Monte Cervino – I would Order The Same Again.

One of the best reviews I can personally give is, I would order the same meal again. That doesn’t mean I defiantly would, it does mean a meal was damn fine. It also means the whole experience was excellent. At Monte Cervino, I would order the same meal again!

If you are wondering where Monte Cervino is ,because you want some mighty fine Italian food, it is on Tory Street where Lone Star used to be. The space has been altered and changed for the better and it is now a large restaurant with different eating space and a bar area.  When you use the online booking tool you can choose which area to sit in, we went for Open Kitchen, High Tables.

I loved watching the kitchen work and the pizza oven. We both enjoyed the enthusiasm of the staff who obviously enjoy where they work. This was one of those meals where we both left smiling and talking about when we will return.

At the time of writing this there is a voucher on Treat Me .

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We started with the very intriguing soft salami, Nduja Piccante. It had a great kick and was delicious. The pickled vegetables and bits served with it were great. It was easily enough for two.

 

For my main I went with the Nettle Agnolotti, Sardinian goat ricotta, winter greens, whey, butter sauce. I loved the fact that it wasn’t just a plate of pasta but had other bits on the plate. The pasta was perfect fluffy tasty green cloud. I must admit to going over board and ordering the rocket, endive, pear, walnut, salad but I did eat most of eat and enjoyed each mouthful. Mr ordered the Mozzarella Fior Di Latte, you can just see it behind my salad. He declared it the right size for one, he did have the duck fat potatoes but only got 2/3rds of the way through them.

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It is really hard to take a photo of Cannoli on a dark plate, you have to take it from me that this tasted far better than my terrible photograph. This baby was a ricotta, lemon, and pistachio cannoli. This was my first cannoli experience and I am a convert.

All up, we loved our meal. I may have bought another voucher and already be arguing with myself about what to order.

Thanks for reading.

Artisan Dining House- Have You Been?

 

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Silver Fern Farms Reserve beef fillet with beans, mushroom tortellini, consommé and snow.

I am often asked about where to dine for an important occasion or to satisfy that need for impeccable service and exceptional food. When I hear other people answer this question the obvious Logan Brown and Boulcott Street Bistro just about always come up. They are both nice places but Wellington does have other options. One of my suggestions is always Artisan Dining House at The Bolton Hotel. 

Last night we had a wonderful meal at Artisan and I will keep suggesting it to anyone who will listen.

My meal was the entry for Silver Fern Farms Restaurant Awards 2018 and I would call it a winner. If you have an occasion coming up or just need a great meal out you really should go and try this beef dish. I was impressed with how all the components worked together. It really is worth a trip to try this while you still can. Mr had the venison and was equally impressed.

As well as great mains the beer selection and desserts were mighty fine too. I enjoyed the Panhead Supercharger. For dessert, Mr was in heaven with one of his favourites, rice pudding. This rice pudding came with an extra special touch, a collection of do-it-yourself additions as well as quince. I chose the Organic chocolate and cherries with honey and yoghurt and it was amazing. I didn’t share.

 

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Let me know when you visit and try to go soon to have the Silver Fern Farm 2018 entry. Just so you know, it is in the Entertainment Book.

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Saffron Haveli- A Great New Lunch Spot

Something exciting happened on Saturday, we found our city Indian lunch spot! You know where Strawberry Fare used to be, well it is there. They have done it up rather nicely and the chairs are still the same. It is now called Saffron Haveli 

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The menu has some different dishes on it and even at lunchtime, there are plenty of choices. I commented that I wanted to go back this Saturday for lunch and Mr laughed like I was joking, I wasn’t!

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This is one of those places that is located in a little bit of an odd spot and they need you to turn up. Let me know if you do?

I can recommend the Bhurji Paneer Masala and it is going to be hard to go past that dish to try other, I will try my hardest. Mr had the Haveli Chicken Rahra and it was good too, he has Indian hot and it had a good kick to it. We also shared Pani Puri and had fun eating it.

 

 

Salty Pidgin- Ticks All The Boxes

Happy 2018, I know I am a little late. I have been very busy with parents visiting from the UK for a few weeks over Christmas. We had a wonderful time and ate out rather a lot.

