Martin Bosley is known as one of New Zealand’s finest chefs. His food philosophy is “Eat what’s in season, what’s local, and what’s fresh. We also believe food should please the eye as well as the palate.”
His self-named restaurant is conveniently placed in the Royal Port Nicholson yacht club, which was across the road from our hotel. It is a light and bright long room, with big windows overlooking the water.
While the photo above shows empty seats there was only two spare tables by the time we left.
On Sundays there is lunch sampler menu where you can have an entrée and main for NZ$45. Apparently the dishes are created based on what is sourced from the market that morning. You also have the choice of paying extra for dessert. Or you can go a la carte off the normal menu. I found the normal menu to be confusing, so we went with the Sunday Sampler menu. This limited my choices as each course only had two options, one of which was seafood (this restaurant is a seafood restaurant so I can’t really complain).
So I had the cauliflower risotto with duck liver butter, and then the slow cooked oxtail, reduced pan juices, celeriac mash, bacon chestnuts. J had the other option for each course, which was surf clams with sherry and fennel for entrée and a tuna nicoise salad, potato, green beans, caper, cherry tomatoes, anchovies for main.
The risotto was a good size, any larger and it would have been too much for entrée. I mixed the butter in and the flavour was really good, but the rice itself still had a bit of a bite to it which I am not used to. I have no idea what the brownish red powder was on the side, it wasn’t on the menu, and I don’t think it added anything to the dish, it could have been left off.
J liked his clams, but found he ran out of them too quickly!
The oxtail was very nice but I found it a strange choice for a spring lunch dish. I couldn’t eat it all.
J’s tuna was a lot lighter but he would have preferred some sort of mayonnaise as well as the vinaigrette. And doesn’t a nicoise salad normally include an egg of some sort. Either chicken or quail?
We also ordered a side of fries, we didn’t really need them but thought the presentation was cool.
We both had two glasses of the 2010 Black Estate chardonnay from Waipara.
We didn’t want, or need, dessert so sat and finished our wine while taking in the view.
The menu advises that the restaurant has two of Bosley’s cookbooks available for sale. I asked to have a look at them. The waitress brought the more expensive one over, but it was more fine dining in style and not that approachable. We have books like this already and don’t use them. The waitress seemed personally offended I didn’t want to buy it. But then again, she had had an attitude problem throughout the whole service.
The other staff were great though, friendly, polite and helpful, as they should be. I asked one of them for the other cook book, and after finding recipes in it that both J and I would like to cook we decided to buy it. I asked the nice waitress if we could purchase it and get Martin himself to sign it. Not a problem at all she said, except when she went to get us a copy they didn’t have any left and wouldn’t be getting anymore in. Ah well.
It was a nice lunch but didn’t blow us away like some of the food we had already experienced on our weekend in Wellington.