It’s so crazy that the year has almost gone. Admittedly I haven’t been feeling very Christmassy. We haven’t had time (or even thought about decorating the house), and we don’t have a tree! But no matter, as we’re about to head to the deep South! But before we do, here’s a little restaurant review. Mr Sly took me out one night to Hippopotamus Restaurant for a bit of a break. Located inside The Museum Art Hotel in central Wellington overlooking Te Papa Museum, the foyer is a fun place to stop and check out– it’s home to an eclectic, contemporary art collection, plus there’s also a cafe/bar located in the lobby if you feel inclined to stop and absorb the surroundings. The last time that we had dinner at Hippopotamus was early last year for our wedding anniversary. It was a busy Saturday night, all of the tables were booked out and the restaurant was hot and abuzz with chatter and waiters flying around the room. This time (a Thursday evening), the atmosphere was comparatively more mellow and we didn’t get overheated. We were directed straight to a window-side table with a view overlooking the museum.
I love that the restaurant completely embraces the hotel’s ‘art’ theme too. The menus are actually on the back of these canvasses. This one is a small print of the original (which is about 3 or 4 metres tall) located in the lobby. The restaurant serves French cuisine, with mains ranging between NZ$35-50 and entrees around $26. To start we were offered an Amuse-bouche of a chorizo/ meatball with a side of a spiced tomato soup.
I have to say that it’s this dish (above) – ‘Salmon Sashimi My Way’ that brings me back to Hippopotamus. The last time I ordered it I raved about I for days wondering when I’d have the chance to indulge again. The salmon is so delicate, and it really is a textural sensation –the sashimi is wrapped in the thinnest slices of cucumber topped with Japanese seaweed (yum), a hint of sesame oil and carefully placed dollops of roe.
For the mains I opted for the Fish of the Day–Pan Seared Groper served with vanilla scented almond crumble, scampi cannelloni and Puy Lentils. Mr Sly went with the Prime Rib of Beef which came with a selection of sauces, oven baked marrow, and lettuce served with bacon and a creamy dressing. We also ordered hand-cut fries and a salad as our sides. While we were reasonably happy with our mains the plates arrived quite cold, and I’m sad to say that the chips were lukewarm, dry and chewy.
The dessert however, made up for it. The Chocolate Mousse with chocolate fudge, gingerbread crostini and bitter orange coulis was a decadent treat exploding with flavour. I have to confess here that I’m guilty of never ordering my own dessert, as a whole serving would be far too much for me, but I loved the crunchy chocolate meringue shards on top. This dessert may have looked small, but it was so rich and definitely best for sharing.
Despite our mains being below par, the dessert was a highlight and won us over. Plus the service is always phenomenal; the staff are knowledgeable, professional and incredibly attentive, and it’s kind of cute that they all speak French!
- Wellington on a Plate (foodbrarian.wordpress.com)