I was given the task of coming up with a nice place to go out to eat that wasn’t Asian and a little bit fancy. This was to be our last supper. A few years ago this would have been an easy task, but now Wellington is such a foodies delight it was a little more difficult. I went through the obvious fancy pants places but didn’t feel happy with any of them. Then Mr reminded me of how much I had talked about ‘that place on the corner in Brooklyn’ and the decision was made – The Salty Pidgin. The wonderful photo below is taken from the website.

Taken from the Salty Pidgin's website.

 

The Salty Pidgin is a Bistro. Many places say they are but don’t measure up to the claim. It is casual but smart and the kind of place where it is nice to wear something smart or pretty but not too fancy but to feel like you are going out to dinner. It is on a corner and a bright open spot. In the winter they have a wonderful open fire. All of these nice bits helped me choose but the biggest influence was the all-important menu.

The menu was a winner because it does fancy dishes and pide which is a Turkish pizza. I love a good fancy dish with some tasty sides, Mr and Miss love a good pizza and some fries. My parents are easily pleased.

The other winning feature of the menu is the choice of wine and beer. It is all too common to get either or, not here, they have a good list of both. Even the non-alcoholic pages are good, I had a Six Barrell Soda.

I could go on for ages about how wonderful the dishes were but you need to go and try. I’ll give you a little bit of an idea and ramble on a bit. They have very, very good fries with a delicious homemade tomato sauce. We had these as a starter at Miss’s request. It was a great idea.

The Venison with a side of broccolini.

For main my dad and I both had the venison and agreed that it was delicious and very generous. I do believe I counted 5 medallions of meat. Everyone else went for the pide and were equally impressed. Mr tried the lamb’s shoulder pide and marvelled at the idea and wasn’t very good at sharing. Miss had the tomato and despite the teen angst, smiled. My mum had the beef kofta and was very happy with her choice too. I did manage to try a small bit of each pide and thought them marvellous. However, the venison was my happy place as was the side of broccolini with harissa. We all finished our meals and had desserts.

Special of the night- nectarine and almond clafoutis

The dessert menu wasn’t your usual and between us, we tried the special of the night cooked to order nectarine and almond clafoutis, ginger creme brulee and a very fancy rice pudding. All very lovely and inventive.

The best part was we all left the Salty Pidgin having had a wonderful evening. We couldn’t have chosen a more suitable place and had a better selection of food and drink. I know where I will be going next time someone wants to go out to dinner…… any one?

That is me in the blue dress!

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Wellington- The Burbs And An Awful Lot Of Eating Out.

In the past week I have eaten out rather a lot. I am not going to make excuses because eating out is my happy place. I even didn’t take a photo at every meal, sorry. Sometimes I just don’t want to and I am too hungry or want to get the best bits before someone else!

Tumeric in Tawa

Last Saturday we went for one of our lunchtime curries in our fav northern suburb Indian lunchtime meal deal spots. Now this place is nothing flash but their food is excellent. I still uphold my claim that they have the best paneer around. My go-to dish is kadhai paneer and I love their potato and onion kulcha. They have a lunchtime deal and I think it is $12 for a curry, rice and naan.

Salty Pidgin

I came here during WOAP and have been trying to think of reasons to go back. As I was heading to the movies in Brooklyn, I had the perfect excuse. A friend and I shared the vegetarian pide, the famous crispy cauliflower, chili olives and the most amazing fries. It was a lovely feed and absolutely perfect for a chat and a catch-up.

If I was asked where I would like to go for dinner, without a doubt my answer would involve the Salty Pidgin. I love the place and the food is great.

The movie was a fundraiser and for pudding, we had homemade slices and a bag of lollies!

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Khandallah Trading Company

 

This is our local and by joining their social club I got credit on my Goody App. Mr and Mr headed off to use this up. This place has had some strange menus in the past and now they seem to have gone back to do doing what they do best, great pub food.I really enjoy their burger and Mr loves their ribs. I think you can guess what we had.

