Pleased as Punch at Daddy-O’s
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you chaps and chapettes this, but Tuesday was an absolute ripper of a day. It felt like the sort of day where Summer stretches out a tentative finger and brushes you on the cheek, as if to say, “There you go, mate, there’s a little taster of what’s to come.”
Which is why I wasn’t too excited to ditch sun-soaked Cuba Street and head in and up to check out Daddy-O’s. I knew only that it was above Abrakebabra, in the space formally occupied by Voodoo and was (perhaps) an American-style diner cum jazz bar. I was expecting a dim, smoky room with a solitary Samuel L Jackson type figure residing over a scotch and an overflowing ashtray.
I was astounded, on ascending the stairs and stepping into the joint, that it was spacious and airy, with the windows open and the sun streaming in and warming the leather seats that the girlfriend and I chose in the corner.
Daddy-O’s is a modern, 1940’s America inspired restaurant and it looks splendid. The layout and look is simple yet unique. The leather corner booths and seating by the windows definitely rings the classic diner bell, but it’s way sharper than that.
The restaurant manager, Ivan, a veteran restaurateur and absolute gent, tells me, “Wellington has always supported the avant-garde, which is why we have the brilliant and diverse selection of restaurants we have in the city at the moment. You should come in here for brunch on Sunday and check out the guy we get playing jazz on the piano, he’s unreal.”
Ivan also tells me he has spent numerous years in silver service dining. “Check out what we’re putting together back here,” he says to me excitedly. He leads me past the kitchen and into a room at the back of the restaurant. It’s the VIP Bollinger Room. “The idea is silver service for ten, with a set price menu for each person, and champagne paid for on top.”
After I’ve had a good yarn with Ivan, the girlfriend and I finally place our orders for lunch. She opts for the Vege Delight burger, whilst I narrowly plump for the fish-tacos over the crab cakes – at the recommendation of our waitress.
There’s a lot of classic American grub on the menu; pizzas named after Johnny Cash and Marilyn Monroe, beef, lamb, chicken and falafel burgers, curly fries, milkshakes and caramelized apple-pie.
Here’s the thing about the food, fellas. It is delicious. I could quite easily descend into paroxysms of profanities over how good those fish-tacos were, with the Trevally in it’s spicy coating, the homemade tomato salsa, and ‘slaw on the side. I don’t even usually like coleslaw, but I could easily go some more of that stuff right now as I write.
The other half loved her vege burger too, although she tried my tacos and said she thought they were marginally better. “Fresh,” she called them, and she was spot on. The fish was light, with enough spice to be interesting but not over-powering. All the meals come with a drink recommendation, and I washed mine down with a Tuatara Helle beer.
We also sampled the gluten-free brownie. It was superb, with an incredible texture and intense rich flavour. The girlfriend was particularly blown away (she has a deep addiction to all things chocolate). She loved it so much that, when the couple next door to us ordered some, she eyed it up and muttered – more to herself than to me, I’m pretty sure – “If they don’t eat it, I will.”
I can’t sing the praises of Daddy-O’s enough. It really is a cracking place to eat, and worth a visit for lunch or dinner. Take a mate or, better yet, take twelve, because at the moment if you bring along a dozen friends then your meal is on Daddy-O’s. Hot damn!