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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Visa Wellington On A Plate, 2016.

It is August and the need for baggy pants is here. From 12th- 28th August Wellington is even more about food than usual as Visa Wellington On A Plate takes over the city. This post will be about my eating over the 2 and a bit weeks.

Welcome Home at Logan Brown.

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So, last night I had such a good feast at an event. The event was Welcome Home and at one of my favs, Logan Brown. If you are in Wellington I urge you to go, there are tickets available still for 23-25 August and at $99 a ticket, it was well worth it.

The evening was about eating food from Wellington’s newest ethnic communities. You can read the official story here. I am not going to describe all of the dishes as that is part of the evening but I will leave you with some photographs. This food was between two of us and we both really enjoyed the whole huge meal. Everything was beautiful and I have a new love of rehydrated tealeaves. If you want to see the menu it is here.

 

My first Burger Wellington, Arizona – Danny’s Champion Pheasant.

Arizona’s own pheasant patty with pistachios, house smoked garlic butter, gorged raisins and Capital Produce celeriac remoulade on a Brezelmania saffron burger bun. Garage Project beer match: Hakituri (+ BEER $30)

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I met up with a friend who I hadn’t seen for a while and he suggested a few burgers, this was my pick. I have to be honest and say I was a little bit hesitant about trying a pheasant burger. Pheasant isn’t new to me but I hadn’t tried it for years. This burger is not 100% pheasant, it has a bit of chicken and the pistachios mixed in. This makes for a very tasty patty. The whole burger was good but did have to be eaten fast before the celeriac remoulade soaked through the base.

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The polenta fries were an added bonus, there wasn’t any mention of them on the Wellington On A Plate listing and they were good. The beer was a great beer match. All up, I enjoyed this burger, the beer and bonus polenta fries. It was interestingly different.

Artisan Dining House – Longbush ‘SPAM’ Burger and a Magical Dessert.

Longbush ‘SPAM’ patty with Meat Direct crumbed lambs brain and homemade apple and pineapple relish on a bun, with chilli butter potato peels.

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By golly, such a British thing to say but so fitting for both the burger, the dessert.When I first read the menus for Visa Wellington On A Plate Artisan was the first place I purposely searched for. MacLean Fraser is a chef I admire and know will produce interesting food. No run of the mill patty would appear on this menu.

Today I tried that burger and the amazing potato peels and would give it an easy 10/10. The patty and relish went so well together, the fruit working with the SPAM perfectly and the bun was light and fluffy.

I returned home telling Mr Muffin that he may need to come back with me and fully embrace the SPAM. My ulterior motive being to have the dine menu and that mighty fine and crazy dessert again. That dessert, a bowl arrives looking a tad strange with a layer of white chocolate, warm sauce is the poured on to the chocolate and the magic begins. I will leave my description there as you need to form your own opinion. Only a few days left now, get ringing to book your table -phone 04 462 3770.

I dined with my fellow Brit, Lucy from Wellington Foodies who took the wonderful photos.

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Roman Feast – Visa Wellington On A Plate Event At ARTISAN Restaurant.

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Roman Feast – Visa Wellington On A Plate Event At ARTISAN Restaurant, Bolton Hotel. Executive chef, Maclean Fraser.

When I first browsed the Visa Wellington On A Plate brochure this event sprang out at me as I had recently eaten at ARTSIAN Restaurant and loved the food. A series of events, including my declaration to try offal this year, saw me and Mr Muffin attending. We faced up to the challenge of eating all the things put in front of us and had an excellent time whilst doing so. We throughly enjoyed the whole experience.

Our evening began with a wait in the lobby, a chalice of mulled wine and a trip up the stairs to find the normally rather ordinary looking restaurant turned into a Roman themed eating den. The light was mainly from candles and all kinds of greenery, citrus fruit and grapes decorated the tables. The chairs and beds arranged along the banquet style tables were draped with blankets and cushions. The whole place looked very different to my last visit. The seating was an informal affair and we got to choose where we sat. We picked a mighty fine group to spend our evening with. Two of our party had travelled from Auckland just to attend the event and another pair were from Palmerston North.