Kelburn Village Pub

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The Eating Peeps gang got together to try the food at this pub. I have been for a beer before but not food. We had a voucher and it made the meal and a drink nice and cheap. One thing on the menu jumped out at me and I would go back to have it again, it was the cauliflower and hazelnut carbonara. It was absolutely delicious and as it had a vegetable in it, almost healthy. I would never make it at home as I would be the only one eating it.

Seashore Cabaret 

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Love this place, went for lunch with Miss Muffin. She had a bacon butty, I had the nachos and we shared the curly fries. It was fab, as always. If you haven’t been, you must. I can’t wait to go there with my parents when they visit at Christmas. I think we will go in the evening as you can book then.

So….. that was my eating week and it ended with this beautiful loaf being left on my doorstep.

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Hippopotamus, The Re-run.

A few weeks back we went to Hippopotamus and we didn’t have the best time. The food was lovely but the service didn’t live up to the hype. Many people have been very surprised by this as it is a place known for its fantastic service and food. I had carefully plotted and planned on getting Mr to come for fancy food and he wasn’t left impressed. Last night we went for the re-run.

On entering the restaurant Mr noticed how the atmosphere was completely different. He isn’t the most astute person. Throughout the evening he kept mentioning this fact and remarking on how different the whole evening was. He finally saw what I meant by top-notch service and wonderful food. In fact, when we left he was planning our next visit and declaring it an excellent restaurant for any occasion that could be used for a  dinner out. He found his happy place and got what Hippo is about.

We both left with big smiles and on a food high. Our evening was marvelous.

Thank you for having us back QT Museum Wellington and Hippopotamus Restaurant.

The extras sent from the kitchen were wonderful and a surprise, thank you Chef Laurent Loudeac.

I did take a few photos but I was concentrating far too much on eating and overwhelmed with serious joy at every plate delivered.

I will leave you to read the menu and guess what deliciousness we had.

Sorry about the photos but I really was too busy wanting to eat.

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Wowsers- High Tea at One80.

Fantastic service, fabulous food and we were truly spoilt. One80 at the Copthorne Hotel, Oriental Bay.

I was due to a catch up with a friend and we were going to head out for brunch. I decided that I would love to do a High Tea without reviewing it. I review for The High Tea Society. As One80 had a Grabone for their High Tea and I really enjoyed my previous experience, I decided that the brunch idea was out and High Tea was in.

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I purchased the voucher and emailed a request to go on Saturday. Little did I know, they were not intending to do High Tea that day as they had an event on that evening. However, they booked us in any way, we were given a special table by the window and treated like queens. Not only that, we were the first to try the new High Tea menu. I can report back, it was superb.

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We left full, happy and feeling marvelous.

One80 is the place to go Wellingtonians, the views are amazing, as is the food.

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I highly recommend the new High Tea menu. I particularly loved the Indian influence with the Chicken Keema Kulcha which was served with a mint raita. I may have eaten more than my fair share! The use of hazelnuts in the choux buns had both of us making happy food noises. It was all delightful. There wasn’t one thing on the tower that we didn’t like.

So do it people, head for High Tea at One180.

Thank you for having us Chef Chetan Pangam and team, we had a ball.

Two last photos-

 

The End of WOAP 2017. My Last Burger Was My Best Burger. Carrello Del Gelato and The Borough.

So it is all over. I swore I wouldn’t eat any bread with things in it for a while, that didn’t last. Just yesterday I had a Halloumi Burger at The Chippery and it was lovely.

My final two burgers were good ones. My last burger was my winner, it was mad,  incredible and a brain teaser. Anyway, the final burgers.

The Borough

This burger was good, the patty was really tasty and I could tell it wasn’t just beef. The halloumi could have been a bit thicker so that it tasted a bit more. I did enjoy it t.

I had the burger as part of the 2 course with beer menu. The dessert was a little odd, I love a good semolina cake but this was served with a chocolate ganache. The chocolate ganache was more like buttercream and didn’t go with the cake at all.

The main let down was how noisy The Borough is, I was there with a group of friends and we couldn;t hear each other. The service was also terrible. I felt like we were served by my stroppy teenage daughter. It did amuse us though.

