Totally agree Bart
As it transpired, we left, a little bit chastened, and went and spent a bunch of hard-earned at the ever-delightful Mo's bar and swapped entertaining stories of epic customer service fails on the back of our Masu experience.
So we all had a great night - and the outfit that should have let us out the door eager to tell our friends didnt quite hit the target they intended.
the goat curry
I've been there twice now with groups of Indian colleagues and everyone (except the vegetarians - duh!) speaks highly of that curry. Done 'Indian-hot' naturally. I can't wait to go back myself.
Yay for Mo's bar; I've spent a few nights I can't remember there myself.
One vote for Cocoro. They do a very nice hatching day lunch. :-)
I just want to second Geoff’s recommendation of Sabroso in Rotorua. If you like Latin American food it’s actually worth driving a bit out of your way if you’re on some sort of North Island road trip. (We may have arranged trips to Rotorua based on whether or not they would be open that day. Ahem.)
ETA: I mean, look! http://www.sabroso.co.nz/food.html Who wouldn’t want to eat there?
Friends who eat out more regularly dub it the "Sky City Effect": it's a dice-roll that determines the sort of service you get which is why I am hesitant about trying them out.
With the time limit issue, I come back again to expectations. I have eaten at places that explicitly tell you at the time of booking if you have to finished by a certain time (like some of the more popular yum cha places) and I have no problem with it. But to spring it on you during a meal? That's just rude.
Cocoro buy my truffles, so I'm glad they're being recommended. So do Orphan's Kitchen, and I've heard very good things about them.
In Christchurch, top joint for cheap'n'cheerful has to be The Bodhi Tree. As good as ever in their post-quake Ilam Rd home, I can report that a great three course meal with a very large selection of dishes set a group of 8 of us back $85 per couple (we took our own wine, so the bill included corkage).
Kinji does very good and affordable Japanese, and Joyful in Riccarton is still the best Chinese (and cheap too) despite some flash new competition.
At the top end, I can strongly recommend Jonny Schwass's Harlequin Public House. Jonny and new(ish) head chef Simon Levy are producing seriously good food that doesn't cost a fortune.
I haven't made it over the hill to Lyttleton and Giulio Sturlo's Roots restaurant, but I'm really looking forward to a trip soon.
(But both the last two places use my truffles, so I could be a tad biased...)
Hah, there was (is?) a restaurant in the US where the food is scraped, smeared, painted, scattered and assembled directly onto the table itself.
While I am happy for expensive food to have an artistic impact, I really care more about its taste and the fact it can start entering my mouth shortly after arriving at the table. Preferably sans any performance art from the wait staff.
So yeah, definitely not in the market for that kind of wankfest.
As for interesting food in the capital, I thoroughly recommend Pickle. Modern cuisine, great flavours, not ridiculously priced for what it is. Although it's not a cheap place, by any means.
As it says on the tin, pickled food is a big part of the experience. The cold crisp veggies served with salt and "ash" were amazing. The take on gourmet KFC was hilarious. Everything was delicious, and I loved the decor.
Getting back to Carl Jr, I'm afraid that's one place I won't step foot in due to the US owner's vociferous homophobia. I'm sure plenty of CEOs donate funds to causes I disagree with, but that instance is just beyond pale for me.
I wanted to go to Pickle for my last birthday, but they closed shortly beforehand for earthquake strengthening, and haven't reopened. Like I said before, there are a lot of good places in Wellington that have shut down in the last few years.
food is scraped, smeared, painted, scattered and assembled directly onto the table itself
The restaurant (under two names) that occupied the space now occupied by Bolaven (formally Bowman's and prior to that Chez Daniel (sp)) used to do a dessert that was assembled on the table. Apparently it was both entertaining and tasty and it made for a fun final course to the meal.
I can see how it would work for the last course but I wouldn't be keen for the whole meal.
As the above might indicate restaurants in Auckland do change hands, that makes it quite an achievement for a restaurant to survive several decades eg The French Cafe.
Apparently Chchch is now a diner's delight - with more choice - including Paleo options!
It seems to me that we are currently living in a Golden Age for dining out.
My partner took me to Roots for my birthday last year and it was wonderful. They were able to vegetarianise their degustation menu for us and every one of the eight courses was a revelation.
I tend to avoid high-end restaurants as I find most do vegetarian food quite poorly and I've several times left feeling quite unsatisfied due to the, apparently quite commonly held, belief that a microscopically thin slice of cheese sandwiched between grilled vegetables counts as a substantial meal.
If you are in Auckland, I highly recommend going to Meredith's on a Tuesday night. They only do tasting course menus & on Tuesdays it's wholly vegetarian. Having vegetarian friends who love food, I am mindful that they tend to get shortchanged when it comes to dining out options. So it was really nice to go out to dinner with them where everything on the menu is edible & done brilliantly.
Some of the fine-dining restaurants in Auckland now offer vegetarian degustations (The Grove, French Cafe). I generally find that if you talk to them about your dietary needs when making a booking, most places are accommodating.
We also went to Sidart with the same group of friends. Sidart is another tasting course restaurant but also offer set menus for bigger groups. We told them that half of us were vegetarians, they suggested the set menu option. When we sat down to eat I got a little envious because the food the vegetarians got looked more exciting than mine.
This sort of care & service is why I keep recommending places like Meredith's & Sidart for special occasion dining.
interesting food in the capital
Some of Wellington's best-known bars and restaurants will be at a "pop up city" at Silo Park on June 25 and 26 to show off some of the best of the capital's food and drink, including craft beer and bespoke cocktails.
Shame it is invite only...
We're booked in to Roots a couple of weeks hence. Sending them some truffles today... ;-)
Shame it is invite only…
Yeah - who do you have to kill?
Gourmandingo - Slave to Food!
Yeah – who do you have to kill?
I know there was a competition,
...that's well beyond
'licking' a few stamps!
surely Russell could get you
a 'Feed Blog' Press Pass
so you can break bread
forgivingly with those
who press past against you...
Scientists are reporters, too!
blog or blag your way in...
You know Ian, it is rarely that you do not make my day happier. thank you.
so you can break bread
forgivingly with those
who press past against you…
I had three hours sleep last night and this still made me laugh. I shall never again hear the Lord’s Prayer without a grin.
@ Bart & Hebe
a pun at the tiller...
Life's a work in progress
This new show
'Psalm Enchanted Evening:
a liturgy of lies and laughs'
will be here all season.
(and on the net forever?)
<casual dress ok>
You're a wonderful audience
and I seem to have taken you all home
Keep feeding me lines!
Of all the ways for it be handled, this seemed one of the least effective, and meant that our lasting impression of Masu was not of the terrific food, but of being strong-armed out of the joint after parting ways with our $250 per couple.
I want to belatedly dump on Scotia in Dunedin, where 9 of us spent about $700 at a birthday dinner a few weeks ago. Food was reasonable, but at the end they brought us the bill, a pen, and a calculator and told us to add up what each person was to pay and then come pay it ourselves, they wouldn't do it at the counter individually. Way to spoil your argument that you're one of Dunedin's top restaurants.
And then an argument about a discount voucher which they applied to someone's entree rather than a main, which we won after going home to get the book and showing it to them.
Cheap and cheerful in Dunedin - Cafe Nesli which does great turkish kebabs for $10 - $18. Yum. Almost as good as Paasha for half the price.