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February 26, 2018 | by  | in Food Opinion | [ssba]

In the Know with Your BYO

As the Wellington hospitality industry prepares to be stampeded come late February, it seems appropriate to rank and compare some of our Capital’s finest BYO restaurants. Have you recently moved into a flat and are yet to fill your cupboards? Are the 10pm hall drinking curfews getting you down? A BYO night will likely solve your problems. Here’s a selection of places with diverse price, range, and atmosphere. Any indecision and arguments that this review may cause will surely be solved over the dinner table.


Number 5

3/5 stars

Tulsi – Halfway down Cuba St

Price – Moderate to expensive

If you are familiar with the range of quality pre-prepared Indian meals on offer at your local supermarket then you are sure to have come across Tulsi before. Their CBD location presents high quality dishes in a welcoming environment. Last time we went, they offered a free bottle of wine for every couple of meals (which is my definition of welcoming). Corkage at $5 makes each glass of wine significantly cheaper than trying to get drunk on super jugs from Hotel Bristol right next door.

Number 4

3/5 stars

Red Hill – Corner of Dixon and Victoria St

Price – Lower end of moderate

With a large range of menu options and a location that is on a straight line to the Wellington clubbing locality, Red Hill has traditionally been popular with students. Mains at Red Hill hover between $15-20, but their entrees are just cheap enough that you can combine several to add up to a single meal and get to try more of the menu. They have a guarded expansion onto the Victoria St walkway which is ideal for the nicotine enthusiasts, who wish to indulge while enjoying their meal.

Number 3

4/5 stars

Big Thumb – Allen St, just off Courtney place

Price – Moderate

When you first sit down you’re handed a George R.R Martin book of a menu, so allow for 15-20 mins to read the binder and struggle with deciding what to get. There’s easily 10 different options for each meat and many for the vegetarian and vegan eaters. At lunch time, they run a Yum Cha service which starts at 11, and their a la carte menu begins at 5pm; if your pocket is deep enough you could spend the whole day gorging. Chaffers New World is right around the corner so it’s entirely possible to order your starters and then pop down and grab a wine which matches the palate or mood.

Number 2

4/5 stars

Oriental Kingdom – in the Left Bank on Cuba st

Price – Dirt cheap

I’ve been for just as many lunches as dinners at this Malaysian style cafe, solely for its infamous $7 Roti Chenai. At the price of a cheap starter in any of the previously mentioned venues this quality malay broth comes out of the kitchen almost by the time that you sit down. Despite my partiality towards the Chenai, I can endorse the rest of the menu as being equally delicious and cheap. Just watch yourself for the siren call of Cafe Istanbul’s shisha, which directly opposes the entrance of the left bank.

Number 1

HARD 5/5 stars

Genghis Khan – Majoribanks St

Price – Moderate to cheap depending on the size of your stomach.

Eating here is an absolute treat that you will want to skip lunch for.  For $20 a head, you have the privilege of consuming as much Mongolian BBQ as your stomach will fit. The service works as a buffet, where you fill your bowl with meats, veg, noodles, and sauces, take it up to the giant barbeque, and the chefs will cook it in front of you. I’ve seen someone chow down 5 bowls, making each one only $4. The complimentary bread rolls are a delicious trap to make you eat less of the buffet, but on a friday night when the line is 20 strong, it’s worth cleaning your bowl with one while waiting. You win Genghis Khan bingo if some drunk 21st group stand on their chairs to sing Happy Birthday.



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