PETER LOWRY & LAURA WALKER

For­resters Lane

Cuisine - - CRISPY BITS -

“WELLING­TON HAS the best food, beer and cof­fee. The stan­dards are stag­ger­ingly high and the hos­pi­tal­ity com­mu­nity is pretty stun­ning. And it has such a cool, vil­lage-like feel.” That’s what at­tracted Ir­ish­born Peter Lowry to the cap­i­tal more than 10 years ago, and it’s the vi­brant bar scene that has kept him busy ever since.

And it’s fair to say that as bar man­ager for the group that in­cludes The Li­brary, For­resters Lane, Chow and Le Samourai, and pre­vi­ous spells with Hip­popota­mus and the Hawthorn Lounge, Welling­ton’s bar crowd have ben­e­fit­ted from Peter’s en­cy­clo­pe­dic knowl­edge of spir­its and cock­tails and in­fec­tious de­sire to share his pas­sion.

“Each place is very dif­fer­ent with its own spirit and char­ac­ter and so every day is dif­fer­ent,” he says of his cur­rent gig. “Chow is fun and crazy with a huge cock­tail list, serv­ing up to 1100 cock­tails a night. Le Samourai is fo­cussed on wine - Ryan (Mckenna) is ‘the wine guy’ for me. The Li­brary Bar, billed as a read­ing room and lounge bar, is a large bar fo­cussing on desserts and cock­tails and For­resters Lane is more geeky and foodie with sea­sonal be­spoke cock­tails.”

It was at Tory Street speakeasy, the Hawthorn Lounge, that he first worked along­side Laura Walker, who now heads up For­resters Lane. While the food world has long been chant­ing the mantra of fresh, sea­sonal pro­duce, at For­resters Lane they’re chan­nelling that to cock­tails. “It ap­peals to fun-seek­ing food­ies who are at­tracted to flavours they know, but used in dif­fer­ent ways,” says Peter. “We use fresh, sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents in a way that’s much more fun and sexy than eat­ing a salad!”

“We cre­ate cock­tails us­ing fresh pro­duce with what we have around us,” says Laura. “We use prod­ucts from lo­cal sup­pli­ers, or some­times I’ll get some­thing from Mum and Dad’s farm in Otaki, a bag of crab ap­ples or some grapes. We use as much as we can that week, then we’ll pre­serve the rest to use later when the fresh pro­duce isn’t avail­able. And some­times the pre­served pro­duce works even bet­ter in the cock­tail than the fresh.”

The For­resters team start from scratch to cre­ate a weekly cock­tail list on a theme. Draw­ing on the team’s shared back­ground, one week’s theme was ‘sci­ence’. “I have a de­gree in chem­istry,” says Laura, “so I cre­ated a colour-chang­ing cock­tail for that week.”

“Cock­tails are just so much fun,” Peter en­thuses. “We get to do all the fun foodie stuff, but we do it late at night and with louder mu­sic. Wine and beer can­not come close to that level of ex­cite­ment. Cock­tails give such a sense of joy.” for­rester­slane.co.nz

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