Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I'm beginning to feel like my pre-heartbreak self again, and it's a wave of optimism I'm thrilled to be riding. This blog has led to a number of people who were well off my day-to-day radar emerging through the woods, and as a result I've had some truly lovely emails, messages, comments, coffees and last night one of the most beautiful, memorable meals I've ever had.
Finally, I made it to the Boulcott Street Bistro. A massive part of my heartbreak difficulty has been the fact that much of the fisherman's family feels like my own. Many of them live in Wellington and whilst I didn't have to worry about running into him himself, I still see his family around. One aunt is currently overseas and a reader of heartbreak pie, and very kindly instructed her husband that I needed taking out. He goes to wine tastings organised by the wonderful Regional Wines and asked if I'd like to go along. He casually said that "the one tomorrow night would be good because it has food". Not just food - a 5 course degustation with matching wines in the private dining room. It was nothing short of amazing.
I was always gutted I never made it to Citron, the restaurant of Rex Morgan and his partner Wendy. Rex is now at the helm of the BSB (not to be confused with this BSB) and put together the 5 courses we enjoyed matched with Kumeu River wines. Raymond from Regional asked Wendy whether she thought Rex started with the food or the wine when planning wine match menus. She said he begins with the wine- because that's already in the bottle and you can always change the food.
Course one consisted of prawns, fennel and apple with a mirin dressing. This was my favourite course, and was offset by a beautiful single vineyard chardonnay (Rex came upstairs after the meal and said it's alwaysd the first course people like the most because they're still sober: cue laughter and agreed nodding). I'm not going to pretend I'm a wine expert, but I could follow and understand and taste what both Paul from Kumeu River and Raymond from Regional were talking about. The next two courses were also matched with chardonnay: a roasted duck leg dish and one of finely sliced pork belly. The last time I had each of these I was overwhelmed by the richness and could taste nothing but fat. Rex threw all such misguided views out the window with the delicate balancing of the duck with watercress and chesnuts, and the pork belly with reduced butternut pumpkin and smoked almonds.
We then had a decent break before dealing to a pinot noir matched with venison, peruperu (maori potato) and spiced cinnamon cherries. It was divine. Perfectly executed with flawless service, constant antipodes sparkling water and crusty baguette and butter in between, this meal was something special. As the wine flowed, so too did the conversation between a largely unconnected group of 15. The final course was a munster cheese, which smacked you in the back of the mouth. So strong, it was a double whammy served with a wine Kumeu River named after their mother - Melba. A 2000 vintage, the wine also smacked you around a bit, full bodied and a heavy mix of merlot, malbec, cabernet amongst others. It got fruitier with a bit of time, but by then the wine rep Nick who I was in discussions about the intricacies of hospitality with, had already ordered 2 bottles of Taittinger champagne. What an end to the evening! 5 hours of new people, great conversation and simply divine food and wine. Thank you D & D!
It got me well and truly excited about Wellington on a Plate, and about trying to get to as many restaurants as possible (More than once Nick said 'you've got to get out more!'). I get so inspired eating delicious food, and when I know that there are places like Boulcott Street out there, my already high standards rise even higher. I just don't understand why you'd be in the industry without the highest standards. Everyone has dining horror stories, but what are your most memorable meals? The opportunities are out there. Take someone on a date! And leave a comment about it!
(image from http://manageyourcellar.blogspot.com)
So, I'm happy. I'm beginning to feel like the luckiest girl in the world again. My new home feels like home, which is a relief. So far I've baked cookies, gingerbread loaf, spinach brie and mushroom pie, rhubarb and pear crumble, lasagne - but my camera has been out of action. It's back, and I promise to be more frequent with my ramblings over the next wee while.