Visa WOAP on the Cheap
I know Visa WOAP isn’t easy if you’re not feeling flush with cash. Having done a couple of festivals as a student, I’m well aware that you need to be a bit selective, choose your events wisely and save up for those burgers that really light your fire. If you’re feeling the pinch this year and not sure where to allocate those hard-earned dollars, I’ve put together a bit of a guide for doing the festival on the cheap:
- Bizarre Bites: Hints of a Hen - $40. This is kind of like a combination of Fear Factor and a fine dining degustation. Dragonfly have created a tasting menu of delicious bites made from less-loved parts of chicken, but don't worry - this isn't going to be raw or unpleasant fare. Think Asian-inspired snacks where you won't even recognise that you're not eating the most often loved cuts.
- Brewed: Tea with Tuatara - $45. Sweet treats + beer = my idea of a good time, but not everyone is an into the combination. Tuatara will change your mind with this dessert event that's perfect for swinging by after a cheeky burger and beer dinner.
- Cuban Air Raid - $25. I got to try my hand at catching my lunch in the first year of Cuban Air Raid in 2015, and can profess it's rather fun even for incredibly uncoordinated people who used to bunk PE. Buy your ticket and you'll be texted on the day with a drop zone, where you'll need to have your wits about you as you catch a cascading Cubano (that's an extremely tasty sandwich full of free range pork, ram, mustard, pickles and cheese).
- What Fat Vegans Eat - $45. Vegan food is not rabbit food, and Sweet Release know it better than anyone. This event would be ideal for both committed vegans or vegetarians as well as skeptics who cling desperately to meat at every meal.
- Beer No Evil - $45. Put aside your $1.20 pie from the dairy for a moment and go a little more highbrow with this offering from Sprig & Fern wand Siggy's Pies. For just $45 you get a mean feed of five mini pies - this year's flavours inspired by the East - and five petite pours of beer. Yum.
- Pop-up events - free or pay on consumption. There are loads of fun pop-up events in this year's programme if you're a committment-phobe and can't deal with the ticketed events. I understand my fellow blogger Chris is soon to launch an expose of what's on offer, but here's a quick summary if you can't wait.
Dine Wellington menus
Dine Wellington is one of the most budget-friendly ways to discover a new favourite restaurant. The set menus create a low barrier of entry to even the finest of dining, so if there's that restaurant you've been meaning to try for ages but never got around to, August is the time. Here are a few of the excellent value deals catching my eye:
- Grill Meats Beer - $25 lunch / $35 dinner. That Festival Dish of spiced slow-cooked lamb shoulder with tomato and winter leaves is everything you'd expect from Logan Brown's little brother restaurant - hearty yet refined - and will be beaut with a Johner Pinot Gris. For dinner, there's an apple pie sundae (?!?!!!) for afters.
- Rock Yard - $25 lunch / $35 dinner. Rock Yard's Festival Dish has pork THREE DIFFERENT WAYS. Three preparations of pork. Think about that for a minute. The only improvement I can imagine on pork three ways is if you were to add a Craggy Range Sav and follow it up with a green tea waffle. Rock Yard have thought of everything huh.
- St Johns - $25 lunch / $35 dinner. St John's is known as the place to be for al fresco beers in summer, but their menu is awesome enough that you need to be going in winter too. The Asian-inspired Festival Dish of salmon with coriander jam and puffed black rice followed by a Whittaker's dark chocolate fondant with a Coney Syrah sounds like the perfect antidote for a chilly night.
- Monterey Bar - $25 lunch / $40 dinner. I've always loved Monterey - it's the perfect spot for a little after-work beer that turns into burgers and board games late into the night. Get stuck into their smoked lamb shoulder with polenta Festival Dish, or Steinbeck burger featuring beer-braised beef with aged cheddar, and choose from a white chocolate or dark chocolate crème brûlée for dessert at dinnertime.
Burgers are a great way to get your Visa WOAP fix and still have change for that twenty. Look out for:
- Moon 1's Johnny Devlin - $15. I admit I just had to Google to see who Johnny Devlin was (FYI he was a pioneering Kiwi rock 'n' roll musician), but I hope he would be proud of this funky funghi burger with a whole truffled mushroom matched to Garage Project's new Loral Royale.
- Franziska's Sudaca Burger - $17. If you've been looking for an excuse to check out this Seatoun eatery from the folk behind Cicio Cacio, this is it: a burger featuring a housemade chorizo patty with avo, mayo and herbaceous pebre sauce.
- Carrello del Gelato's It'll be Sweet 2.0 - $13.50. I challenge you to eat a savoury burger for your main and follow it up with a sweet burger for dessert. Featuring a gelato patty and salted caramel 'mustard' sauce in a dougnut bun, this is a sweet tooth's dream.
- The Ramen Shop's Haiku Burger - $14. Georgia likes burgers | especially when they are | poetry also.
I love a good cocktail, but I'm not the hugest fan of looking at my account balance the day after a few good ones. There are plenty of affordable options in Cocktail Welly, plus they come with a tapa, PLUS all the mocktail options are even cheaper:
- Queen of Jackson's Moho Martini - $16. This sharp and fresh combo of London Dry gin, lychee, lemongrass and kaffir lime would be the perfect nightcap. It's paired with Yellowfin tuna with a coconut turmeric dressing to top the evening off.
- Burger Liquor's Somes Island Iced Tea - $15. Burger Liquor take on the classic Long Island Iced Tea with a bit of a Wellington twist. This version features a Bootlegger's and Flight Coffee soda and is topped with untempered Wellington Chocolate Factory chocolate. Yum.
- Hanging Ditch's Gustav's Golden Ale - $18. Like the old lady I am at heart, I love a good Werther's Original. Clearly the Hanging Ditch team do too, as they've combined these little lumps of joy with tonka bean, pineapple rum and fresh apple juice, and are serving it all up with an Arobake mini burger.
- Ancestral's Cup of the Purple Frontier- $16. Smoke & Oakum's Gunpowder Rum is one of my favourite local beverages, and Ancestral are tempering its spicy, pungent flavour with lime, smokey tea, pomegranate and cumin, and serving it all with lamb gyoza.