Best Ugly Bagels, Wellington airport 

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Best Ugly – a welcome sight for harried travellers

Can the tea live up to the bagels’ high standard?

“White rabbit, EBT with splash,” sings the chap behind the counter. “White rabbit, EBT with splash,” the crew chorases back.

A white rabbit is a toasted bagel with cream cheese, tomato, basil, olive oil and black pepper, and I’ve been obsessed with them for months.

My usual MO at Wellington airport is to skip between Best Ugly Bagels (a chain founded by chef Al Brown, of Logan Brown fame) and Freshbites, where I know that by airport standards, they make a half-decent cup of tea AND serve it in a cup.

 

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White rabbit and EBT with a splash, bag in.

But it’s time to put Best Ugly through its paces, so, taking a deep breath, I order a cup of English breakfast.

The serving chap asks if I want milk (yes, the “splash”) or sugar (no).

“And would you like the bag left in?”

Suppressing a shudder, I tell him I want it strong, and it’s up to him how he achieves it.

My marks out of 10?

Cup 1: Paper. Serving chap comes over to ask how I’m enjoying my lunch, and we talk tea for a bit. They have to use paper cups, he says, because they don’t have a dishwasher. “We’re really a to-go kind of place.”

Tea 6: T2 English breakfast bag. I’ve reviewed one of their cups, but they make a reasonable blend of tea as well. The bag is left in.

Setting 5: 20171128_143627-e1511892773819.jpgIt’s an airport, and some days there are just too many darned people clustered around Best Ugly. But today there are just two of us sitting up at the bar, and the chirpy staff singing every order in unison never fails to bring smiles to the faces of otherwise harried travellers.

Dog-friendly? Probably only for guide dogs and customs dogs.

Best Ugly Bagels, Wellington Airport.

 

Dirty Little Secret, Wellington

Where high tea takes on a new meaning.

My brother knows Wellington’s Dirty Little Secret, which is fortunate for me, because I love it immediately.

We’ve just finished a slap-up meal at Little Penang (one of our favourite places) in Dixon St, and are in need of a walk before bed. I also need tea.

I tell him this as we stroll along Dixon St.secret-1.jpg

“I know somewhere we haven’t been,” he says, and ushers me to the historic Hope Gibbons Building on the corner of Taranaki St. It’s early, but there’s a chalkboard on the footpath and a bouncer on the door.

We ride the lift to the roof , and there’s Dirty Little Secret, a rooftop bar made from old shipping containers.

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Secret uncovered – a container bar on the roof of the Hope Gibbons Building.
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How not to make tea.

My marks out of 10?

CUP 2: Coffee cups. Need I say more?

TEA 2: Dilmah English Breakfast for me, Dilmah Green Tea for Matt. Served with the bags sitting in the cups. The water isn’t piping hot. “Our grandmother is turning in her grave,” I tell Matt.

SETTING 10: Sitting high above Courtney Place at dusk, watching aeroplanes disappear behind Mt Victoria and looking out over the harbour is enough to make me forgive a lot. Even the tea.

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Bad tea, bad cup, but a view that makes bad tea worth drinking.

DOG-FRIENDLY? I suspect not.

Dirty Little Secret, 7-11 Dixon St, Wellington.

Loretta, Wellington

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Breakfast with my brother.

Ventured further afield for breakfast in Wellington this morning (I usually grab tea and pastries in the Comfort Hotel).

My marks out of 10?

CUP 2: Am really getting tired of otherwise-excellent eating establishments thinking tea and coffee cups are the same thing. Cute teapot though.

TEA 8: Irish breakfast, Tea Total. Interesting notes, as the wine drinkers would say.

SETTING 8:  Love Loretta for so many reasons, including the company on this day -my little bro Matt Sharpe (who was drinking coffee – I think I got the lion’s share of the tea-drinking genes).

Loretta, 181 Cuba St, Wellington.

Freshbites, Wellington airport

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Happy tea-drinking at Wellington airport.

At last! Good tea at an airport! Didn’t think it could happen.

My marks out of 10?

CUP 7: A special Dilmah cup. A proper shape, china (although not fine-bone) and with its own hat to keep it warm.

TEA 8: Dilmah English breakfast. Always good.

SETTING 5: It’s an airport. On the plus side, a good location to spot people you want to lobby; they have to walk past you.

Freshbites, Wellington airport.

Comfort Hotel, Wellington

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My usual morning tipple when I’m in Wellington.

Breakfast in Wellington with my boy, before I go to work and he goes to see Sir Peter Jackson’s The Great War Exhibition.

My marks out of 10?

TEA 5: The first cup of the day, so appreciated more than the quality otherwise dictates.

SETTING 7: My Wellington home, quite fond of the place.

BONUS: In the dining room, they keep the hot water urn for tea separate from the coffee urn. This is not always the case in other parts of the hotel, and you end up with tea with a distinct coffee taint. An inglorious blend.

COMPANY: My son, off the charts.

Comfort Hotel, Cuba St, Wellington.