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Where chef Kahlivia Russell eats in Wellington

Photo / Supplied

If you’re lucky enough to have visited Rita, the intimate eatery in Wellington’s Aro Valley (where the Russian Honey Cake is to die for), you might feel like you know Kahlivia Russell already. The talented chef and co-owner spends most days in the kitchen at the historic worker's cottage, perfecting the changing seasonal menu with a close-knit team.

Having lived in Melbourne for six years, working as a young pastry chef in some of the city’s best bakeries, Russell returned home to Wellington in 2019, where she reunited with friends and old work pals from Nikau Cafe (another Wellington institution) who had opened Rita a year earlier.

“It’s been really lovely to return home. It’s the small things you miss that Kiwis don’t even realise we do, from smiling at strangers to having a conversation on the street to a complete stranger. These are the things that make home so special.”

Listing her favourite bars and eateries in the capital, Russell is clearly passionate about uplifting other talented chefs in her community. In August, she will be participating in the Next Gen Cook Off as part of Wellington on a Plate, where the city’s future generation of chefs are sharpening their knives for a series of Cook Offs in partnership with Everybody Eats.

While the exciting local food scene keeps her inspired, Russell is happiest spending her Saturday mornings at her home in Ascot Park, Porirua, enjoying the simple pleasures of her own sage fried eggs by the fireplace. If we had her cooking skills, we probably would too.

Best place for breakfast?

I’m not sure about the best but, definitely my favourite spot for breakfast would be my house on a Saturday morning (well any morning really haha), eating sage fried eggs covered in butter with homemade bread next to a toasty warm fireplace. That’s pretty hard to top.

Brunch on a Sunday: where would we find you?

Eating a doughnut at Café Polo - if you know you know. But for those of you who don’t, Café Polo has the best doughnuts only available on Saturday and Sundays and which sell out understandably fast. A different flavour every week but holy guacamole, they are heaven on a plate. Drooling thinking about them.

Where do you get your morning coffee - and what’s your order?

Not a coffee drinker but on Monday mornings you can find me having a delicious hot chocolate at Café El Porteno in Tawa with what could possibly be the best cheese scones in Wellington. Perfectly warmed and not shy on butter. 

The restaurant you’ve been going to for years?

Burger Liquor! It is definitely one of my most visited spots in Wellington and has been for a long time. It's one thing to make a delicious burger but it's all the extras that make Burger Liquor stand above the rest. The house made sauces, curlies and milkshakes! They really do bring all the people to the yard and damn right it's better than yours.

Favourite place for a drink?

Pretty hard to pick one favourite place for a drink in Wellington with so many awesome places. For a devious wine I head to Puffin, and for a beer on a sunny day you will always find me at Heyday. But my all-time favourite, at any place and any time is a Southward Blood Orange Gin. If perfection existed, it would be in the shape of this liquid gold.

Favourite place for date night?

Having a beer at Little Beer Quarter followed by an incredible flawless meal at Tatsushi. Tat’s has been around since 2012 and even though I lived in Melbourne for six years, this has always been one of my favourite restaurants. Hot tip: always always order what’s on the special board.

Best ‘cheap eat’?

If you find yourself at Abandoned Brewery’s new little pop up in Porirua you may have already found this little gem but if not you’re in for a treat. They have the food truck called Karaage Kid parked up out front and it's bloody good! Korean and Japanese inspired burgers that would give any burger Wellington burger a run for its money.

No items found.
Photo / Supplied

If you’re lucky enough to have visited Rita, the intimate eatery in Wellington’s Aro Valley (where the Russian Honey Cake is to die for), you might feel like you know Kahlivia Russell already. The talented chef and co-owner spends most days in the kitchen at the historic worker's cottage, perfecting the changing seasonal menu with a close-knit team.

Having lived in Melbourne for six years, working as a young pastry chef in some of the city’s best bakeries, Russell returned home to Wellington in 2019, where she reunited with friends and old work pals from Nikau Cafe (another Wellington institution) who had opened Rita a year earlier.

