Eat Well(ington)

Eating out and eating well in the capital of Aotearoa New Zealand. And sometimes, other places.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lunch: Fujiama Cafe and Takeaways

Situated at 138 Lambton Qy at street level and above, this unpretentious little eaterie is a favourite haunt of throngs of 'suited' public servants and bureaucratic drones who work in the area. A few political luminaries from The Behive can also be spotted there, in season. The cafe hides in behind a sushi counter that offers all the usual delicacies, and there is a dining room upstairs. I don't go there for the sushi, even though it looks fine. The restaurant behind is graced by a typical Chinese bain marie buffet offering standard food court fare that all looks quite acceptable. Six choices for so many dollars, take away or eat in - all piled up, a confusion of flavours and colours leaching into one another. I don't go there for the multi-choice chaos either.

No, I go for the photograph template menu. Just point and quote a number. A busy bevy of oriental chefs in the rear kitchen are frantically creating NZ-Sino delicacies for the hungry pinstriped hoardes. The meals are not flamboyant in presentation, they are not ethnically authentic, but they are surprisingly well flavoured. My favourite is #1 Prawn and Wonton Soup - a large bowl for $9.90. This is a scintillating, steaming concoction of chicken broth, laced with steamed bok choy leaves, 6 or so large hand-made steamed pork mince wontons, and 6 or 7 medium size prawn cutlets. All that is missing is a few drops of aromatic sesame oil to finish, but thankfully there is no superfluous mat of egg noodles to provide unnecessary padding and reduce the amount of 'real' ingredients required. The chicken broth, probably not obtained from simmering bones, is not salt infested like many. I have other preferences from the menu (like #26 Chicken or Beef Fried Noodles at $8.90) but the soup is my favourite.

Other Fujiama characteristics:

Seating - very functional, not particularily comfortable, plywood benches (you are only supposed to be there for about 45 minutes, so who cares)

Service - fast and basic, no need for a smile

Decor - utilitarian, not aparently part of a conceived plan.

Not licensed to serve alcohol, no espresso machine.

Food - all good.

...and now that you all know, I'll have to find somewhere else.

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