Osteria del Toro

One of the ‘in’ places to eat in Wellington at the moment seems to be Osteria del Toro, in Tory Street. Had walked past it many times, but it’s position on the ground floor of a backpackers’ had made me assume it would be a bit of a dive. So I was unprepared when I first walked in, back in December, for the extravagance of the decor. Nor, indeed, for the size of the place. It calls itself Mediterranean-style, and the design influences are a suitable melange, mainly North Africa and Italy, I thought. Anyway, so it looks good, is popular, has a lively vibe … but what about the food? Had mixed feelings after the December visit, perhaps the lamb shank was a mistake, but went back again the other night for a bit of a reunion with friends. The tomato bruschetta fresh-tasting with good colour, but the garlic Turkish bread disappointingly dry. My chicken main course fine, but nothing I couldn’t do (better) at home. Pleased though to note that they use Agria potatoes here. Perhaps the best dish was the lemon-infused crema catalana, or creme brulée … a burst of creamy zing served in a small pot. A good note to end on, and endings, as we know, are so important. So, on balance, more on the plus side than not. Wouldn’t rush to return, but at the same time wouldn’t refuse to either.

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