We’ve been to The Southern Cross (The Cross for short) on upper Cuba Street many times. It’s a venue that is fit for purpose for so many occasions. From being super kid-friendly, the great brunch menu, vegan friendly options, to the open-air courtyard, or the multiple areas to have a private function – The Cross probably boasts being one of our most recommended spots whenever any asks us for a place suitable for whatever their occasion may be.
Recently, we had been frequenting The Southern Cross for brunch or lunch but this time we decided to visit for a summer dinner. The vibe was surprisingly more relaxed than at brunch time, with a little bit less hustle and bustle and more couples out for date night or families catching up for an early bite. We were seated in a small window surrounded area at the front of the restaurant which allowed us to enjoy the last of the evening light and makes for a good spot for people watching too. Cuba Street is such a lively area of Wellington, so there’s always something to see.
We started off the way all good dinners do – with a carafe of wine and some starters to share. The Southern Cross are somewhat famous for their crispy sweetcorn balls, which are deep fried morsels of goodness. Served with chilli whipped sour cream, they are a real treat. We also can never say no to pork belly, so we couldn’t resist the pork belly bites which were cooked to perfection. Accompanied by a sticky chilli sauce, they melted in the mouth and were incredibly moreish.
The art of over-ordering is something that we are quite talented at. After enjoying our starters, we moved onto mains. There’s no shortage of great choices for dinner at The Cross but we are always hard pressed to go past the stone grill. We know that the idea of cooking your own dinner might not be everyone’s idea of a great dinner out but the majestic nature of the hot stone arriving at your table and the sizzle of the protein when it hits the salted stone is nothing short of theatrical. Not being able to choose two options, we both opted for three. One of us opted for lamb, prawns and portobello mushrooms while the other also went with portobello mushrooms but switched out for beef and haloumi to accompany it. The servings of each are extremely generous. Four sizable portobellos, which are loaded with a delicious sundried tomato and vegan parmesan stuffing, three slices of thickly cut haloumi, three prawns and over 180g of meat each later – suffice to say we were stuffed to the brim. Oh – and don’t forget the fries and salad that comes with each stone grill too!
The service at The Cross was very friendly, it felt like we had returned to a place that we always belonged. While it’s attentive, it’s not overbearing meaning your waiter or waitress will check on you to make sure you’re being well watered and fed but won’t hang around too much – which makes for a great dining experience.
We look forward to returning to The Cross for more eats and maybe this time we will leave some room to sample their very good looking dessert menu – we spied the table next to us having what looked like the salted caramel cheesecake and the ginger pudding and based on the yummy noises that came from them – we need some of that in our lives ASAP.