Friday January 31st 2014.
My wife and I last went to this restaurant in 2011 just after it changed hands – we enjoyed it then, so when we were given a voucher for a 5 course degustation feast we were really looking forward to it. We were certainly NOT disappointed! The accompanying wine list selected by the head waiter as a course match was all by award winning wine maker Villa Maria. He admitted not having his sommelier papers but you would never know by the quality of the matches…
First, the menu, by Head Chef Barry Armstrong:
Liquorice, apple, goats cheese, walnut
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ohiti Gravels Arneis 2013
Golden raisin lime, avocado, salmon pearls, cucumber
Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2012
Trophy (Champion Chardonnay) & Pure Elite Gold +
Trophy (Reserve Wine of the Show) – both trophies given at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2013 (NZ)
Gameford Lodge Duck Breast
Confit leg, courgette, carrot, plum, spice almonds
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Pinot Noir 2010
Multi award winning wine, 5 stars and 96,97 points given over 5 separate reviews and No.1 in my list of all time favourites!
Hawkes Bay Lamb Loin
Sweetbread, black olive, roast garlic gnocchi,
dried tomato, salsa verde, white anchovy
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2007 2 gold awards and a 4 star.
Cardamom burnt cream, rhubarb sorbet, ginger, rhubarb meringue
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Noble Semillon 2011
every single dish combined a perfect balance of flavours and textures to a degree that no single dish either stood out, or failed in any way to deliver a superb dining experience. It has been our experience in the past with degustation menus, there has often been just one dish that was just off key. That was certainly not the case here – well done “Number 5 Restaurant” – 5 stars from us.
As for the wines, they were all extremely enjoyable especially the Semillon but most of all the Pinot Noir!