National women’s kite surfing champ Laura Adams talks about why she loves Ortega Fish Shack.
My partner took me to Ortega not so long ago for our anniversary. We met while standup paddle-boarding in Lyall Bay several years ago and that’s the first place he took me for dinner. Standup paddle-boarding is something we’re very keen on. It’s a lovely thing to do in Wellington. We went to Queen Sally’s Diamond Deli for lunch after we met and later to Ortega for dinner.
Ortega’s fish sashimi is just absolutely brilliant. The other thing they do in early summer is fresh whitebait fritters, paired with a glass of bubbly. Delicious. Their seared tuna is absolutely remarkable. My very favourite dessert is the pear souffle.
Davy and his wife Anna are an absolutely lovely couple so the place is always packed with people, but Davy has time to chat with the customers. They know you by name. I think there are a lot of regulars there. They do some clever things, like having the waiters in hand-tooled oyster-shuck aprons, sensible, beautiful garments. There’s usually one beef dish on the menu but otherwise it’s fish. Davey is very talented with wine. He’s influenced me to get a case of something he’s recommended.
Ambience. That’s something the Fish Shack does really well. It has lots of pictures on the walls, historical and well grouped. You go in and there’s a real sense of, not formal dining, but beautiful presentation and full of people and laughter. I go there … frequently.
I have other favourite places. My favourite breakfast place, hands down, is the Greta Point cafe. We often get up quite early and go out on our paddle boards and Greta Point is over the road. They make a beautiful breakfast and great coffee and it’s lovely with the sun coming from across the harbour.
The other place that is so kiwiana is Chocolate Fish Cafe in Shelley Bay. I go there more from the sustenance perspective. We often paddle around the Miramar peninsula or go kite surfing there. We love their barbecued fish sandwiches, the way they barbecue the fish and use good aioli and crispy watercress. I often have two because I think I need it after all that activity. I’m quite slender.
I’m out on the water a lot. It’s quite fun to go to work in a business suit and after work go straight to Lyall Bay and get into my wetsuit and off I go. Lyall Bay is a favourite place for kite surfing, and Seatoun and Eastbourne, and up the Kapiti coast.
Wellington is one of the windiest cities in the world and I can do my sport on a very frequent basis. That’s one of the reasons I live here.
I’m a business consultant specialising in service design work. I came to New Zealand in 2006 from Canada for a year and now I have permanent residency. I absolutely love it. We live in the Lyall Bay area. I started kite surfing when I moved to New Zealand. I was living in Seatoun after I arrived and I saw people flying kites and I thought it looked so intriguing. I grew up in a yachting family in Canada so understand how wind works and I went down to the beach and talked to people.
There are about 300 kite surfers in Wellington and only about six women. I’d love to see more women on the water. I won the women’s championship five years ago and have held it since. The thing I love about kite surfing is that it’s almost like a dance. It needs more finesse than strength. Just being able to fly a kite through the air is so fantastic.
Ortega Fish Shack, 16 Majoribanks St, Mt Victoria, Wellington.
Phone: 04 382 9559
Hours: 5.30pm to late, Tuesday to Saturday. Lunches by prior arrangement.