Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Shops we love: Meat on Tory

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Regular WellUrbanites may have gathered that I don't eat in very often, so I don't have much call for grocery shopping. Now that barbeque season is upon us, however, there are times when I need to buy some fresh, raw meat, and vacuum-packed supermarket fodder just doesn't cut it. There's always Moore Wilson, of course, and while Wellingtonians are lucky to have such a fantastic resource, we're not always in the mood to schlep up to Lorne St and battle through the carpark and shopping trolleys.

Meat on ToryLuckily, we have our own very urban version of the traditional neighbourhood butcher's shop. The shelves and fridges of Meat on Tory are of course groaning with meaty goodness, including well-aged beef, dry-cured bacon, prepared meals (such as lamb noisettes stuffed with walnut and mint pesto) and their own range of sausages that offers flavour combinations from the traditional (lamb and mint) to the exotic (tree tomato and bush pepperleaf). But it's not just a carnivore's cornucopia: they also stock Rachel Scott's bread, a small but respectable range of cheeses, and alcohol. Now that's what I call a balanced diet.

You get the sense that this is very much a temple to gastronomy and quality produce. Having knowledgeable staff is always a bonus, and in the way that pubs often have Sky Sport running continuously in the background, they play food-porn videos (Jamie Oliver, Two Fat Ladies) to get you in the mood.

Since the wellingtonist(a) mentioned it back in May, there have been a couple of additions. First, they now offer some ready-to-eat sandwiches (roast beef rolls, bacon butties) to eat in or take away. The shop also now contains a rather good little wine and beer shop called Quaff.

If that last sentence sounds slightly odd, almost as if it's a shop within a shop, then that's exactly what it is. Our enlightened licensing laws have declared it illegal for small delis to sell alcohol (Wine with food? What a preposterous notion!), so Quaff has to be treated as a separate entity.

It works like this: you go up to the mezzanine to select your wine, then come back down to get a sales assistant, then the two of you go back up so you can pay using the separate eftpos machine, then you can go back down to continue your food shopping. It's a process that's more laughable than truly inconvenient, but it shows that despite all the recent liberalisation of our liquor laws, there are still some atavistic legal anomalies to remind us of the times when wine was regarded more as a social evil than as a healthy part of everyday life.


At 10:10 am, October 27, 2005, Blogger Lucius said...

"Wine at marriage festivities, used in moderation, warms the heart, brings into play the kindlier emotions, sets the minds of guests in sympathetic relation to the events, and makes their hearts beat in unison with the glow pervading the bridegroom's breast."

William Salmond, Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy, University of Otago, 1911.

"The apotheosis of private enterprise, families who ploughed, planted, pruned and picked in the vineyard, even planed the planks to make their own barrels, made the wine, chose the labels and sold from the premises, could still hold to a community spirit and an open generosity."

Dick Scott, A Radical Writers Life.

At 10:25 am, October 27, 2005, Blogger Tom said...

"A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine" - French proverb

"There are wicked drunkards; they are people who are naturally wicked. The wicked man becomes abominable, just as the good man becomes truly excellent." - Baudelaire, from On Wine & Hashish

And when I get home, I'll check up the passage in Mythologies where Barthes writes of intellectuals drinking red wine to express solidarity with the working classes. Wouldn't work in Godzone, mate!


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