by Helen Schaufeld
Wellington is an alternative culture hub. Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that this community of rule breakers is often seen not quite at breakfast, not quite at lunch, but at a bottomless brunch.
Brunch allows us to drink mimosas at 11am on Saturday and be in bed fast asleep by 5pm. The best part? You’ve got over your hangover by Sunday.
Brunch is versatile. Are you looking to celebrate in sophisticated fashion by eating oysters and drinking fancy cocktails? Brunch is for you. Are you looking to eat and drink as much as possible in under two hours for $50? Brunch is also for you.
Unlimited drinks and food can be a fun date to remember or a birthday extravaganza. It is the smart way to party without burning a hole in your pocket, the millennials’ alternative to the classic Sunday roast.
The Garden Hotel (The Botanist)
We all love a mimosa but they can get rather sickly. If you are looking for a wider range of drinks to choose from, go to The Garden Hotel for a $49 bottomless brunch. This garden oasis in Courtenay Place provides five different cocktails – a drink for every season from a Winter Garden Margarita to a Summer Cup (Pimms, ginger ale, lemonade, mint, cucumber and strawberry). \
However, The Garden Hotel it is also now offering a BOTTOMLESS SUPPER! Yes, it’s breaking all the rules. You can now have unlimited drinks and dinner before you head out onto Courtenay Place. Instead of a traditional breakfast you can help yourself to a sirloin steak or crispy pork belly.
Jardin Grill (Fancy Pants)
If you are looking for a more civilised brunch, the intimate Jardin Grill restaurant at Sofitel Wellington provides a deluxe experience. What strikes me as I walk in is the classic furniture and natural light. I would be more likely to take family here than the other venues as it acts as more of a classy lunch.
Your plate will be brimming with freshly shucked oysters, smoked salmon, prawns, antipasto, and delicious cheeses. If you are looking to make this brunch bottomless, unlimited prosecco, mimosas and Bloody Marys can be added for $29. Although altogether this meal comes to $78, the food is the highest quality. You will have the choice of both hot and cold meats as well as a range of exquisite desserts.
The menu at comes laden with freshly shucked oysters, smoked salmon, prawns, antipasto, cheeses, and exquisite desserts.
Flamingo Joe’s (The Girlie Girl)
Pink bar, pink glasses, and pink uniforms. Flamingo Joes on Waterloo Quay is the ultimate restaurant for a girlie bottomless brunch. Only $50 a head, of all the venues this is most “insta-grammable”. The food is as aesthetically pleasing as the décor. A personal favourite from the menu was buttermilk waffles (with berry infused mascarpone, toasted almonds, fresh seasonal fruit served and maple syrup).
The waiters made a real effort to get to know our group and make sure we had all we needed. Looking to do a surprise brunch for a girl friend? Flamingo Joe’s ticks all the right boxes.
The Hudson (The Socialite)
When looking to book a birthday for 30 people, I found myself struggling to find a venue which would have us all in one room. Just when I thought I was running out of luck, The Hudson (in Victoria Street) saved the day. With a balcony onlooking the ground floor, there is a whole area allocated for large groups. For only $49 this is an affordable and accommodating option.
The bar staff attentively kept our group topped up with mimosas and I enjoyed getting stuck into a traditional breakfast. The manager also allowed us to play our own music and were unphased by our 70’s themed outfits. When we started cheering one member of our group dressed as Freddie Mercury as he started singing bohemian rhapsody, they did not bat an eyelid.
Mockingbird (The Summery Senorita)
Once you walk off Courtenay Place and through the bright mustard door of Mockingbird, you will be struck by the sheer colour of the restaurant. This is the perfect way to spend your Saturday afternoon; you will feel like you are on holiday basking in the sun-trapped terrace. There is a modern and funky vibe which is guaranteed to get you in the mood.
The quirky waitstaff fit the aesthetic to a tee. Mockingbird is a summery vegan haven. Although they provide meat options, what stands out are the vegetarian and vegan options such as Vegan Breakfast Burger – Popcorn tofu, hash brown, fresh tomato, facon, cheese, BBQ sauce & bacon.
Say you are looking to do a $50 bottomless brunch as a date, going to Mockingbird is the best course of action. Unlike some of the other restaurants, Mockingbird has a relaxed atmosphere. Food and unlimited drinks on a sunny rooftop terrace? Sounds like the perfect date to me.
So, there you have it, five alternative twists on the classic bottomless brunch. Which one is your favourite? Are you looking for a fancy brunch or a quirky rooftop brunch? This summer you can experience more than one, and save a whole lot of money. If you have never tried a bottomless brunch, this evolving phenomenon is an absolute rite of passage.
Helen Schaufeld has been living in Wellington for nine months after moving here from England.