August has been a big month of eating here at Heartbreak Pie. Eating, and drinking and coffees and a little too many post-4am falafel kebabs than my sober-self probably would have liked.
My food blogging failures know no bounds. Irregular postings, badly lit photos, ranting about my drunken escapades and worst yet, not taking my camera to any Wellington on a Plate events. Sorry. Instead you can be imaginative as I explain detail after luscious detail of my Great New York Steak. And you can have a blurry picture of the Rocky Road Memphis Meltdown that my flatmate bought me tonight as compensation.
The tables were set with white tablecloths, and we were welcomed with Lindauer blanc de blanc. I was seated at the bar leaner with two regulars and to accompany our bubbly we were cheerily delivered an amuse-bouche of poached groper wrapped in prosciutto, a pacific rock oyster with champagne beurre-blanc, and a shot glass of truffled potato and leek soup. It was a delight. The truffle came through as a divine after-taste to the potato, but our table declared the groper the winner. The fish was well complemented to the saltiness of the prosciutto and the bubbles also a perfect match. It was such a light, tasteful beginning that I simply was not prepared for the massacre that was to ensue.
I should have been prepared; I'd read that it was going to be a special cut of meat. It was in fact 100 day grain fed, 21 day dry aged, Pure Angus New York Strip, on the bone. 700 grams. Seven hundred grams! Even counting the bone, that's still a massive chunk of steak. And it was beautiful. I'd asked for mine cooked medium-rare. With the first bite you got just enough of a smoky char-grilled taste before the perfectly cooked soft melting centre came through. This was a steak that commanded your attention from the second it was placed in front of you, and demanded your concentration (and elbow grease!) throughout - it wasn't tough though. It was just bite after tasty, tasty bite.
It was served with accompaniments of potato gratin, green beans wrapped in smoky bacon and roast tomato. The beans were a favourite, but the other vegetables were overshadowed by the stunning array of sauces. I've mentioned before that I'm a stickler for condiments and you cannot beat Bearnaise, Green Peppercorn and the classic Tasting Room jus, all served on the side. The friendly banter that the bubbles had brought to our table earlier in the evening was swiftly silenced by what lay before us. Staff walked around with trays of shoestring fries and salad greens, topping up as required. My gratin was swept aside to make way for the sauce-sponging fresh fries - the stitch set in when I went back for round two.
What I especially loved about the evening was that it was more than just a dinner - it truly rose to the occasion of being a festival event. Our glasses were constantly topped up with the 2008 Craggy Range Te Kahu and things couldn't really have gone better. The badly-disguised "aperitif" of Jagermeister shots for our table just added to the sense of occasion really, and by then I'd managed to squeeze in a long black and a grand marnier truffle. I think it was about then that I had to do some clothing realignment but I'll spare you the details. We were lucky our bar seats weren't required for the second sitting, we happily attempted to digest the meal with more wine to help. Well played, Tasting Room. A fantastic night all round and absolutely the best impression of Wellington on a Plate I could have hoped for. Thank you!