Good Eats

Charley Noble @ Wellington

Charley Noble was the sailors’ name for the galley chimney, which drew the heat from the galley stove and carried it safely above decks. As you can imagine, it was a pretty important piece of equipment in the galley – for no-one wants hot coals or embers burning in the kitchen of a wooden ship!

A British merchant service captain, Charles Noble, is said to be responsible for the origin of this nickname. Around 1850, Captain Noble found out that the stack of his ship’s galley was made of copper and ordered that it be kept bright. The ship’s crew then started referring to it as a Charley Noble! When it got too full of soot, the kitchen staff would fire a pistol up the stack to clear it. This was called “firing Charley Noble”.

Open fire grill

The restaurant features wood fire-based cooking. And it is housed in a historical building in Wellington called Huddart Parker building and Huddart Parker was major shipping line originated in Wellington, hence the reference to Charley Noble.

Shucked to order

Charley Noble features the freshest of New Zealand’s ingredients and produce. Blessed with cold and deep water around the islands, the oysters were outstanding. And the only way to taste fresh oysters was to have them shucked and eaten naked.

Live oysters

I can’t remember the variety of these oysters, but they looked really ugly and round. And when opened, they have this yellow-orange tint and filled with clear brine goodness.

Live oysters

Really fresh live oyster, the oysters shrugged when you squeezed the lemon on them. And the complex taste of the ocean when you ate them. I had to order another 6 to make it a dozen.

Chicken liver parfait

Chicken liver parfait, ham hock jelly, wood fired sourdough – I was sitting at the counter observing the kitchen at work. This has to be the best seat in the house. You get to see the assembly of seemingly simple dishes, but the number of ingredients that go into one dish can be as much 10 different steps. Take this liver parfait, it took freshly grilled liver and then combined with jelly made from concentrate of the hock (a bit like our Teochew 猪脚冻). The dressing was added and the final touches of soft-centred egg and crispy sourdough.

Cos lettuce

Cos lettuce, buttermilk ranch, pink onions – simple coleslaw with a twist. Instead of the coleslaw dressing, it used a much lighter ranch sauce made in house. The lettuce remained crunchy.

Hand picked sirloin

Hand picked sirloin, grass-fed, Prime Angus beef aged for minimum of 21 days

Medium rare

Perfectly done.

Right at the waterfront and a sister restaurant of the very popular Whitebait, it is definitely worth a visit if you are in town. Reservation recommended as it can get very popular.

Charley Noble Eatery & Bar
Ground Floor, Huddart Parker Building, No 1 Post Office Square,
PO Box 25461, Featherston Street, Wellington 6146
New Zealand
Tel : 0508 CHARLEY (242 753)

Date Visited : Mar 2015

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