“It’s been really lovely to return home. It’s the small things you miss that Kiwis don’t even realise we do, from smiling at strangers to having a conversation on the street to a complete stranger. These are the things that make home so special.”

Listing her favourite bars and eateries in the capital, Russell is clearly passionate about uplifting other talented chefs in her community. In August, she will be participating in the Next Gen Cook Off as part of Wellington on a Plate, where the city’s future generation of chefs are sharpening their knives for a series of Cook Offs in partnership with Everybody Eats.

While the exciting local food scene keeps her inspired, Russell is happiest spending her Saturday mornings at her home in Ascot Park, Porirua, enjoying the simple pleasures of her own sage fried eggs by the fireplace. If we had her cooking skills, we probably would too.

Best place for breakfast?

I’m not sure about the best but, definitely my favourite spot for breakfast would be my house on a Saturday morning (well any morning really haha), eating sage fried eggs covered in butter with homemade bread next to a toasty warm fireplace. That’s pretty hard to top.

Brunch on a Sunday: where would we find you?

Eating a doughnut at Café Polo - if you know you know. But for those of you who don’t, Café Polo has the best doughnuts only available on Saturday and Sundays and which sell out understandably fast. A different flavour every week but holy guacamole, they are heaven on a plate. Drooling thinking about them.

Where do you get your morning coffee - and what’s your order?

Not a coffee drinker but on Monday mornings you can find me having a delicious hot chocolate at Café El Porteno in Tawa with what could possibly be the best cheese scones in Wellington. Perfectly warmed and not shy on butter. 

The restaurant you’ve been going to for years?

Burger Liquor! It is definitely one of my most visited spots in Wellington and has been for a long time. It's one thing to make a delicious burger but it's all the extras that make Burger Liquor stand above the rest. The house made sauces, curlies and milkshakes! They really do bring all the people to the yard and damn right it's better than yours.

Favourite place for a drink?

Pretty hard to pick one favourite place for a drink in Wellington with so many awesome places. For a devious wine I head to Puffin, and for a beer on a sunny day you will always find me at Heyday. But my all-time favourite, at any place and any time is a Southward Blood Orange Gin. If perfection existed, it would be in the shape of this liquid gold.

Favourite place for date night?

Having a beer at Little Beer Quarter followed by an incredible flawless meal at Tatsushi. Tat’s has been around since 2012 and even though I lived in Melbourne for six years, this has always been one of my favourite restaurants. Hot tip: always always order what’s on the special board.

Best ‘cheap eat’?

If you find yourself at Abandoned Brewery’s new little pop up in Porirua you may have already found this little gem but if not you’re in for a treat. They have the food truck called Karaage Kid parked up out front and it's bloody good! Korean and Japanese inspired burgers that would give any burger Wellington burger a run for its money.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

Where chef Kahlivia Russell eats in Wellington

Photo / Supplied

If you’re lucky enough to have visited Rita, the intimate eatery in Wellington’s Aro Valley (where the Russian Honey Cake is to die for), you might feel like you know Kahlivia Russell already. The talented chef and co-owner spends most days in the kitchen at the historic worker's cottage, perfecting the changing seasonal menu with a close-knit team.

Having lived in Melbourne for six years, working as a young pastry chef in some of the city’s best bakeries, Russell returned home to Wellington in 2019, where she reunited with friends and old work pals from Nikau Cafe (another Wellington institution) who had opened Rita a year earlier.

“It’s been really lovely to return home. It’s the small things you miss that Kiwis don’t even realise we do, from smiling at strangers to having a conversation on the street to a complete stranger. These are the things that make home so special.”

Listing her favourite bars and eateries in the capital, Russell is clearly passionate about uplifting other talented chefs in her community. In August, she will be participating in the Next Gen Cook Off as part of Wellington on a Plate, where the city’s future generation of chefs are sharpening their knives for a series of Cook Offs in partnership with Everybody Eats.

While the exciting local food scene keeps her inspired, Russell is happiest spending her Saturday mornings at her home in Ascot Park, Porirua, enjoying the simple pleasures of her own sage fried eggs by the fireplace. If we had her cooking skills, we probably would too.

Best place for breakfast?

