The Hop Garden – Wellington on a Plate 2013

www.misopeckish.comOur fifth Wellington on a Plate excursion after a hectic afternoon where mother nature decided to rattle the earth beneath our feet and the traffic grid locking all over the city, we decided to stay in town to weather out the traffic before heading home.  We decided to visit The Hop Garden which specialises in craft beer.

We arrived shortly before 6pm, the pub was full of social drinkers at the pub not worrying about the events that happened earlier this afternoon.  We were guided to a table and the menu was presented to us.  The menu for Wellington on a Plate looked pretty good so Plus1 and I decided to order the entree and dessert to share and the two different mains.

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On arrival of our wild venison carpaccio with Jerusalem artichoke chips, Pinnacle Grove walnuts and orange dressing, you can clearly see that the carpaccio was still frozen.   We waited a while for the carpaccio to self thaw a little before attacking the dish.    The walnuts were toasted and covered with orange (similar to the roasted sugary nuts you get from the street vendors), which went very well with the venison carpaccio giving it a good sweet crunch along with the jerusalem artichoke chips.    There were dollops of mayonaise which I thought was unnecessary.

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Slow-braised Hereford shortrib with truffled potato, roasted shallots, and pink peppercorn jus.  One beef rib was provided.   Beef was slightly dry, however the jus was tasty,the mash pototoes was smooth and creamy where you can clearly taste the truffle oil.

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Moana Pacific mixed seafood paella with garlic and herb aioli and toasted Cottage Lane artisan bread looked appealing on paper, however taste wise it was lacking everything.  It tasted watery, as if stock was replaced with water to cook the rice, the rice was overcooked  as it did not have the normal crunch you would get from a perfectly cooked paella and it lacked seasoning.   Even after I piled on the salt and pepper, the paella still did not taste right.   The seafood consisted of mussels, pipi’s, prawns and very small cubed bits of fish.    I would have expected larger bits of fish and calamari to be honest.  I did not understand why the dish needed the herb aioli, which came in a separate bowl. the  artisan bread (ciabatta) was toasted on a grill, but was not sure why the dish came with the bread, as the dish itself was quite heavy with the rice – *I scratch my head*

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Whittaker’s chocolate and pecan tart with Gellicious Gelato orange sorbet was delicious.   I could not see any pecans however I did notice there were macadamia nuts.  the tart itself was just right, not too sweet and not too tart (excuse the pun).   The chocolate tart went well with the nuts which gave it a good crunch.   There were 3 mandarin segments on the plate that was cured in something that did not taste so well.

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Our total bill came to $70 for two course menu.

Location:  13 Pirie St, Mt Victoria, Wellington

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