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Each place had a name card, I was The Perfect. We soon got talking to our table as the ice was broken with our cutlery being thrown over our shoulders onto the table and the menu presented. It was announced that there were no rules when you dine like a Roman and shortly after that the feasting began. All evening the food was served in very generous portions, the wine flowed and a festive atmosphere remained. Mr Muffin declared that whatever event was to be held at ARTISAN with chef Maclean Fraser, we will be attending it next year.

Where else can you go to an event and hear these lines?

“You have demolished the chicken but you do still have some in your beard”.

“I will take the pigs teeth home for Miss Muffin and the snout for Milly dog”.

“I don’t know what the bits are but I am telling myself they are walnuts……..they are walnuts?”.

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You wouldn’t want to be a vegetarian at a Roman Feast! I have mentioned before that I am not a big meat eater, all that changed at this feast. I ate meat, trotters, brains and various other parts of animal that I probably don’t know about. Best of all, I enjoyed it. It was a great way to leap over the offal hurdle and into the world of a proper meat eater. I feel I earned my badge last night and enjoyed getting it.

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To begin we had delicious warm bread with a side of full fat milk. The hint of honey made dipping the warm bread in milk a little less strange and it was good.

Picentine Panem Picentine bread with milk and honey.

Picentine Panem Picentine bread with milk and honey.

Aliter Haedinam Sive Agninamex Caldatam. Hot goat stew with coriander, cumin and liquamen.

Aliter Haedinam Sive Agninamex Caldatam. Hot goat stew with coriander, cumin and liquamen.

The goat stew came next, it was delicious. The goat was in cubes and there were no bones, previously when we have had goat it has been off the bone. This dish changed my mind and I would now buy and cook with goat. This was a fragrant dish and reminded me a little of Malaysian rendang. The liquamen, we discovered, is a fish sauce used by Romans and is similar to Asian fish sauces.

Porcellum Farsilem. Trotter stuffed with chicken and livers with truffle sauce.

Porcellum Farsilem. Trotter stuffed with chicken and livers with truffle sauce.

I don’t know what I expected but it didn’t look like this in my head. I think I was expecting something standing up and looking rather frightening. This looked far more like a sausage and was a lot more appealing than the picture in my head. However, this dish was still the first real eating challenge of the evening as it was different and the little trotter could be seen. I may have had a little nervous giggle or two. At our table we dug in. It was delicious and amazing. The trotter skin formed a casing for the filling as it had been deboned and then stuffed with the chicken and livers. The truffle sauce was a wonderful addition. It was excellent watching other people eat and how they handled the end. I ate to somewhere near the end of the trotter and others ate around and left a tidy mound of nails and bone.

Pullus Farsilis. Chicken stuffed with spelt, chopped meat, ginger and brains.

Pullus Farsilis.
Chicken stuffed with spelt, chopped meat, ginger and brains.

A whole small chicken was shared between two people. Yes, you read correctly. The chicken was placed on the table and a carving knife stabbed into it. This touch was funny as it was things like this that kept the evening amusing. Every group around us tackled the carving last differently. Some carved delicate slices off, other shared directly from the bird and we cut it completely in half.

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The stuffing with the mystery texture.

This was a big small bird. The stuffing was challenging to some as there were unusual textures. It may have been the brains or simply the spelt. Whatever it was we ate it and a few mantras of ‘it is just walnuts’ could be heard. I really enjoyed it and Mr Muffin was amazed that the taste was familiar enough that he must have had it somewhere before.

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Aliter Porcellum. Roast whole pig head carved banquet style with endive salad.

Being served half a pigs head between three was a very new thing to all. When it was put down it looked like a pretty ordinary cut until your eyes adjusted and realised that yes, that was a snout, there were indeed eyes and you could turn it over and have a good look at the inside of a pigs head.

Mr Muffin played dentist and removed the teeth.

