Since we hadn't made a booking, we were ushered to the bar area to wait for a table. We got two glasses of wine to pass the time and munched on some Whittaker's chocolate samples at the bar. The vibe in the restaurant was really lively and even the bar area was packed with people waiting for a seat. It was also great to see Rex Morgan, chef of Boulcott St Bistro doing his thing in the kitchen, and later on in the evening he went around to each table asking people if they enjoyed their meal, which was really nice.
(left): Wither hills Malborough Pinot Noir 2008 (L) and Spy Valley Pinot Gris Marlborough 2010 (R); (right) menu for 24 Sep to 26 Sep
After a short wait someone came to get us and took us to our seats which was in the darkest room possible, much to my dismay. So apologies in advance for the dodgy photos!
(clockwise from top left): Crispy west coast NZ white bait and grilled asparagus with chopped egg and caper mayo; Fried goat's cheese balls with Manuka honey and kiwi chutney; Venison rillettes with spiced pear and watercress; Lot Eight spiced olives. Citrus cured Regal King Salmon gravlax with wasabi panna cotta (not pictured)
The first course was the Tastes of Wellington shared tasting plate including . My favourite of all the components was the venison rillettes which was chunky and meaty when spread onto the accompanying baguette. Unfortunately the goat's cheese balls and the white bait weren't as crispy as I'd hoped but I still enjoyed both of them, and I managed to score an extra cheese ball since Sir D doesn't like goats cheese. The salmon gravlax had a really nice citrus flavour and the wasabi panna cotta wasn't too overpowering as well. The only thing is that I wished there was more salmon! And my usual arch nemesis, olives, actually went down quite well and I even went for a second olive (but not a third =P)
Horopito seasoned beef with slow roasted tomato and Lot Eight Virgin olive oil potato mash
We were able to choose from three options for the main course, and we went for the roasted groper and the Horopito seasoned beef. Both of them looked amazingly good and tasted just as good as they looked. Sir D claimed that it was the best beef he's ever eaten and admittedly it was cooked to perfection with a nice crust on the outside and a perfectly pink and tender centre. I don't know exactly what the sauce was but we both loved it and used the mashed potato to mop up as much of it as possible.
Roasted groper with smoked Marlborough mussels and green pea stew
The roasted groper was equally as good. A large piece of juicy firm-fleshed fish that flaked away at the poke of a fork sat on top of a delicious smoked Marlborough mussels and green pea stew. Both the peas and the mussels were sweet and there was a lovely smokey flavour from the mussels as well. This plate was also wiped clean as we tried to get every last pea and every last drop of sauce. I was very impressed with the main dishes and was looking forward to dessert.
(left) Mojo Coffee brulee with Whittaker's chocolate and orange mousse; (right) Mojo Coffee
I've never had a coffee brulee before but now that I've tried one I think I prefer it to the normal vanilla creme brulee because of the deep coffee flavours and slight bitterness from both the coffee and burnt sugar. The brulee had a satisfying crack on the top as my spoon punctured the toffee and the inside was smooth and distinctly coffee flavoured. Not being a fan of the chocolate and orange combination I wasn't completely enamoured by the Whittaker's chocolate and orange mousse but this didn't stop me from finishing it since it was smooth, creamy and light like a mousse should be.
We finished with a coffee and Whittaker's chocolate squares. At $29 for three courses plus coffee it's a great deal and given the price I wasn't expecting too much but the food (especially the mains) exceeded my expectations! The pop-up restaurant ran from 14th Sep - 26th Sep 2010 and it seems like it was a success judging from the quality of the food that I had and its popularity. I'm hoping it'll be back next year :)
32 Bayswater Road
Kings Cross NSW 2011
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