The Borough Garage Burger

Pork and beef patty with fried Zany Zeus halloumi, Garage Project La Calavera Catrina hot sauce, beetroot relish and onion in a Nada Bakery brioche bun, with malt vinegar chips.

Dessert

Semolina lemon syrup cake with chocolate ganache.

 

Carrello del Gelato

These guys get a big title. They won my Burger Wars.

I know, a sweet burger? Yep. It was a very clever burger. It looked so much like a burger and that fact hurt my brain. My mouth kept expecting warm and meat but got cold and ice cream. When my brain got the sweet signals it was very happy.

I was stunned, as were my family. They were a bit silly and didn’t get one for themselves but I gave in and let them try mine. The Clareville Bakery doughnut bun was warm and this made it easier to eat the Cookie-crumbed burnt chocolate gelato patty. Everything about this burger came together, the sauces were great and the ‘cheese’ was the perfect thickness.

I finished Visa WOAP 2017 very happy.

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It’ll Be Sweet 2.0!

Cookie-crumbed burnt chocolate gelato patty with Bohemein white chocolate cheese, smoked salted caramel mustard and raspberry ketchup in a Clareville Bakery doughnut bun.

Alpaca And Basque, Visa WOAP 2017

Bin44 Restaurant

I just made a mistake, I google imaged alpaca and now I feel rather guilty about eating such a cute fluffy beast. One had Trump hair, guilt gone.

As a reformed vegetarian, I have surprised myself several times this year with offal eating and big meat meals. I am now impressed with myself and came home on Tuesday night with bits of alpaca in my teeth. Miss Muffin was not at all amused that her parents ate such a fluffy creature and she refused to partake in this outing.

So, the burger. It was another, ‘is this a burger?’. There was shredded meat and no patty. After a few bites I simply didn’t care, it was bloody delicious. I had questioned BIN44 staff previous to WOAP and was told that alpaca was a strong meat and would be mixed with a little bit of pork. What ever the meat was, it was lovely. A dressing of mango and lime was on the side and went well with the meat. The bun was also excellent and held the burger really well, no soggy bottom at all. It didn’t come with a side of fries but there was a jalapeno popper and two polenta fries on the top. Oh, those polenta fries were dreamy.

All up, this ingenious burger is my winner. A 10/10 for daring, taste, beer match and the whole package.

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Death From Above Burger

Garage Project Death From Above-braised alpaca loin with Brussels sprouts slaw and mango lime dressing in a Pasteleria Sans Rival hop-infused bun with polenta chips

Matched w Garage Project Death from Above.

 

Basque

How have I not been in here before? What a lovely place and very much my kind of joint. It has many choices of beer and tapas, I need to go back.

This burger was another different to the norm, made of cheese and a croquette. I love both of these things. It was a good burger and the fries were fab, really good seasoning. I did feel like the cheese could have been a little stronger tasting and maybe a bit of iceberg lettuce could have moistened it up a bit. It was very enjoyable and I would have it again. We all agreed it had a great burger to patty ratio.

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The Cheese Musketeers

Three cheese: Aged cheddar, Zany Zeus smoked brinza and mozzarella croquette patty, smoked chipotle relish, red cabbage slaw, green tea aioli and jalapeños in a Zaida’s milk bun, with paprika fries (V, NF, Pesc).

Visa Wellington On A Plate 2017 – More Eating.

I have managed to eat at home three times in a week and one of those days I had had a burger at lunch time. I am enjoying eating out but do have that holiday feeling of over indulgence. Don’t worry, I will carry on for the cause!

One thing I have learnt this week is, I do not know how to use my camera in dim light. Please excuse some of my photographs, I tried but eating is more important than the right shot in the dark.

Salty Pidgin

I had a real issue getting photographs in this lovely spot and you will have to just picture the food, sorry.

I’ve been wanting to come here for a while now but just haven’t made it. Now I have, I will be back. It is one of those neighbourhood restaurants with great food and atmosphere. It was really cold the night of our visit and the open wood fires were a lovely touch. Even though Brooklyn isn’t where I live, I would travel and be the designated driver.

