Susie the Sandwich Slayer: Garage Project Taproom

Meet Susie, a fellow sandwich enthusiast and food lover who hails from Wellington. Because we always have our eye on all the things we wish we could eat in the Capital, but are sometimes too far away from them, we decided we needed somebody closer to the source (and the sauce) who could be our eyes and ears, and mouths and stomachs. Susie has graciously accepted the task of visiting spots in Wellington that have a sizable sandwich menu, and slaying every single sandwich on the menu. 

When she's not out slaying sandwiches, you'll find her snacking her way through Wellington's CBD with her camera and writing about it, you can check it out over here

Welcome Susie, and thanks for taking one for the team...

Susie the Sandwich Slayer: Garage project taproom

All words and pretty pictures by Susie Krieble

A newcomer to the bar scene that serves up more than just delicious beers, the Taproom aka 91 Aro aka the Garage Project bar (no, not the cellar door), is fast needing no introduction. The bar is housed in a characteristic Aro Valley villa and sits unpretentiously alongside the neighbouring independently owned video store, café, F’n’C shop, bike store, bakery, hairdresser and dairies. It would be fair to say that the Taproom completes Aro as the ideal vision of (New Zealand) suburbia. As you enter, a cosy narrow walkway and seating area leads you to the bar. In addition to their 20 GP beers on tap – which are constantly rotating to showcase the vast quantity of beers produced – there’s tap sparkling water (a rarity in Wellington), some pretty ace graffiti on the walls, and a food menu.

While you mightn’t have thought to come here specifically for the food, you should. And if you had already, I approve of your behaviour. The menu is co-designed by Shepherd Elliot of Ti Kouka and Leeds St Bakery, and is perfect to graze on alongside a 250ml of Fugazi, or your 400ml of Nitro Angry Peaches. It features pickles (the pickle plate with pretty pink eggs, shiitake ‘shrooms, fennel and carrot is a thing of simple beauty), cheese and cold cut platters, a seriously spicy jerked billtong and - if light snacks aren’t enough to fill the gap - there’s the more substantial piadine sandwiches, or “fancy grilled cheese” as they are listed on the menu. That sums them up pretty deliciously, though it should be added that piadine are made with flatbread and have almost – almost – a pizza-like cult status (there are several notable poems on the foodstuff) in Emilia-Romagna, the region in Italy where they originate. 

There are three filling options on the menu, all carefully curated and toasted to perfection. Each piadina has an x-factor ingredient that made each shine as its own piece of beauty, yet the addition of rocket after toasting clearly connected all three to the same kitchen. We tried them all with some beers to match, as recommended by the super knowledgeable staff who are always keen to help out.

 

CHORIZO, PROVOLONE, AND ROCKET (BEER: BALTIC PORTER)

The chorizo was thinly sliced and its trademark heat matched well with the dark Baltic Porter. The lightly smoked taste of the provolone accented the chorizo’s spice. The cheese was almost as enamoured with the sandwich as I was, and didn't want to let it go. Some valuable time was spent managing the resultant cheese strings. Always a good sign.

 
PICKLED SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS, SUNDRIED TOMATOES, SWISS CHEESE, AND ROCKET (BEER: VPA)

Having been pickled, the earthy flavour of the mushrooms was elevated to be able to rival that of the usually dominant sundried tomatoes. Not that it needed a job, but the cheese acted as a delicious element to bring together these two otherwise competing flavours. The heady VPA stood up well alongside this combo.


PROSCIUTTO, CAMEMBERT, BASIL PESTO, AND ROCKET (BEER: HOPS ON POINTE)

A welcome twist on the no-fail ham and cheese, made fancy with the addition of basil pesto. A very high quality olive oil was evident in the pesto, and the inner layer of the piadina got all greedy with it – though I won in the end, devouring both pesto and piadina. The slightly luxurious flavours paired beautifully with the tiny bubbles and champagne yeasted Hops on Pointe.

If you know of any hot sandwich spots in the Wellington area that you would like to see Susie sample, get in touch and we'll send her there.