Friday 30 October 2009

Ascension “The Passion” Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2006

passion I decided I felt like a Sauvignon Blanc this evening, and since I had the Ascension one in the fridge it lucked out.  In fact I lucked out too, since it is a nice drop.

This is a beautiful pale straw coloured wine that, as its name suggests, is strong in passion fruit flavour and a refreshing change from the predominant gooseberry flavour of New Zealand Sauvignon.  There is still a touch of acid present that nicely balances the wine.

To the nose, it has a hint of kerosene and alcohol but it is not overpowering.

Drinking well now.

Monday 26 October 2009

Pegasus Bay 2002 Pinot Noir

I just opened a lovely Pegasus Bay 2002 Pinot Noir from the Waipara Valley in New Zealand. I haven't got to the Waipara Valley yet, but when I do this will be one vineyard I will definitely go to.

This wine has a magnificent toast and dark cherry aroma. Echoing the aroma, this wine has a lovely warming, fruity full mouth feel that is not shy of hanging around for a long time. The colour is a very deep red, almost verging on light brown colour.

This is drinking beautifully now but has the structure to support several more years of cellaring.

A delight to drink.

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Ponsonby Road Bistro

We decided on the spur of the moment to go out for dinner tonight and decided to give the Ponsonby Road Bistro a go, and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  The restaurant had a relaxed but professional ambience and was remarkably busy for a Tuesday night.  The menu was not large, but the variety of wines by the glass was extensive and quite different from the norm.

We started with the Oysters and the Soup of the Day.  The Oysters were beautifully presented on a bed of Seaweed with both lemon and vinegar.  The Soup was unfortunately a bit salty and lacking in flavour.

For mains I had a magnificent Fish of the Day dish which consisted of Gurnard on Indian spiced lentils with cress (I think), which I would very happily order again.  Jane had a Charcuterie plate which had home smoked ham, chicken liver parfait, pickles, fig compote, terrine, salamis and was accompanied by a nice fresh bread.

We finished with some lovely desserts.  I had a Chocolate "Eton Mess" with Chocolate Mousse, Valrhona Chocolate and Dark Cherries.  Jane had an excellent Sauternes Custard with runny Caramel which she thoroughly enjoyed.

We will happily return.

Sunday 4 October 2009

Takapuna Beach Cafe

Last weekend Jane and I went out to the Takapuna Beach Cafe for brunch and had an enjoyable experience.  Jane had been here previously and hadn’t had a great time, but we decided we would give it another go.

This cafe has an excellent vista however the space between tables is too cramped.

I had the Moroccan Eggs which were reasonably good, although not the largest of portions.  Jane enjoyed a Butternut and Halloumi Salad although found it a bit unexpected to have two very large sections of butternut on the plate.

Coffees were excellent as was the Coconut & Lime (I think) Smoothie I had.

As for service, the menus were dirty, but the food and drinks all arrived very quickly.

As for price, you definitely seem to pay a premium for the view…

Arashi Kushiyaki, Wellington

About two weeks ago I went to Arashi Kushiyaki (41 Courtenay Place, Wellington) midweek for a meal with my parents. This was my first time here.  We ordered three of the Set menus and found this to be a decent amount of food at an appropriate price.  The quality of japanese was pretty good although I have had better teriyaki chicken elsewhere. The service was noticeably slow, inattentive and there was a lack of enthusiasm from the staff.

Onion Johnny - Takapuna - Restaurant Review

What we ate:
•Garlic Ciabatta with Kalamata olives - nice to have real kalamatas, the ciabatta was deliciously garlicy.
•Fish of the day with fresh salad & prawns - really enjoyed this, especially the fresh coriander in the salad. Wasn't quite sure about the prawns in the salad being cold, but all the same, an enjoyable dish/
•Duck with scallops - scallops perfectly cooked, duck absolutely melt in the mouth, salad lovely and fresh and delicious
•Chocolate torte - quite rich, sorbet was nice, not convinced that it was the right match with the torte, would have preferred an ice cream or light custard perhaps - the creaminess would have softened the richness of the torte. Or even just a bit more of the berries with it would have been great. Still tasty.
•preserved lemon & white chocolate tart - delciously lemony and tart! The way a lemon dessert ought to be!
•long black - fantastic coffee! and we're picky about our coffees!

Other observations:
The staff were friendly, sometimes to the point of being a little disconcerting, but the service was not bad. Occaisionally things took a little longer that ideal, but only just - as in we'd get to starting to comment about where things were, or when orders were going to be taken and before it became a sticking point wait staff arrived. Not a complaint.
The decor was lovely, and the glassware beautiful quality.

The theme of the restaurant seemed a little bit confused - a little bit bistro, a little bit classy. I'd like to see Onion Johnny stand up and be counted as a decidedly bistro-y bistro!