This visit was with 4 girlfriends. We had been told we had to order off WOAP menu and get the Crispy Cauliflower, it was very good. I can see myself going back to have that and explore more of the menu.

Festival dish

Oxtail ravioli in rich onion broth with Kingsmeade Manchego, FINZ hazelnut wafer and cress

One of my party had the burger and she enjoyed it. The rest of us went for the Oxtail ravioli. It was delicious. Everything on the plate worked and I considered picking my bowl up to get the last bits of the broth out. It made me want to come home and explore my recipe books for similar dishes.

Dessert

Coconut semifreddo with Fix & Fogg peanut crumble and lime jelly (DF, GF)

The dessert was unusual and not something I would usually pick from a menu. I liked that, trying something different is good. It was certainly refreshing after the main.

I left feeling like this place is a real find.

Southern Cross Garden Bar Restaurant

I met my eating crew here. The burger intrigued us and we had high hopes for something different. Alas, we left unimpressed. We did get great joy out of watching a young man who was struggling with eating cauliflower and he seemed to be doing it to impress a young lady.

The main gripe at the table was the lack of cauliflower, it didn’t fill the bun and this was disappointing. Double what was in there would have worked better. Also, we found the mash very underseasoned and couldn’t see why it went with the burger. Some spicy crispy spuds would have worked better. Our opinions were made clear to the bar and they were happy to get feed back.

 

 

Kāpiti Fried Cauli (K.F.C)

Original recipe fried cauliflower with homemade vegan ‘jack cheese’, mayonnaise and lettuce in a Pandoro Kaiser bun with slaw, mash and Parkvale Mushroom gravy (DF, NF, Pesc, V, VV).

 

Monterey

This was my sneaky lunch time burger with some of my eating crew. Monterey does the best onion rings in the city and I do love their burgers. It is one of my spots for making sure I use the Entertainment Book voucher.

Their burger entry is different from others and it was very tasty. Our eating conversation involved discussing if it could be counted as a burger as it wasn’t a patty. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with the delicious beef or pretzel roll, but is it a burger? If they had this on their menu I would get it again and encourage others to try it for a change.

Oh,  and the fries were excellent. They were nice and crispy with lovely flavours.

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The Steinbeck

Beef slow-cooked in Kererū Moonless Stout with bacon jam, Kāpiti Pakari aged cheddar, jalapeño, crunchy greens and aioli in a pretzel bun, with Cajun fries (NF).

Matched w Garage Project Loral Royale

 

St Johns Bar And Restaurant

I didn’t get any decent photo’s here with my camera either but I did get a decent belly full of food! This was another burger free evening and a very nice grown up meal out. This venue was picked because of the main being something neither of us would have at home, a plate of brassicas. In case you haven’t guessed by the choice of dinner, I was out with another friend and not Mr Muffin.

The main was delicious, a little more of the Zany Zeus halloumi would have been good. It was a lovely plate of nicely cooked veg and dressing. A refreshing dinner in the midst of burger meat!

The dessert was perfect, it oozed in a way that would please even Ramsay. The Carrello del Gelato raspberry sorbet impressed too.

 

Selection of brassicas with grilled Zany Zeus halloumi, roasted lemon purée and kale shards (GF, V)

Whittaker’s 72% dark chocolate fondant with Carrello del Gelato raspberry sorbet.

Queen Of Jackson

Another night out, another burger. We love this pub and often visit before heading somewhere else for dinner. Last night we stayed and ate.

This burger is huge, we saw many people giving up and using a knife and fork. Shame on them! It was squashable and we did the cut in half and use our hand’s method. For someone who isn’t a big meat eater I was worried that I might not enjoy this, I did. My only gripe would be that the bottom of the bun got rather soggy. I loved the pulled pork and came away thinking how I must perfect it myself in the pressure cooker.

I do apologise, my photo could have been better.

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Trump Tower

1/2 pound beef patty with pulled pork in bourbon sauce, cheddar, pickles, iceberg, tomato and Queen Lizzy’s burger sauce in housemade milk bun (GF, NF)