Last Saturday I had lunch at Matterhorn with a fantastic bunch of visiting (and not-so-visiting) food bloggers, hosted by the lovely ladies from Positively Wellington Tourism and Wellington on a Plate. It was the first day of Wellington's favourite new food festival and I arrived with my stomach empty and my heart full of anticipation. Not only was I excited to meet everyone, but I also had never had a full meal at Matterhorn before, though I've long been a fan of their drinks and bar snacks menu, the cool-yet-casual vibe, the airy courtyard and the live music that's often played on weekends.
We were there for the $35 set lunch that Matterhorn is offering as part of Dine Wellington 2010 for Wellington on a Plate. The concept behind Dine is that each restaurant offers a set lunch (and/or, in many cases, dinner) where you choose two courses plus a glass of Wairarapa wine and tea or coffee. Very exciting stuff, and I perused the menu whilst waiting for everyone to arrive. Soon all nine of us had gathered, introductions were made, coffees arrived at the table and we fell into conversation, naturally, about food, photography and blogging.
I'm a lover of olives, so I was thrilled to see this olive selection with reggiano shortbread ($7). I loved the big, juicy green olives and the little, almond-sized ones (I only wish I knew what the different varieties were!), and I snuck a piece of the shortbread - it was light and buttery with a hint of sharp, salty reggiano cheese.
Most of our group chose the wagyu skirt steak with red wine onions, celeriac remoulade and parsley salad. Peter generously gave me a piece of his steak - it was tender and juicy, and the remoulade was cool, creamy and crunchy.
Most of the others in our group left before dessert as they were scheduled to go to another Wellington on a Plate event, but a few of us stayed on as we still had two desserts coming. And I'm glad I did - this vanilla roast pineapple with coconut panna cotta, passion fruit sorbet & nut biscuit was by far my favourite part of the meal (I can't help it, I have such a sweet tooth!). The pineapple was mellow and syrupy, providing a sharp contrast to the tangy sorbet, the crisp, airy biscuit, and the smooth, delicate panna cotta. If I had to pick favourites I'd have to choose the panna cotta: the coconut added a subtly different dimension and I thought I detected a hint of something cardamom-y in there, though it could have just been my imagination. Superb.
All up, it was a fantastic lunch and a wonderful start to Wellington on a Plate. The atmosphere was great, the food well-presented and the company was delightful. The wines included in the $35 set menu paired well with the meal; pictured above is the Ata Rangi Petrie Chardonnay 2008 and the other choice, the Ata Rangi Celebre 2007, seemed to have been enjoyed as well.
I'll definitely return to Matterhorn soon, not just for my usual pursuit of awesome cocktails and bar snacks but also for their lunch and dinner menu - great for a special occasion! Hmm, I do have a few of those coming up...
106 Cuba St (in between Rex Royale and the comic shop, down a long corridor)
(04) 384 3359
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*if you're not familiar with the following blogs, you should definitely check them out - they have stunning photography and never fail to make me hungry!
A Table For Two (Sydney)
So D'Lish (Auckland)
Grab Your Fork (Sydney)
He Needs Food (Sydney)
Hungry and Frozen (Wellington)
Souvlaki for the Soul (Sydney)