I’m not sure about the best but, definitely my favourite spot for breakfast would be my house on a Saturday morning (well any morning really haha), eating sage fried eggs covered in butter with homemade bread next to a toasty warm fireplace. That’s pretty hard to top.

Brunch on a Sunday: where would we find you?

Eating a doughnut at Café Polo - if you know you know. But for those of you who don’t, Café Polo has the best doughnuts only available on Saturday and Sundays and which sell out understandably fast. A different flavour every week but holy guacamole, they are heaven on a plate. Drooling thinking about them.

Where do you get your morning coffee - and what’s your order?

Not a coffee drinker but on Monday mornings you can find me having a delicious hot chocolate at Café El Porteno in Tawa with what could possibly be the best cheese scones in Wellington. Perfectly warmed and not shy on butter. 

The restaurant you’ve been going to for years?

Burger Liquor! It is definitely one of my most visited spots in Wellington and has been for a long time. It's one thing to make a delicious burger but it's all the extras that make Burger Liquor stand above the rest. The house made sauces, curlies and milkshakes! They really do bring all the people to the yard and damn right it's better than yours.

Favourite place for a drink?

Pretty hard to pick one favourite place for a drink in Wellington with so many awesome places. For a devious wine I head to Puffin, and for a beer on a sunny day you will always find me at Heyday. But my all-time favourite, at any place and any time is a Southward Blood Orange Gin. If perfection existed, it would be in the shape of this liquid gold.

Favourite place for date night?

Having a beer at Little Beer Quarter followed by an incredible flawless meal at Tatsushi. Tat’s has been around since 2012 and even though I lived in Melbourne for six years, this has always been one of my favourite restaurants. Hot tip: always always order what’s on the special board.

Best ‘cheap eat’?

If you find yourself at Abandoned Brewery’s new little pop up in Porirua you may have already found this little gem but if not you’re in for a treat. They have the food truck called Karaage Kid parked up out front and it's bloody good! Korean and Japanese inspired burgers that would give any burger Wellington burger a run for its money.

No items found.
Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program

Where chef Kahlivia Russell eats in Wellington

Photo / Supplied

If you’re lucky enough to have visited Rita, the intimate eatery in Wellington’s Aro Valley (where the Russian Honey Cake is to die for), you might feel like you know Kahlivia Russell already. The talented chef and co-owner spends most days in the kitchen at the historic worker's cottage, perfecting the changing seasonal menu with a close-knit team.

Having lived in Melbourne for six years, working as a young pastry chef in some of the city’s best bakeries, Russell returned home to Wellington in 2019, where she reunited with friends and old work pals from Nikau Cafe (another Wellington institution) who had opened Rita a year earlier.

“It’s been really lovely to return home. It’s the small things you miss that Kiwis don’t even realise we do, from smiling at strangers to having a conversation on the street to a complete stranger. These are the things that make home so special.”

Listing her favourite bars and eateries in the capital, Russell is clearly passionate about uplifting other talented chefs in her community. In August, she will be participating in the Next Gen Cook Off as part of Wellington on a Plate, where the city’s future generation of chefs are sharpening their knives for a series of Cook Offs in partnership with Everybody Eats.

While the exciting local food scene keeps her inspired, Russell is happiest spending her Saturday mornings at her home in Ascot Park, Porirua, enjoying the simple pleasures of her own sage fried eggs by the fireplace. If we had her cooking skills, we probably would too.

Best place for breakfast?

I’m not sure about the best but, definitely my favourite spot for breakfast would be my house on a Saturday morning (well any morning really haha), eating sage fried eggs covered in butter with homemade bread next to a toasty warm fireplace. That’s pretty hard to top.

Brunch on a Sunday: where would we find you?

Eating a doughnut at Café Polo - if you know you know. But for those of you who don’t, Café Polo has the best doughnuts only available on Saturday and Sundays and which sell out understandably fast. A different flavour every week but holy guacamole, they are heaven on a plate. Drooling thinking about them.

Where do you get your morning coffee - and what’s your order?

