Finally made my way to the much talked about Ten Twenty Four. Owner/chef is Kent Baddeley of Petit Lyon fame. Have always wanted to try this place a few years ago but never got around to, as Mr Wasabi is not keen on surprises, as the menu changes daily and food is cooked in an impromptu style.
One of the best times to dine here is during the warmer months, where you have the opportunity to dine alfresco or indoors. We took the liberty to dine outside since we seldom have the right climate and temperature to be able to do this back in Wellington.
The menu description leaves a lot of room for interpretation which is Kent’s style as he tends to cook and serve the dishes as inspiration strikes. Where one dish maybe cooked and presented one way, the same dish at the next table may be cooked and presented in a different way, with different plating, accompaniments or garnishes. Certainly keeps the waiters on their toes.
Prawn Salad – One would usually think of a prawn salad as poached prawns on a leaf of lettuce mixed with a thousand island dressing. But this dish was beautifully presented with large translucent prawns scattered in groups of 2-3, laden accompanied by Israeli couscous in the middle of the plate and a zingy vegetable sauce. Fresh flowers provided extra texture and colour to the dish. The prawns themselves are the highlight of the dish – large, lightly poached, virtually raw prawns provided an unusual texture and taste. Mr Wasabi liked the dish very much – resulting in two thirds of my prawns being usurped – which is usually a good sign.
Grilled Truffled Asparagus / Black Garlic Syrup – simple yet delicious. The Asparagus was nicely cooked where it still had a slight bite to them. The truffle oil provided a nice background savoury flavour that was not overpowering that you get at some restaurants. The pickled cabbage provided ab it of texture and colour and a different flavour. The black garlic syrupy sauce was sweet, yet savoury and unctuous. Generous helping of parmesan. Umami heaven if you like that sort of thing, which I do.
Line Caught Hapuka / Prawn Mousse / Phyllo Shitake / Morte Truffle – The hapupka was accompanied by a prawn mousse wrapped in filo and oven baked to perfection, neither over or under done and perfectly seasoned. The macaroni pasta that accompanied the dish with a mushroom sauce was a bit unusual and also could have done with a touch of salt. No salt and pepper provided at the tables – trust the chef to get it right.
Beef Fillet with Blue Cheese Crust – Mr Wasabi had ordered the fish dish that I wanted, so opted for the Beef Fillet. The blue cheese crust reminded me of the crusty topping you get from a Pineapple Bun in Hong Kong, with a sweet, crunchy and savoury topping with a good hint of blue cheese. Accompanied by a baked sweet potato and a very unusual coloured sauce, which I would call a ‘black tar’ – which was also based on black garlic, that was nicely matched with the beef. I forgot to mention how I liked my beef, and the waiter did not ask, but it came out pink and about medium – which was fine for fillet.
Chocolate Ganache / Marshmallow Chocolate Ravioli Choclate Plum Ice Cream – definitely caught me by surprise. I was expecting a ravioli made with something with a marshmallow and chocolate filling. I was was wrong. It was actually chocolate filling housed inside a soft shiny marshmallow casing. Surrounded by dollops of a milky chocolate ganache which was not overwhelmingly sweet, thank goodness. The chocolate plum ice cream tasted more of chocolate than plum. Actually, I struggled to taste much plum at all.
Flat White Coffee – Coffee beans by Hawthorne, a local coffee roaster from Havelock North. Coffee was slightly bitter than the usual Hawthorne coffee I have had in the past. But one thing to mentioned is the accompany biscotti made mostly from dried fruit. Was simply irrestiable. Mr Wasabi is not usually a fan of these as biscotti’s tend to be made with pistachio and he is not a huge nut fan. I could barely get small tasting bite from him.
One other thing to try is the White port served on the rocks. Mr Wasabi was a bit skeptical at first, as he had never heard of port on rocks before. This drink is ideal when dining alfresco on a hot summers day in (the) Hawkes Bay.
Presentation of our meals were very good. I just hate going to places where the ‘food looks better than it tastes’. Ten Twenty Four certainly is not that kind of restaurant. You can be sure that if you dine here on back to back days, you won’t end up having exactly the same two dishes due to Kent’s unique cooking and impromptu presentation style. I certainly will be back with Mr Wasabi, now that he is won over with a ‘blind’ menu.
Location: 1024 Pakowhai Road, Frimley, Hastings