With its stylish plywood interior, Island Bay’s newest addition Betsy is a light, bright spot on The Parade, serving hot, delicious coffee and homely baking. It’s also a modern deli with a great range of healthy, ready-to-eat meals and salads to take home.
The morning I pop into this eclectic deli is their first Sunday open and I’ve hit a rare quiet spot. “We were just floored and suddenly had a moment - so good timing!” says owner Jessica Donaldson. The philosophy behind Betsy is “real, seasonal food made from scratch”. And when I start to inspect the offerings, I can tell there will be no trouble choosing what to eat for lunch today!
For the busy Island Bay local, Betsy sells a range of freshly made, take-home meals that are easy, convenient and delicious – such as smoked fish pie, Thai Massaman Beef curry, mushroom and lentil potato-top pie and chipotle cauli mac’n’cheese. These change weekly and feature a range of dishes including vegan and gluten-free options. Meals come in containers suitable for the oven, fridge and freezer. All packaging is compostable and biodegradable.
Also on my hit list is granola with house-made cinnamon, fig and appricot granola with fruit compote and Zany Zeus organic greek yoghurt and summer tomato - two slices with mashed avocado, tomatoes, fresh mozarella, basil and balsamic dressing.
Keeping it local, Betsy serves People’s Coffee, a brand Wellingtonians (and I) love and trust. It also has a strong focus on using local suppliers and organic products wherever possible.
As well as People’s, there’s organic milk and cheese from Zany Zeus and Libertine Blends tea. Bread, used in sandwiches and for sale on Saturdays, is from the Shelly Bay Baker (and is really really yummy!). Nela’s Chai is made in Island Bay, while locally made Esther’s sauerkraut is a popular feature of Betsy’s Reuben sandwiches.
The cabinet is groaning with retro comfort food with a twist, such as cheddar cheese toasted sandwiches (with Parrotdog beer stout and onions on grilled sourdough), chicken, leek and mushroom pies, cinnamon brioche and Doug’s Ginger Crunch – a recipe given to Donaldson by her dad, a former baker. I select a few items and happily can now vouch that the pies and ginger crunch are seriously delectable!
Jessica had a previous life as a designer and has brought this keen eye to the layout of Betsy. The interior is bright and vibrant, with busy staff in cute AS colour striped tees that look smart and edgy at the same time. Flowers bloom on the one main table at the centre of the cafe, as leaners flank the walls. Attention to detail is clear, with pictures hanging on the wall and quirky inside plants settled on the shelves. The feeling is that of a tatsteful friends home, not a cafe. As such, I can imagine why it has become popular so quickly.
Food is ready to take home, or enjoy on the go so everyone can enjoy a bit of Betsy, wherever they are in Wellington. I know that I’m a happy customer as I pop back into my car, excited to share what I have with Matt. I would highly recommend you visit Betsy and see what this deli is all about yourself. You won’t be disappointed and it showcases the best Wellington independent spirit that we love. The food is also fantastic! Bon appetite!
Open Tuesday - Friday 7:30am -3pm and Saturday and Sunday 8am - 3pm.
221 The Parade, Island Bay.