New Opening: Welles Street
We all have people in our lives that we bond with over different things. Maybe you like the same music, you share an intense but secret love of Morris Dance or your Cocker Spaniel became best friends with their Labrador at the dog park. Or perhaps its a deep-seated need to discuss, analyse, plan and/or reminisce about food - meals past and proposed, in conversations where the nuances and depth of the detail knows no limit.
There are also people in our lives whose opinions you trust more on some things than others, some people suggest things and you file away under "will wait for a second opinion" and others you are actioning before they have finished their sentence.
There are two people I know, who will obligingly indulge in detailed food analysis, and whose opinions are held at the peak branch of the trust tree. I have had many a good meal, and avoided many a bad one, by following their carefully curated recommendations. Many a WhatsApp conversation has been had discussing new openings, must-eats, wins, failures, disappointments, and highlights. Imagine the delight when the news broke that these two people were opening their own venue.
Tom Newfield and Sam Campbell have just opened our new local on Welles Street, aptly named "Welles Street". It is a refitted original building with a whopping 500 square metres of wood, brick, concrete and glass, kitted out to provide capacity for more than 400 people, many rotisserie chickens and 24 beer taps. The team have a hospitality pedigree which makes Welles Street a must try even if you don't fancy the sound of loaded hummus, smoked labne, skordalia, various souvlakis or greek yoghurt soft serve topped with your choice of toppings, which includes baklava and candy floss. Or hand cut fries with feta and oregano. By now it may be apparent the food is of the modern Greek persuasion and its the perfect foil to the beer or Santorini Sunrise you will be enjoying in the Beer Garden.
Its refreshing. Its casual and relaxed, but still thoughtful, and quite frankly, cool. It doesn't appear to take itself too seriously. The staff were friendly, funny and looked like they very much wanted to be there - which is always a good sign. Its large, but well managed, with intuitive systems to avoid anarchy and ensure everyone ends up with a souvlaki in one hand and a soft serve in the other. Even in these early days, it felt lived in, and neighbourly.
My university age self would be ashamed for saying this - but the spaciousness is a welcome relief. I can get on board with cosy, but sometimes you want to go somewhere you know you can sit down, have a drink (while sitting down) and eat a disgraceful amount of food (also while seated) - with the number of seats they have your odds are good, though I suspect they will be filled easily enough (look at the chickens).
The practical details:
- order at the counter (identifiable by the sign which says "ORDER FOOD HERE"
- give them your mobile number
- receive text message when food is ready
- collect food at round the corner counter (identifiable by "COLLECT FOOD HERE" sign)
You may think this seems foolproof but first round of ordering I didn't complete step 2: provide phone number and on second round of ordering I put my phone face down on silent. Theres always one...
So while WBTC does have a soft spot for any venue out of the Tom / Sam stable, they became our trusted food advisors by telling it like it is, so we wouldn't do anything but the same here. It fits seamlessly into the existing hospitality landscape, adding something new while complementing what we have.
44 Welles Street, Christchurch Central