Not a coffee drinker but on Monday mornings you can find me having a delicious hot chocolate at Café El Porteno in Tawa with what could possibly be the best cheese scones in Wellington. Perfectly warmed and not shy on butter. 

The restaurant you’ve been going to for years?

Burger Liquor! It is definitely one of my most visited spots in Wellington and has been for a long time. It's one thing to make a delicious burger but it's all the extras that make Burger Liquor stand above the rest. The house made sauces, curlies and milkshakes! They really do bring all the people to the yard and damn right it's better than yours.

Favourite place for a drink?

Pretty hard to pick one favourite place for a drink in Wellington with so many awesome places. For a devious wine I head to Puffin, and for a beer on a sunny day you will always find me at Heyday. But my all-time favourite, at any place and any time is a Southward Blood Orange Gin. If perfection existed, it would be in the shape of this liquid gold.

Favourite place for date night?

Having a beer at Little Beer Quarter followed by an incredible flawless meal at Tatsushi. Tat’s has been around since 2012 and even though I lived in Melbourne for six years, this has always been one of my favourite restaurants. Hot tip: always always order what’s on the special board.

Best ‘cheap eat’?

If you find yourself at Abandoned Brewery’s new little pop up in Porirua you may have already found this little gem but if not you’re in for a treat. They have the food truck called Karaage Kid parked up out front and it's bloody good! Korean and Japanese inspired burgers that would give any burger Wellington burger a run for its money.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.
Photo / Supplied

If you’re lucky enough to have visited Rita, the intimate eatery in Wellington’s Aro Valley (where the Russian Honey Cake is to die for), you might feel like you know Kahlivia Russell already. The talented chef and co-owner spends most days in the kitchen at the historic worker's cottage, perfecting the changing seasonal menu with a close-knit team.

Having lived in Melbourne for six years, working as a young pastry chef in some of the city’s best bakeries, Russell returned home to Wellington in 2019, where she reunited with friends and old work pals from Nikau Cafe (another Wellington institution) who had opened Rita a year earlier.

“It’s been really lovely to return home. It’s the small things you miss that Kiwis don’t even realise we do, from smiling at strangers to having a conversation on the street to a complete stranger. These are the things that make home so special.”

Listing her favourite bars and eateries in the capital, Russell is clearly passionate about uplifting other talented chefs in her community. In August, she will be participating in the Next Gen Cook Off as part of Wellington on a Plate, where the city’s future generation of chefs are sharpening their knives for a series of Cook Offs in partnership with Everybody Eats.

While the exciting local food scene keeps her inspired, Russell is happiest spending her Saturday mornings at her home in Ascot Park, Porirua, enjoying the simple pleasures of her own sage fried eggs by the fireplace. If we had her cooking skills, we probably would too.

Best place for breakfast?

I’m not sure about the best but, definitely my favourite spot for breakfast would be my house on a Saturday morning (well any morning really haha), eating sage fried eggs covered in butter with homemade bread next to a toasty warm fireplace. That’s pretty hard to top.

Brunch on a Sunday: where would we find you?

Eating a doughnut at Café Polo - if you know you know. But for those of you who don’t, Café Polo has the best doughnuts only available on Saturday and Sundays and which sell out understandably fast. A different flavour every week but holy guacamole, they are heaven on a plate. Drooling thinking about them.

Where do you get your morning coffee - and what’s your order?

Not a coffee drinker but on Monday mornings you can find me having a delicious hot chocolate at Café El Porteno in Tawa with what could possibly be the best cheese scones in Wellington. Perfectly warmed and not shy on butter. 

The restaurant you’ve been going to for years?

Burger Liquor! It is definitely one of my most visited spots in Wellington and has been for a long time. It's one thing to make a delicious burger but it's all the extras that make Burger Liquor stand above the rest. The house made sauces, curlies and milkshakes! They really do bring all the people to the yard and damn right it's better than yours.

Favourite place for a drink?

Pretty hard to pick one favourite place for a drink in Wellington with so many awesome places. For a devious wine I head to Puffin, and for a beer on a sunny day you will always find me at Heyday. But my all-time favourite, at any place and any time is a Southward Blood Orange Gin. If perfection existed, it would be in the shape of this liquid gold.

