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April 11, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Cheesed Off: The Kapai Edition

I have always maintained that media institutions have an imperative role in ensuring that marginalised groups have a public voice. Thus, every three weeks, here I am once-more-unto-the-breaching for the tired, the poor, the huddling masses yearning to breathe free. Feta is a marginalised group, right? It must be. I can’t think of any other explanation for the critical under-representation of this cheese. Every time I buy a feta salad I’m sorely disappointed by what can only be described as false advertising. It really gets my goat(‘S CHEESE). Feta is to salads what non-white actors are to blockbuster films: you have to look hard to spot some and even then it’s usually just a token appearance. Thus, the Comparative Feta Salad Study continues and I’m on the QUESO, eating disappointing salads so you don’t have to. This week my journey took me to the BNZ Food Court which is possibly the MASCARPONE-ly place in Wellington that is more depressing than New World Metro.

The BNZ Food Court is on Willis Street. I can’t tell if it’s the below-ground-level thing but it really feels like being in hell. Be-suited corporates sit at benches eating watery curries with plastic cutlery. That JB Hi-Fi smell lingers in the air. In a case much like that of the Tasmanian Tiger, one of Wellington’s last juice bars remains; dreaming of “The Noughties” when pulverised fruit was sold on every corner. The food court is also home to Kapai, a salad bar which apparently sells the Best Salads in Wellington (according to Capital Times readers).

The Suspect: Kapai’s Roasted Kumara, Feta and Cashew Salad.

Cost: $7.80 for a regular salad.

The Feta Weighs: By the time I got this salad home to weigh it most of the feta had simply melted into the dressing. That is how small the crumbles are. Smaller than a pin head. Smaller than a bee’s knee. About the size of Paula Bennett’s heart. After scraping at each individual rocket leaf with a teaspoon (WITH A TEASPOON) I was able to weigh out around four grams. To give Kapai the benefit of the doubt I gave them a ring and asked them how much feta they would usually measure in. (And believe me, Kapai staff measure. With persnickety little scoops.) According to Kapai this salad should have contained a “heaped tablespoon” of feta crumbles. The Rest of the Salad Weighs: 265g.

Prosecution: There’s one thing that’s FONDUEmentally wrong with this salad. Feta this small is EDAM waste of cheese.

Defence: I liked seeing the salad being tossed (get your mind out of the gutter). I liked choosing which dressing I wanted. I liked the small but perfectly roasted lumps of kumara. I even liked that the coriander and the cashews added a tasty, if confused, fusion touch.

Verdict: The jury is out. This might be a good salad… but it isn’t a GRATE salad. Fixing this would be a BRIEze. More feta and in bigger bits. Only then could I be tempted to return to HELLoumi.

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