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Ti Kouka Cafe, Wellington – The Return

Back in December the Kiwi and I popped in to Ti Kouka Cafe for lunch and left feeling rather disappointed, as you may have read in my blog.  Chef/owner Shepherd Elliot got in touch after reading my review, saying “Thank you very much for the feed back. We are very sorry you had a bad experience dining at Ti Kouka.  We are looking at rectifying the issues and would like to invite you back to have a meal on the house, so you can experience what we are trying to achieve.”

I was impressed that he’d taken my comments on board and looked to rectify the issues raised, what more could I ask? As an independent reviewer I want to experience what regular customers will experience as opposed to the known critics who experience the best food and service to ensure a good review.  I didn’t want to make an announced return, so we agreed I would return anonymously at an undetermined time, which ended being around 5 months later!

We got a friendly welcome and were seated in the main dining room which benefits from a wall of windows facing Willis Street.  Dishes coming out of the kitchen were looking good and the Kiwi choose the Special of the day of Beef cheeks on celeriac mash with brussell sprouts, quince paste and pesto ($20) and I couldn’t help but order the Grilled Haloumi ($16) to compare the difference from our first visit!

Special of the Day

Beef cheeks and pesto

I had a bite of the Kiwi’s Beef and immediately got menu envy!  The beef was melt in the mouth tender, the pesto was a clean, crisp awakening to the palate – fabulous, I couldn’t fault it!  Grilled Haloumi with slow roasted tomato, warm bread, hummus and watercress was an improvement on my Haloumi experience in December with three pieces of Haloumi, lovely fresh watercress and a smooth hummus.  But looking at the dishes coming out I think I would prefer the Pulled Pork Roll ($12) or the Sticky beef burger ($15) as they looked delicious! …. next time!

I noticed two ladies had to call a waitress to take their order and the waitress apologised for their wait then the waitress who seated the ladies arrived shortly thereafter with some truffles by way of apology for keeping them waiting – nice touch.

I’m not mad on the interior design of the place, the mis-matching furniture and carpet are a weird combo (although probably helps noise absorption) and they may miss out on the business lunch market as a result.

The food was good and I look forward to trying out more on the menu.  The willingness of Shepherd Elliot and his brother to take on board comments and make changes shows a great attitude which will make Ti Kouka a success!  Well done, guys and thank you.

Ti Kouka Cafe, Upstairs, 76 Willis Street, Wellington, New Zealand

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