Favourite place for date night?

Having a beer at Little Beer Quarter followed by an incredible flawless meal at Tatsushi. Tat’s has been around since 2012 and even though I lived in Melbourne for six years, this has always been one of my favourite restaurants. Hot tip: always always order what’s on the special board.

Best ‘cheap eat’?

If you find yourself at Abandoned Brewery’s new little pop up in Porirua you may have already found this little gem but if not you’re in for a treat. They have the food truck called Karaage Kid parked up out front and it's bloody good! Korean and Japanese inspired burgers that would give any burger Wellington burger a run for its money.

No items found.
Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program

Where chef Kahlivia Russell eats in Wellington

Photo / Supplied

If you’re lucky enough to have visited Rita, the intimate eatery in Wellington’s Aro Valley (where the Russian Honey Cake is to die for), you might feel like you know Kahlivia Russell already. The talented chef and co-owner spends most days in the kitchen at the historic worker's cottage, perfecting the changing seasonal menu with a close-knit team.

Having lived in Melbourne for six years, working as a young pastry chef in some of the city’s best bakeries, Russell returned home to Wellington in 2019, where she reunited with friends and old work pals from Nikau Cafe (another Wellington institution) who had opened Rita a year earlier.

“It’s been really lovely to return home. It’s the small things you miss that Kiwis don’t even realise we do, from smiling at strangers to having a conversation on the street to a complete stranger. These are the things that make home so special.”

Listing her favourite bars and eateries in the capital, Russell is clearly passionate about uplifting other talented chefs in her community. In August, she will be participating in the Next Gen Cook Off as part of Wellington on a Plate, where the city’s future generation of chefs are sharpening their knives for a series of Cook Offs in partnership with Everybody Eats.

While the exciting local food scene keeps her inspired, Russell is happiest spending her Saturday mornings at her home in Ascot Park, Porirua, enjoying the simple pleasures of her own sage fried eggs by the fireplace. If we had her cooking skills, we probably would too.

Best place for breakfast?

I’m not sure about the best but, definitely my favourite spot for breakfast would be my house on a Saturday morning (well any morning really haha), eating sage fried eggs covered in butter with homemade bread next to a toasty warm fireplace. That’s pretty hard to top.

Brunch on a Sunday: where would we find you?

Eating a doughnut at Café Polo - if you know you know. But for those of you who don’t, Café Polo has the best doughnuts only available on Saturday and Sundays and which sell out understandably fast. A different flavour every week but holy guacamole, they are heaven on a plate. Drooling thinking about them.

Where do you get your morning coffee - and what’s your order?

Not a coffee drinker but on Monday mornings you can find me having a delicious hot chocolate at Café El Porteno in Tawa with what could possibly be the best cheese scones in Wellington. Perfectly warmed and not shy on butter. 

The restaurant you’ve been going to for years?

Burger Liquor! It is definitely one of my most visited spots in Wellington and has been for a long time. It's one thing to make a delicious burger but it's all the extras that make Burger Liquor stand above the rest. The house made sauces, curlies and milkshakes! They really do bring all the people to the yard and damn right it's better than yours.

Favourite place for a drink?

Pretty hard to pick one favourite place for a drink in Wellington with so many awesome places. For a devious wine I head to Puffin, and for a beer on a sunny day you will always find me at Heyday. But my all-time favourite, at any place and any time is a Southward Blood Orange Gin. If perfection existed, it would be in the shape of this liquid gold.

Favourite place for date night?

Having a beer at Little Beer Quarter followed by an incredible flawless meal at Tatsushi. Tat’s has been around since 2012 and even though I lived in Melbourne for six years, this has always been one of my favourite restaurants. Hot tip: always always order what’s on the special board.

Best ‘cheap eat’?

If you find yourself at Abandoned Brewery’s new little pop up in Porirua you may have already found this little gem but if not you’re in for a treat. They have the food truck called Karaage Kid parked up out front and it's bloody good! Korean and Japanese inspired burgers that would give any burger Wellington burger a run for its money.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.