Even though Robin and I are Wellington born and bred, Friday evening was the first time we had stepped inside this famous and long running Wellington eating establishment. The Green Parrot Cafe was opened in 1926 by Mr Eddie, an American seaman who jumped ship in Wellington. It was taken over in 1932 by “big” Tony Marinovich who introduced the basis of today’s menus, featuring the big meals the cafe is renown for. He also installed the grill made from melted down gun barrels which is still in use today.
During the war years the cafe was very popular with American and New Zealand servicemen. The cafe changed hands several times over the years and is now owned by Kosta and Angelo who still offer the traditional 1930s style menu. Well patronised by the general public and politicians alike, it has had many famous people walk through the doors. At the end of filming, Peter Jackson chose the Green Parrot for his “Lord of the Rings Celebration Party”. The large painting hanging on the back wall of the cafe shows many of the famous patrons who have dined here over the years.
When our meals arrived they were certainly the large offerings that the Green Parrot is known for. My groper steak meal was delicious, the fish was moist and just melted in the mouth. Robin declared his sirloin steak first rate, and cooked just as he had ordered it, medium rare. The large meals came with chips, green and potato salads. It was hard going, but we did our best to clear the plates.
The cafe filled up very quickly while we enjoyed our meals, with several large groups coming in. We noticed people walking past peeping in the windows, obviously hoping to spot someone famous inside. We certainly enjoyed our meals, and it was great to finally make it to this iconic Wellington landmark. It took us a long time to get there, but we are so glad we finally did. As we left the cafe, we looked back at the famous Green Parrot neon sign in the dark sky.