Mr Muffin played dentist and removed the teeth.

Much laughter was had around the whole room as this head was tackled. The pork meat was different and the crackling was excellent. It was very crisp. A member of our end of the table was challenged to eat the snout and whilst finding his way down he discovered that the snout holds some very good secret meat. Next time you are served a pigs head, don’t forget to find the secret snout meat. He also had a little try of the snout. We weren’t that brave and brought ours home for our dog. She loved it.

This dish was the end of the meat courses and we were feeling rather full. Those sitting on beds had a nice lie down and a Roman rest before dessert.

Having a rest.

Having a rest.

 

Before dessert was served dry ice with the scent of vanilla refreshed the air. It felt like it cleansed the palate too.

Dulcia Domestica Et Pira. Wine poached pears and almond stuffed dates with honey and yoghurt.

Dulcia Domestica Et Pira.
Wine poached pears and almond stuffed dates with honey and yoghurt.

This was delicious. I loved all of it. My ultimate favourite was the date stuffed with almond. I expected a marzipan type of texture but it was exactly what it said, an almond in a date. I had to convince others it wasn’t the stone. A few people around us had left when the meat finished (strange, I know) so we helped finish their desserts too. The dessert , served with a glass of port was a fantastic end to a fantastic evening.

Thank you Maclean Fraser, ARTISAN restaurant and the Bolton Hotel.

Dinner At Artisan, Ora King Salmon and I Am Going To Use The Word Sublime.

This week I was lucky enough to go to Artisan Restaurant at the Bolton Hotel in Wellington. I won the dinner via their Facebook page which ran a competition to taste their entry for the Ora King Salmon 2015 Awards. Artisan’s chef, MacLean Fraser designed this amazing dish. I don’t think I have ever wanted to use the word sublime in relation to food, that is, until I tried this entrée.

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Vodka cured salmon, Campari jelly, ginger, pea and radish.

Is your mouth watering just reading the description and looking at the photograph? It should be, this is one sublime dish. The taste of each bite was fresh, tasty and of course, sublime. Fresh is the best description , the jelly did some kind of culinary magic when it was tasted with the extremely  good Ōra King Salmon. The taste of radish cleansed the palate and added a zing.

If you are in Wellington you should seriously think of heading along to the Artisan Restaurant at The Bolton Hotel and trying this.  You can then vote.

This information is from the Ora King website –

“During the 15th June – 30th August entry period, diners/the general public are able to nominate their favourite Ōra King dish. Public nominations are made via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest by uploading an image of the Ōra King dish with the hashtag #orakingawards, including the dish name and restaurant.

The greater the number of #entries the Ōra King dish receives, the more likely the chef is to become one of the 12 Front Runners for the Ōra King NZ Best Dish Award.

Every public # entry will go in the draw to win a $400 dining experience courtesy of Ōra King salmon. ”

Eat, vote and then possibly win a prize to do more eating, excellent.

The rest of the meal very much deserves the word sublime to be used too.

For my main I had –

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Assiette of vegetables, seasonal young vegetables and greens with walnuts praline, pea foam

I chose this dish because I had no idea what it was and it sounded damn fine, it was. My favourite part was the little turnips  and the walnuts. I loved all of my mouthfuls and had to stop myself from licking the plate. My dining companion, Lucy was equally as enthusiastic about her roast lamb belly. We also very much enjoyed the side of salad and devoured the plate of ginger glazed yams with cress, sunflower seeds and radish. They were the best yams I have ever tasted and I haven’t been very keen on them before, I will be trying to recreate this dish.

Even though we were rather full we still managed to make a very good dent on the wonderful (could add sublime) dessert platter. The platter was a selection of the menu and all delicious. A smoked flavour prevailed and it was good, oh so good. I would describe  it as man pudding, it left two women very happy too.

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Thank you Artisan, Bolton Hotel and Chef MacLean Fraser . I will be back. I loved the grown up feeling of the restaurant, the atmosphere and the service.