The Local Legends Behind Porirua’s Best Food and Drinks
The Porirua food scene is awash with local artisan makers and innovators putting their neighbourhood on the map.
Words by: Nicola Amy Hinman
While central Porirua is buzzing with street food style joints and vibrant eateries, the nearby seaside suburbs are making their own mark on the scene. With many local ventures having begun as food trucks and market stalls, there is a distinctly grassroots vibe going on.
Perhaps the most endearing feature of Porirua’s emerging food scene is its reciprocal nature - makers live to serve their community, and in turn, communities love to support their local makers.
Louis by Louis Sergeant
20 Parumoana Street, Porirua, Porirua
Porirua locals no longer have to travel far to indulge in the epicurean delights of highly renowned pastry chef Louis Sergeant. Affectionately referred to as Mini Louis, the Porirua-based food truck offers many of the sweet and savoury treats Wellingtonians have long adored from their favourite patisserie.
Alongside the signature macarons, Louis by Louis Sergeant boasts a mouthwatering selection of pastries and delicate french desserts. You simply can’t go wrong with a maple pecan danish or a classic almond croissant to accompany your flat white.
3 Beach Road, Plimmerton
Executive chef Valerie Askew and her husband Steve are the culinary heroes behind this cosy neighbourhood bistro. Fondly known as ‘that Polish place’, Topor has established its reputation as the ultimate foodie destination in the seaside suburb of Plimmerton.
Hearty and flavoursome Polish fusion dishes are beautifully presented, accompanied by house-infused vodka shots, and delivered with excellent service. The menu is chock full of Eastern European classics like pierogi, bigos, and golabki alongside more modern dishes exquisitely crafted with the freshest, tastiest local ingredients.
Dining at Topor is akin to having your Polish grandmother lovingly re-create all of her most treasured recipes for you - it doesn’t get any more authentic than that!
Tuk Tuk Thai Kitchen
15 Hartham Place South, N, Porirua
For Thai food with some serious vibes, you can’t go past Tuk Tuk Thai. No matter what night of the week you go, this vibrant eatery will be pumping. With touches of Thailand occupying every inch of the large space, you can’t help but feel transported to ‘The Land of Smiles’ itself.
From its humble food truck days until now, Tuk Tuk Thai’s food has always been top-notch. Classic dishes like Pad Thai and Green Curry will never fail to satisfy, and the Lamb Shank Masamuun Curry is truly legendary. Owner, Daeng Neuang-keo, strives to provide an authentic and educational foodie experience, which her team execute to perfection every time.
20 Parumoana Street, Porirua City Centre, Porirua
Abandoned Brewery founder Tim Ward is a bit of a rebel at heart. He’s a fan of checking out what the rest of the beer industry is doing and deliberately heading in the opposite direction.
What was once literally an abandoned brewery in Lower Hutt is now a microbrewery and taproom in Central Porirua with a laidback everyone-is-welcome kind of vibe. Every inch of wall, pillar, and beam at Abandoned is adorned with colourful graffiti. There’s even a living mural space for kids to leave their own mark on the place.
Pick your pint from the rotating menu of classics and new creations, creatively displayed as a collection of handwritten cardboard signs. And when hunger calls, grab some Japanese-style fried chicken from the friendly folk at The Karaage Kid to go with your brew.
The Regal Shortbread Co.
109 Discovery Drive, Whitby, Porirua
In her converted garage micro-bakery, self-titled Grand Duchess of Shortbread, Anita Vogt, bakes goods that are fit for Kings and Queens. Initially, a fundraising venture for her daughter’s school exchange trip, but once the word got out about the finest shortbread in all the land, the demand never stopped.
The Regal Shortbread Co. not only produces six different flavours of their namesake buttery goodness, but award-winning gingernuts to boot. Other moreish goodies are also baked daily, including South African Rusks and Milk Tarts, inspired by the Duchess’s South African roots.
t bay café
26 Whitehouse Road, Tītahi Bay, Porirua
Tītahi Bay locals, Anna and Jeff, felt their community needed a café where people from all walks of life could meet and feel at home. Despite having zero hospitality experience, these local heroes opened T Bay Café in late 2020. What began as one couple's dream has become an iconic establishment that serves and supports the Tītahi Bay community and beyond.
With a menu to rival any inner-city Melbourne café, a cozy beer garden and eclectic vibrant decor, T Bay Café really packs a punch. An inclusive menu with bucketloads of vegan and gluten-free options is definitely a bonus, but the kid's play area and dog-friendly spaces are a big part of what makes this local cafe a welcoming place for everyone.
The Little Goat
Cobham Court, Porirua City Centre, Porirua
Hailing from Cyprus, Chrystalla Aresti and her Kiwi partner Derek Rolls refuse to cut corners when it comes to serving up authentic Cypriot food. Ever since their early days as a travelling food truck, these local food heroes have been dishing up mouth-watering Mediterranean street food made from secret family recipes that have been passed down through generations.
Traditional peppery pork sausages and house-made goat sheftalia are delicious stuffed into toasted pitas with hummus, tzatziki, olives, and pickled peppers. You also can’t pass up on the super thick authentic Cypriot halloumi at The Little Goat. With a variety of pitas, burgers, mezze bowls, and delicious baked goods, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a tastier lunch.
The Beer Engine
31 Whitehouse Road, Tītahi Bay, Porirua
Beer engineers Dave Gould and Oliver Smith envisioned a space where aspiring craft brewers could make their brewing dreams a reality. Their ultimate goal? To get more people making and drinking good local beer.
With a dedicated maker space and in-house hydro mechanic tech, The Beer Engine is a supportive haven for newbie brewers. The industrial, loosely steampunk-inspired taphouse in Tītahi Bay serves up brews made on-site alongside a collection of Aoetoroa’s finest craft beers from small local makers.
You’ll find a real community spirit at The Beer Engine. Collabs between local makers are a common occurrence, and the ‘anonymously shout your mate their next beer’ initiative is pretty neat.
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Neat Porirua Places
The Regal Shortbread Co.
The Regal Shortbread Co. is a micro-bakery in Whitby specialising in decadent, high-end shortbread - six decadent flavours to be exact.
This salon has been on the receiving end of many local and national awards, and is something of a community hub.
Looking for a beachside walk that’s not like the others? Hidden gem Pukerua Bay is exactly what you’re after.
Greedy and Co.
More often than not, keeping it simple has the most impact. In introducing a caffeine culture to Pukerua Bay, this is exactly what Greedy and Co.
Blue Bell Club
Venture out to Porirua’s harbourside and it won’t be long before you’re drawn in by the colours of the Blue Bell Club, a vibrant splash of Pasifika right on the water’s edge.