some tasting bookings. Otherwise just show up!

Get a group of friends together, hire some bikes (full day is $40), and get to some tastings!


Oakridge Winery Cellar Door & Restaurant, Yarra Valley

Honestly, I expected more. I was really looking forward to this meal.

The cellar door itself is very impressive. The architecture is very modern and on point.

Inside, floor to ceiling windows set the scene. Lolling hills with beautiful vineyards and a stunning skyline. You can get lost in it.

We had a tasting of the reds, I really enjoyed the Shiraz and the Merlot. The Pinot Gris Hazeldine also receives an honorable mention. Matt from the cellar door was exceptionally knowledgeable with his descriptions and background of the wines.

We had a 1pm booking for lunch in the restaurant and made our way in, the floor to ceiling windows and views following us there.

The first thing I noticed was a gorgeous arrangement of royal purple tulips. The uniqueness was in their presentation. They had been dug from the ground in a patch and strung together and left on a slab. The layers of dirt were visible as were the bulbs. Later I managed to walk into them a get a whopping bruise on my arm but I forgive them. It was my fault for looking to see if my food had arrived yet.

Our sparkling (which was very nice) came out quickly. As did some soft sourdough with a crunchy crust and some salty whipped butter… cue drooling.

We ordered the burrata curd to share to start and the rye papadelle and the rainbow trout as our mains.

The burrata curd came out quickly. Beautiful and soft and mild and creamy with some high quality olive oil and cracked pepper. That’s my idea of a good time!

The mains took a long time to come out. A really long time. We were about to ask where they were when we were told they were coming out. It was a good 45minutes and we were starving.

I had inquired as to how creamy my pasta was and told not too much, however it was a lot more than that. It seemed to be lacking in flavour, despite its vibrant appearance. I was truly disappointed.

We had green teas and coffee to finish and worked there for a while. The waitress assisted us with their wifi password and we smashed out emails for an hour or so in the corner.

The drinks were on the house when the bill arrived which I thought was fair seeing as our wait and my meal being an average quality.

Penticton Road Trip Day 3

We woke up early and headed straight to Kelowna – I was super excited to get on the Sea Doo! We had grabbed a Groupon – only $38 for a 1hour ride.

I was up first, I was pretty nervous as I hadn’t driven one for years but I couldn’t help but put my thumb flat on the throttle – I got told off for going too fast before the buoys. With Merica on the back we cruised out past them and then I put my thumb down. It is the best feeling flying through the air on the water. Shame I couldn’t go faster really but we had a blast.

Next up we met up with Gerado’s friend Veronica at Earls and enjoyed a nice, leisurely lunch.

We drove out to the water centre – there were water slides (yes we all went down them) huge pools, hot tubs and a wave pool. Funniest thing ever watching them all fall over trying to shred. I couldn’t do it as my bikini bottoms were so loose.

On the way back to Penticton we stopped at two wineries to enjoy the region’s offerings! So glad we did. The first one was an organic winery and had four free tastings. I love the Garden Lord there, he was gorgeous.

The next winery, Cedar Creek, had four tastings for $3. I preferred their wine. Their dessert wine ‘M’ was incredible. Although I don’t usually like rieslings I ended up buying a bottle of theirs. Stunning setting too.














Brisbane-based lifestyle and travel blog image featuring mountain and sea scenery

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