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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 15. 1969.

Noshingrog by Tums

Noshingrog by Tums

A guide to eating and drinking in Wellington

Mamma Mia! I go to da Giovanni's other night and whatta do I getta? I expecta da real Italianos who speaka da language wid da mouth full of ripe olives, and whatta do I getta? Bloody University students making money on the side by waiting on table. The standard of service was good, students notwithstanding.

The food is real Italiano—just the ticket for those who like pasta (and I do). It ate a succulent, spicy meat ravioli which had me clamouring for more. One complaint. When you eat food which weighs heavily on the stomach you need a side order of stand to break it down a little. It certainly wouldn't cost the management much, and it would perfect the food side of things.

The wine? Fairly pricey. In my travels around bars and licensed restaurants I have struck two glaring anomalies which are found everywhere.

First, the exorbitant price of white vermouth over a bar when it is the cheapest spirit wine (no. I won't enter the controversy as to which it is) in the bottle store. Secondly, the fantastic price of Chianti in a licensed restaurant. Is it perhaps the name which hikes the charge? It certainly can't be anything else. Chianti, restaurant owners and eating public know, is a cheap, raw wine. It is really ludicrous to hock it off (no pun intended) at $5.50 a bottle as some restaurants do.

They have a band at Giovanni's. A pianist too. He doesn't seem to belong to the band, in fact I think he must have been the chap Len Deighton was writing about in "Funeral In Berlin" when he wrote: "He fell his way among the black and white keys like something had changed them all around."

Overall, I like this place. It's happy. The Management should be happy with the money they must be making. The same crowd own Orsini's and the overflow from Orsini's find their way down to Giovanni's. Oddly enough, the food at Giovanni's is miles better than at Orsinis.

Four points.

* * *

Yes. I've been there. And it failed to appeal. Cigarette waving young easies from Martinborough with their camel coats, and junior executives trying to be dashing. It's a Bradshavian nightmare. Perhaps I'm getting old, but I don't like my food cooked by a death ray, either.

I think we'd better go back to the Royal Tavern after the novelty has worn off. But it sure don't promise well.

* * *

I went on a bar crawl of a slightly different type the other night; namely, a hamburger bar crawl. I came out of it with a very upset stomach. Not from the vast quantities of burgers consumed, but from the fact that the young lady who was driving us had this colour blind thing, and couldn't distinguish red from green, Chrrist!

Anyway, I found where the best burgers in town are. Just before you get to the Freyberg Pool there is a place called the Windjammer. The burgers are fantastic, and very cheap. The place is clean, with a minimum of the troughs off at which so many establishments of this nature seem to go in for. proprietor. Bruce Watson, is a most obliging fellow, with none of the smart remarks that come with the chips in other joints.

Three points.

* * *

Once upon a time there was a tavern which was relatively unknown, except to locals. It was scruffy, and didn't make much money. The owners were very sad about this, so they spent thousands of dollars doing the place up and suddenly it became very popular. I and my friends went there almost every night, and most of Saturday too. The atmosphere was friendly, and the hosts were most obliging.

Then a funny change came over this tavern. The proprietors were making so much money that they felt that they didn't need to be friendly to the regulars any more, as people would drink there regardless. So the regulars left. And after a while, the gay young things who had caused the profit to soar left too, and the tavern didn't make nearly as much.

The regulars are starting to drift back again, and the pub is settling down into the old pleasant atmosphere. The Leopard pints upstairs slide down easily once more and Karl the barman is back to his cheerily snarly best.

But watch it. Western Park. A pub in the suburbs is built round regular drinkers, not fly-by-nights who are now found at the Royal Tavern.

Four and a half points.

* * *

Ye Gods! Shades of the Seddon Memorial Restrooms in Manga-weka! All this and more raced through my head as I squeaked open the door of the Great Wall Cafe in Ghuznee Street one Sunday. The only other person in what I look to be the dining area was a coal dust impregnated old fellow who in grinning toothlessly at me allowed a substance not altogether dissimilar to 100-year-old egg to issue over his grizzled chin.

I thought the room was turning black, but in fact it remained unchanged. Nothing if not game I sat down, and was presently (and pleasantly) served by an aged Chinese gentleman. Admittedly it was a Sunday, but I didn't expect over half the menu to be off. By smiling at me again, the coal miner indicated just was was on the menu, and I settled for a very large and well cooked feed. Tasty and cheap. But if I go there again it will be in blinkers. Jeez!

Three points (for the food).