Sunday, 26 August 2012

Wellington On A Plate When It's Really Late

In a protoplasmic attempt at food writing, i originally sold a certain hipster american foodie print juggernaut on this story, but i went stale or they went fresh, so i shat the bed one night and decided to go rogue. i draped my inspectors cape upon my hunched shoulders and began this speil in the glow of the midnight rain of a wellington monday morning...

You will not recognise this place when the daylight evaporates...

Food food food (i'm gesticulating, trying to force something outta the pate part of my brain)

It's 4:47am, our options for drinking any further are becoming compromised to only a selection of the best (worst?) that courtney place has to offer. Yes, the golden mile! The golden mile shouldn't need introduction to locals, but for those not privy to its fantasticalness, try this for the goods.  We started here, as we always do, then onwards on any given Thursday or Friday or Saturday night, there may well be a little bit of this or this, we're usually good for a jug or two here, and then wander onto the beaten track for a few quality ones here and if things are looking a little faded or confused and desperate, this might happen, where i have been told time and time again; 'don't touch the lights!' There are others too, but forget them all. They are merely brief stops before the final destination. no, i dont mean the puke filled gutter that is Inglewood place. or some diseased whore plantation. or a soft pair of thighs. or the comfort of your own cookie crumb filled sheets. I refer to the one and only late night authentic chinese haven that is KC Cafe. Wellington's only credible late late night dining spot.

A regular site for late night Courtney Place: Former colleagues being arrested outside night clubs...

For a city who's closest chinatown is a three hour and twenty minute flight away, life can become difficult for those who need that late night fix to clot up all the beer and rum and whiskey and egg whites and hendricks soaked cucumber before the next morning rises and reality, that cruel bitch, kneads back in yet again. KC Cafe is the only option for those of us that 'pffft' at the thought of a saw dust laden big mac or vaguely consider a quintuple cheeseburger with a giant battered onion ring on top, but then plummet back to the realisation that burger king stopped doing that sorta thing a long time ago now. for those that are brave enough, there are some bai-marie's at a chicken chop shop just down the road from KC. that could leave you a bit worse for ware than the seven rum shots and absinthe redbull that will be caving your head in the following sun up. TRUST ME.

KC does authentic Northern Chinese Cuisine, with a sporadic mix of Chinese and Malaysian Classics throughout the billboard sized menu that goes from floor to ceiling. You can order anything from the salt and pepper duck heads, to sambal whole king prawns, to chili pork, to, decidedly the go-to dish, braised beef brisket with noodles.  
That bottle of red powerade is now famous in some small wellington circles... and the asian youths are always frolicking around, flaunting that late night sobriety.
I have never been to KC before two am, in fact it doesn't begin to start flooding with customers until around this time. it can be dosed with a line snaking its way through the front tables back towards the entrance at two am. It's better to keep it in mind and stay for a few more drinks wherever you may be, hold out til around four am or after. You will almost guarantee yourself an all desired booth to sit in and the food will come out a lot faster. By this time the chefs are usually taking a rotating beer break in one of the booths while the young children (seriously, like 14 years old! but good with the maths!) that take the orders, are gearing up to close down for the night. You know these cooks are doing this for the love the food. They sure as hell cannot be doing it for the money, their is way too many of them working back there for that. And it is by all means not for all the drunken savages marauding around the restaurant, puking in the women's bathroom, spraying powerade onto the walls and ceilings (oops! sorry KC...), making a downright atrocity of the idea of table manners, yelling, screaming, falling over...the communication breakdowns while ordering at the front counter are uncanny. These young kids working the til couldn't understand you at the best of times, never mind being bacchic and slurring words and changing your mind, while another pixelated mate barking more words at you to convey to them and three people trying to order at once while another one of your mates is trying to clear a table himself making a bigger stupified mess and the whole time that is going on, the really pissed-as mate holding onto your shoulder to stay unbent, keeps repeating to you, 'ask for extra chili on the side, but not just the chili they usually give you but also the red chili sauce too and fresh chili too, don't forget that.' so you see, the breakdown here is on us, not them. Bless 'em. But once that order is placed and paid for, you are in the clear, find that booth seat,  and they will find you with the goods soon.

Once the food arrives, it will be plowed down and devoured like the fantastic mr. fox's we all are. the long distance trip that is dish to chopsticks to mouth can be quite the shit fight. The table slowly turns into an omaha beach aftermath, with many, many valued capsicums, onions, noodles, greens being left behind, in the battle against drunken hunger. It looks a little like this:

Then comes that part of the night when its all over. The elderly chinese man with his red bucket comes along to wipe the linoleum clean of the savagery just bespoke upon it. You feeling a bit more sober, have a good look at the old man and his task and look around the table to see everyone holding in their laughter or shame as frantically as a mouse on the run. 
holding the laughter...not an easy task at this stage of the evening
Cabs are hailed, long walks strutted, mopeds are turned over, the morning comes and there is a brand new sense of freedom for the next evening. Thank You KC Cafe! It's not an easy job carrying the weight of Wellington's late night food upon your shoulders.

1 comment:

  1. welcome to NZFBA, we have added you to the members page!