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The Green Parrot

16 Taranaki Street
New Zealand
Phone: (04) 384 6080
Date of Visit: 10 June 2007

Reviewed by: Sky Heighway, CaptainCowEater, Wellington, New Zealand


The Green Parrot. An iconic restaurant in Wellington, one which every Wellingtonian should experience. Ive long been told to go but never found my self there for a meal. The Green Parrot was opened in 1926 by Mr Eddie, an American seaman who jumped ship in Wellington. It was then taken over by big Tony Marinovich who introduced the basis for todays menu and installed the grill he made from melted down gun barrels still used today. If that isnt tuff and manly I dont know what is. With a host of owners over the decades keeping up the traditions that make it what it is today and a medley of Celebrities such as a L.O.T.R Celebrity party, the All Blacks and Top New Zealand Politicians. The Green Parrot has earned its place in Wellingtons history.

The first thing any one says is, not how good they are, how great the service is or what the quality of the food is like, but how big the meals are. I didnt get my hopes up so that I wouldnt be disappointed if it turned out to be all quantity and no quality. I was not disappointed.

I arrived on time and had been preceded by the early comers. To which we were generally pointed in the direction of our friends. Soon every one had arrived, minus one who had other obligations. I cannot recall if it was delivered or waiting for us but there was bread and butter on the table for us. Which we thankfully ate while waiting for some one to take our orders. With one empty seat (not the one in the photo, thats Nick the cameramans seat) they may have been waiting for the group to be complete. There was Worcestershire sauce and vinegar on the table as well. I wonder if this is part of the tradition, something before Watties Tomato Sauce (Ketchup) became all the rage in New Zealand.

The complimentary bread was sandwich slice white bread, and the butter was cubed at some earlier stage then refrigerated. It collected condensation and then sat in a puddle still hard. Still it didnt deter me from making a hard butter and Worcestershire sauce sandwich or three. Much to the amusement of my colleges. We noticed that the water crafts and glasses were dirty, most likely just water marks but they werent very appealing.

The menu definitely does have character. With some unusual dishes, the kind of harty meals you would expect at a truck stop but with the flare of a top restaurant, and a whole section for Lambs Fry. But we are here for the Dead Cow and I am very impressed. In Wellington one has to search high and low to find many restaurants with more than two steaks on the menu and The Green Parrot has five. Including Rump Steak with Macaroni $24 ($18USD), whats that about? I didnt question it but wish I had; instead I ordered a T-Bone medium rare at $34 ($25.50USD). Other options were Fillet Mignon $32 ($24USD), Fillet $32 and Sirloin $25 (18.70USD). All came with a side of chips and salad except the Rump, which came with Macaroni. Or thought I didnt ask if you get the chips and salad as well. Meals in general were very well priced with mains around $20 to $30.

The Dead Cow arrived after a short wait. I accompanied my T-Bone with a Monteiths Original. I can say it was worth the wait. My Dead Cow was very soft, full of flavour and well seared. Size was most definitely impressive too, just as everyone had said. I received a T-Bone the size of Texas. There were many groans of satisfaction at our table. The salad that came with the meal was very dripping with salad dressing, and the potato salad had a very strong flavour dominated by red onion and dressing. Much too my approval. The steak knives were unfortunately blunt. Though the Dead Cow was so soft there was little need for them.

The wine list was 20 strong. Not the most comprehensive list weve seen but the trade off is good prices. There were only 4 options that could be ordered by the glass. Again this is very limited and a little surprising. In turn the dessert menu was also very limited with only 3 options; Apple Pie, Fruit salad icecream and Chocolate Sunday. We theorised that this may have been part of the original menu concept. Where are the Kiwi favourites; pavlova, sticky date pudding, chocolate pudding or cake?

Seven Steaks and only one over cooked. I would have to say I liked the seats too, very comfortable. Dave put it best when he said the steak alone made the meal. On our way out the manager, possibly the owner, had a small conversation with us and gave us a menu to take as a momento. Im glad I finally went to The Green Parrot, it was all that Ive been told and more. I recommend it to all that have not been locals and visitors alike.


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