Vista delights with steak on pearl barley dish

I’ve not generally been very enthusiastic about VISTA the indoor outdoor café in Oriental Bay. I’ve been there frequently enough over the years, never finding much to complain about, but never having a great experience either. At least not until today.

To be fair my low-ish regard for this place is somewhat at odds with the prevailing opinion in Wellington where it is rated highly for food, location, service and general ambience. Certainly it is pleasant to sit outside on a good day and sip some wine, and I have done that.  And inside the food is sound, but not adventurous, but that is not a strong criticism in a town where there are plenty of experimental places if you want that sort of thing.

VISTA is much more about being solid, reliable and predictable. But for my money it was (and is) a bit pricey for what it delivers. Eggs any style on ciabatta is $11, which is at the higher end of town, and with bacon and sausage (or another item) added, you hit $20 and you haven’t got coffee on the table yet.  You get the picture.

Today I had a tapas plate of seared beef on pearl barley, which had been cooked in infused stock with spinach cut finely, topped with a couple of onion rings. These added some crunch to a delicious dish; the barley was flavoursome and the beef was superb. ($17) Enough for lunch but perhaps something extra would be needed for dinner.  Top marks.

Service is professional and unobtrusive; a steady stream of diners came and went and were handled smoothly. Definitely worth a look.

Categories: Dining, Food, and Restaurant.