Escaping Wellington one weekend, M and I found ourselves at Toppy’s Bar & Cafe in Martinborough for a leisurely late lunch before meandering in Gertie (my cute green Citroen) to the south coast. Overwhelmed by the amount and gorgeousness of the eateries in Martinborough (and the wider Wairarapa for that matter), we chose Toppy’s just for its sunnyness – the historic building is situated on a corner site that captures the late afternoon rays. We just ate from the cabinet, but they had a great looking menu – homemade pizzas (I can personally vouch for the ‘Ngawi’ pizza, named after local fishing village), pies, gourmet burgers and the like. Today I had the soup of the day ($7.50), which lucky for me was the velvety cauliflower, blue cheese and smoky bacon soup. The soup was served in a huge bowl, and was absolutely delicious. The blue cheese did not overpower the delicate cauli flavour, just giving the dish a stunning creaminess and the bacon was shredded and had obviously come out of a bacon hock stock. The soup was so scrumptious that I was only slightly disappointed by the side of toasted standard-supermarket-bought bread. But really, in a town renowned for its artisanal fare, supermarket bought bread is not ok – there is a bakery up the way. M had a homemade venison pie, which I greedily stole a forkful of. I hope these guys enter the NZ pie competitions, because it was prizewinning – the pastry was buttery and light, not stodgy and heavy or too crunchy. The venison was tender and lovely (perhaps from Scotty’s Meats up the road?) and there was a good meat-to-gravy ratio. We chose coffee rather than the local wine (though they have a good selection on offer). I can’t recall what coffee they use, but it was good – flat white was strong and the cappuccino was milky-fluffy without compromising the coffee kick. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos, as I was too ravenous and forgot to get my camera out of the car! A relaxing spot to sit on a sundrenched barstool with the newspaper, some good local fare and a hit of caffeine, without breaking the bank (as you often can do in this wee town).
1 Jellicoe St (The Square)
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