Yesterday was our 5th Wedding Anniversary (my word that came around quickly!), and Simon booked us in to Dine for dinner. Now, forgive me while I quickly go and try and find out if it is still "Dine by Peter Gordon", or if it is simply "Dine".... Hmm. Ok, the official website says "DBPG", but Simon did note last night that nothing in the resaurant was labelled beyond "Dine". Either way - at least you know where I'm talking about now.
Lovely big open, simple dining room, beautiful linen, lovely glassware, quite bright lighting compared to most of the places we've been lately, but not harshly so. I did feel the tables for 2 were a smidgen close together - the guy at the table beside us and I kept making rather awkward eye contact through out the evening - most innappropriate seeing as he and his lady were also celebrating an anniversary (evidenced by a chocolate piped congratulatory message on their dessert plate). Anyway, I digress, again!
Service was very attentive, our waiter and sommelier (the same person) was very consultative in her approach, and more than willing to let me taste a wine before serving me a full glass. The one negative comment on the service (and it is picky), I was suprised that the person who brought our entrees out to us needed to ask who was having what - just not something I would expect in a restaurant of that calibre. But it was the only time.
One hilight of the service in particular - the maitre-d (?) who transacted our payment noticed that we only said 'it was ok' when asked how our evening was and he genuinely sought to get more information and was clearly interested in feedback and I felt reassured he would act on it - this is a rare (in our experience) but very welcome response.
This is where our comments about it being just ok come in to play. Firstly we both felt the entrees sounded far more interesting than the mains and sort of ended up planning our meal around our starter rather than our main as we would usually have done. Simon had the stuffed courgette flower - he enjoyed it, but it was nothing special. Beautifully presented - as was everything in the meal - we would not and could not fault the presentation at any point. I started with the tempura miso quail. Again, nice, but nothing 'wow' worthy. And unfortunately my last mouthful seemed to include a large amount of skin (at least, I can only guess that's what it was - the quail was inside nori-like rolls) and this just wasn't a nice way to end the dish.
For mains - Simon had the taste of NZ Beef two ways - and in hind sight we felt this was playing more to the tourist market - one of the two ways was NZ Beef. Just NZ beef eye fillet, cooked more blue than the requested rare (fortunately Simon doesn't mind it blue). The other was wagyu beef done in a more asian style. It was tasty and had notably more flavour than most other items we ate. I had the Tuna with a clam & mussel congee. And again, what was lacking here was flavour. The tuna was nicely cooked, the presentation was lovely, but there were no notable bursts of flavour, it was all quite, for want of a better word, 'every day' from a taste perspective. Which is simply not what we had expected.
We did have desserts. Simon opted for the Vanilla Creme Brulee with olive oil cakes & yuzu sorbet. The sorbet was lovely and full of flavour - yay! The creme brulee was ho hum. And the olive cakes were nice, but he insists were lemon cakes! I had the chocolate parfait with cinnamon marshmallow, espresso foam and peppermint ice cream. Each component was nice, and I experimented a little to work out how well I felt it all worked together, because every component (except the parfait log itself) had a very strong note to it and I wasn't sure about them together - and I enjoyed discovering that they did indeed work together for a really nicely balanced flavour. Enjoyable from a fascination perspective, but I wouldn't order it again.
All in all, we had a lovely evening and appreciated good service and beautiful presentation. We were disappointed to not be wow'ed by any part of meal, but pleased to have someone take an interest in our lacklustre response. Would we return? Not in the short term.