New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, was the birthplace of modern Kiwi café culture, emerging from the doldrums of the 60s and 70s to become centre of all things cool, including music, film, food and coffee. Although the weather is reliably awful, residents of Windy Wellington love their city, its enviable hillside perch, compact centre and indie vibe. They're spoiled for choice when it comes to casual eateries, with reputedly more restaurants and bars per capita than New York City.
Salty Pidgin is one of the hottest tickets in town and a good example of the way in which restaurant and café models overlap. On weekends the doors open at 9:30 am with breakfast-y dishes such as yogurt and buttermilk pancakes or eggs on ciabatta with mushrooms and black pudding. During the week head chef Amy Gillies and her team offer a sophisticated dinner menu, with an extensive wine list, including more than 30 wines available by the glass.
After an uphill hike to Brooklyn, a gentrified historic neighbourhood with commanding views of the harbour, a pint of Parrot Dog Pilsner, one of several local craft beers on tap, hit the spot. With half an hour to spare before my friend