28 November 2010

Hippopotamus Restaurant

I can't believe how hideously long this blog has laid stagnant. For anyone out there who really wants to know (otherwise just skip ahead), since moving into a new place a couple months ago I've been living (mostly) without internet and TV. At first it was strange, and I didn't know what to do with my time, but then it felt a bit like being on holiday, the days stretched into weeks, and all of a sudden it's the end of November. So here I am, reviving this old thing.

Anyway this post dates back to pre-hiatus times, so I'll do my best to recall. It's from (gasp, yes it has been that long) the Wellington on a Plate $35 set lunch at Hippopotamus restaurant in the Museum Hotel.

I was super excited about the booking I'd made for this lunch, and had hightailed it across town on my lunch break to make it there.

Before our meals we were brought these gorgeous little bread rolls and butter, a lovely surprise. The roll was perfectly round, at once chewy and soft, and I had to restrain myself from taking another one when we were offered more.

For his entree E ordered the salmon carpaccio with shaved Wairarapa fennel and red onion salad, drizzled with tomato and citrus salsa. I was especially excited to see little baby pea shoots adorning the dish, a delicate hint of the (at that time) coming spring.

I had the Kapiti Kikorangi tortellini with creamed leek and walnut froth. Kikorangi is probably my favourite blue cheese, and it paired dreamily with the nutty flavours of the sauce. And again, those delightful little pea shoots.

While I had my sights set on dessert, E opted for a main as his second course, the sirloin steak with port wine jus, fries and mesclun salad. No fancy ingredients for this one, just simply, beautifully executed.

I couldn't resist stealing a bite of the steak. Cooked to a beautiful medium rare, it was juicy and tender, complemented perfectly by the jus.

I was even less bashful about stealing some of E's fries, perhaps the best fries I've ever tasted - incredibly smooth, almost creamy on the inside, with a crispy exterior.

But the highlight for me was definitely this exquisitely presented traditional apple tarte tatin, with vanilla ice cream and toffee sauce. Like the steak and fries, this was hard to beat - there's nothing quite like the basics done well. The pastry was flaky and tender, the apple caramelised to a deep russet colour, the ice cream melting into the hot toffee sauce.

Before we knew it, my lunch hour was over and it was time to haul myself back across town. While it's a bit of a splurge, I know I'll be back (perhaps for their high tea!).

Hippopotamus Restaurant
Level 3, Museum Hotel
90 Cable St

(04) 802 8935

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hungryandfrozen said...

Lovely to see you back...I've only been to Hippopotamus once, and that was for last year's Wellington on a Plate, haha. It was an amazing experience - seeing that steak and the tortellini makes me wish I'd booked myself in again this year!

Anonymous said...

yay for the resurrection of gusty gourmet!

millie mirepoix said...

Laura - Yeah, the steak was perfection. I wonder what they'll have next year?

Mel - Hi!! Thanks!