BETH BRASH AND ALICE LLOYD, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE, HB, $55
The Cuba Street Project delves into Wellington’s most lively strip and digs up plenty to love. The book’s introduction traces the lifespan of this central-city street, long known as a home to good food and drink: pubs, cafes (or milk bars, back in the day), restaurants as well as greengrocers, fishmongers and coffee roasteries (the first of the latter being the beloved brand Fagg’s, whose clever founder Alfred Fagg sprinkled freshly roasted beans along the footpath to entice passersby.)
So follow profiles of the hospo businesses that currently line the street (with mention of which businesses previously occupied the space), and their people, with beautifully captured portraits and interior shots. A recipe or two sums up what each place does best. These range from the beautifully simple – seven-ingredient, 10-minute pork mince with green beans from Rams Crazy Dumplings – to the more elaborate – Olive’s three-part recipe for white fish with seared scallops, saffron penne, bouillabaisse sauce and asparagus. There’s a decent showing of burger recipes, this being a city slightly obsessed with them.