This is probably the most difficult round up of the year, as I just know I will miss things. There were the perfect oysters at Kennedy Point on Waihiki Island, all the beautiful berries around at this time of year (see a future post!), Sunday breakfasts with fresh bread and Saturday breakfasts with poached eggs, tomatoes of every shape and size and new favourite recipes such as Julia Turshen’s turkey and ricotta meatballs and Diana Henry’s Vincisgrassi from How to Eat a Peach. I tried out some vegan baking (with mixed success) and made the most gorgeous marmalade, rhubarb and rosemary cake also from Diana Henry’s book How to Eat a Peach. We also went out to eat quite a bit.
Back in January we ate at the O’Connell Street Bistro in Auckland, where I dined on oysters, a delicious chicken terrine, pappardelle pasta with rabbit, and perfect little espressos with dark chocolate truffles. We also managed to get to Gothenburg in Hamilton in June, with its tapas based menu with a bit of Swedish influence. We had Toast Skagen (toast, prawns and a real classic), gin soaked Ora King salmon with orange and dill crème fraiche, Swedish styled pork and beef meatballs with pepper gravy and pickled cucumber, and crispy potatoes served with mustard aioli. I opted for some manchego cheese to have afterwards, served with a lovely little bit of honeycomb, while Karl had an Irish coffee. The food is really good, and I strongly advise you to book in advance.
I actually had Toast Skagen twice this year…the first time at Fika Swedish Kitchen, in Manly. Karl naturally opted for the meatballs, mashed potatoes and lingonberries, while I had my longed for Toast Skagen with prawns, dill and lemon mayo with avocado, stacked on sourdough toast.
Staying overseas, we had a lovely meal with friends at We ate dinner one evening at FedteGreven on Store Regnegade in the city. My friends and I opted for some of the small dishes (particularly enjoying the Krabbe Guacamash a crab/avocado combination and the Duroc Carpaccio med Karamelliseret Løg (a wonderful air-dried ham with caramilized onions and truffle mayonnaise). Karl had the steak with the ‘signature sauce’ which got rave revues. A highly recommended place to go should you be in Copenhagen.
One thing I noticed in both Stockholm and Copenhagen was the availability of both vegetarian and vegan burgers in burger places, such as Halifax on Vesterbrogade. The vegan burger was surprisingly good! In Stockholm, ee enjoyed a lovely meal at an excellent Lebanese restaurant, Tabbouli . We went for the 16 small dish option, which had all sorts of things from falafel to hummus to spicy sausages. Finally, in Edinburgh, an old school friend and I enjoyed a seven course degustation menu at The Gardener’s Cottage one evening.
In Wellington, Field and Green has become a firm favourite. It’s one of those places where the food is always delicious, the atmosphere relaxed and the service good. We particularly enjoyed their Wellington on a Plate menu which started with potted salmon, dill and golden raisin scone with chive crème fraîche. The combination of flavours was sublime, the texture of the potted salmon just perfect and I could eat that dish again and again. For the main dish, we both opted for the stuffed confit duck leg with Woody’s Farm pancetta, duck fat hasselback potato, Savoy cabbage and Ōtaki damson gravy. This turned out to be the winning festival dish! This was just perfect eating – succulent meat, rich gravy, melting cabbage. For dessert, I had a scoop of ‘Cold Porter’ ice cream made with Kereru Brewing Wood Fired Toasted Coconut Porter, and Karl had the ‘Bucks Fizz’ sorbet made with Matahiwi Cuvee. A really excellent meal.
Talking of Wellington on a Plate, we enjoyed a burger at the Bellamy’s By Logan Brown, the new restaurant based within the Beehive (ie Parliament). The burger, with the title of The Executive Decision consisted of a whisky dry-aged Wagyu patty, smoked cheese, habanero sauce, caramelised onion and iceberg in a buttermilk bun, served of course with chips.
And talking of Logan Brown …we enjoyed dinner there for my birthday, a real Wellington institution, and a well known landmark on Cuba Street with its bright red door. We had the prix fixe menu, with wine matches for each course. I really enjoyed my oka (Samoan ceviche), served with coconut and lime and taro and kawakawa crisps to start with – just such a perfect combination of flavours, and followed this with risotto a crème caramel, topped with honey-poached tamarillo, granola and manuka honey. It was an excellent meal.
And of course, praise for our locals – Cosa Nostra (especially the gnocchi!) and Tinakori Bistro. Oh and frequent Thursday pizzas at Heaven on Cuba Street. We’re having dinner tonight at Tinakori Bistro to end the year. Looking forward to good eating in 2019!
You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis. As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days. If you want to get in touch, email me on email@example.com