Last week I received a potentially cryptic text from my buddy Stu Brown, catering manager at Deloitte. It read "Yo, fancy meeting up for a spit roast pork sarnie at Big Bad Wolf on Friday?"
Fortunately, I have been keeping my ear close enough to the ground to know exactly what he was talking about. Last week saw the opening of Wellington's first specialist charcuterie, Big Bad Wolf (I love the name!), in Wakefield Street, sandwiched (bad pun, sorry) between Commonsense Organics, and Pandoro Bakery.
I love eating with Stu. He knows a lot about food and cooking, and, more pertinently, loves eating. He has been responsible for some of the most delicious food I have ever eaten, and also deserves credit for being the first person to introduce me to the concept of peeled broad beans.
We agree to meet at 1.30 ("sharp!", insists Stu, who, as a child, was known as "the little professor"). I am a little concerned, having followed their Facebook updates during the week, that by the usual Omni lunch break time of 2pm, they may have run out of pig. Which would, of course, never do.
Arriving at our destination, I am impressed by how the place looks. It looks new and fresh, with great signage and branding, but also looks as though it totally belongs - a place that is going to be around for a long time. It is laid out with the café part at the front and the charcuterie/kitchen area at the back.
Now, I can remember some people being squeamish about eating cooked meat in the presence of raw meat at the now sadly defunct Meat On Tory a few years back, but let's be honest here, nothing is going to stop me from nailing that pork sarnie.
The sandwiches are served wrapped in tinfoil (see pic) - I love unwrapping things to eat. I am pleasantly surprised to see that they are using baguettes from my favourite bakery - Le Moulin in Willis Street. And, that the sandwiches are chock full of juicy, succulent pork, a little apple sauce and slaw, and - perhaps best of all - a strip of crispy, crunchy pork crackling.
It is an excellent sandwich. It hits all the marks - top quality bread and filling, with tasty sides. There is also salt and pepper at the counter - I usually go for extra seasoning, and salt, in particular, really seems to make pork sing: that glorious axis of salty, sweet and succulent. It's a winner.
Stu has coffee. It comes in a little stovetop pot, and is a brewed coffee rather than the ubiquitous espresso. I am not really hungry after the roll, but I think it wise that we share a pie, just to cover extra ground.
We get a pork and wild thar pie (thar is a type of wild goat). The filling is solid and meaty, and the pastry incredibly light, crumbly and buttery; it is served with a light cabbage and onion red wine vinegar pickle. An excellent pie (though perhaps not best suited to the activity of the guy I saw jogging on The Terrace last week - while eating a pie! If you are reading this, pie jogger dude, please know that I think you are awesome).
I take the opportunity to have a bit of a look around. There are three "cauldrons" of soup on the counter, which I imagine will be a hit in the cooler months. There are hanging hams and salamis, and a display filled with a phenomenal array of gourmet sausages - pork, prawn and ginger; venison, raspberry and tarragon; snail, pork parsley and garlic, and many more. They look superb, and I am looking forward to giving them a crack.
It looks great, the food I tried tasted good, the staff were switched on and attentive - and I think they are going to do very well. I think there is a real gap in the market for artisanal pork and meat products - a place to pick up something a bit out of the ordinary, and BBW just looks and feels proper. Everyone I have mentioned it to has been geed up over the idea of the spit roasted pork sandwich, and I can see it becoming a regular haunt.
So - who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? No one that I can think of - with the possible exception of vegetarians...
Anyone else been to Big Bad Wolf - your verdict? Does the idea of a spit-roasted pork sandwich ring your bell? Anyone tried their sossies yet?
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