Empire Cinema and Eatery – Wellington, New Zealand


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Oh, great. I hate it when you take a photo of your food and it comes out blurry because you’re trying so hard not to appear like a dork who takes pictures of every meal you eat (which, I am that dork. I just don’t want to be discovered as such).

This is the newly refurbished Empire Cinema out in Island Bay here in Wellington, which has turned out fantastic! This is the first time I had been inside and actually specifically came to check out the new look (even though it’s been reopened for quite a while now… Just finally getting around to it).

Also, the food was great and the ease of ordering was amazing. I rang them up beforehand to see if they could cater to a Whole30 diet (well, I said no dairy, no grains) and the guy on the phone said “if they can cater to me, they can cater to anybody,” which was really reassuring. When I got there I basically asked straight away if the pork belly could be done gluten and dairy free, and if so, I’ll have that. No messing around, I just want compliant food! We just had to remove the potato bake that came with it, which was smothered in cheese, otherwise I might have left that. I should have asked for a salad or something to replace it, but I was feeling stifled by the need to be so careful since I’m doing Whole30 right now, and just went with what we knew would work. It was just a sliver under enough food, and definitely felt like it needed a salad.

The pork belly was so crispy it practically could break your teeth. Was like chewing on a candy cane or something, which is not a bad thing necessarily. Was delicious. However, the braised fruit and veggies that came with it weren’t so appealing. There were apples (which I wasn’t really going to eat cause Whole 30 you limit the fruit), which were spiced with like a cinnamony sprinkling, but had obviously been stewing for an incredibly long time and just tasted watery and well… Wet… It tasted like wet. Like a dead, wet thing. I’m not a fan of this taste and have had it before, but it’s not that the food was wet, it’s that the descriptor for the flavour was “wet.” Get what I’m saying? No? Then take some carrots, throw them in a pot and boil the living hell out of them for 5 hours, then remove them from the heat. Put them in the fridge for 2 days and eat them straight from the water they were boiled in. Cold and wet. That’s what those apples tasted like. It was strange, because every single other aspect of the meal was amazing.

I would definitely return here, because the food was good overall, and the staff were amazingly helpful. Plus it’s an iconic theatre here in Wellington that I want to see do really well. I love Island Bay and love this little place.

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Posted by: Paleo Plate Raider

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