Tag Archives: Wine

An anniversary in review

26 March ’13

An attempt at a restaurant review x 2 …

The Lovely Man and I have been married for 21 years.  We decided a dinner out was called for to celebrate this milestone. Our anniversary fell on Thursday, but we already had commitments involving a guitar lesson and a parent/teacher conference.  Friday worked out better all around.

After checking out some menus on line, and tossing up between a restaurant we love and trying some thing new, we settled on the Village Inn Kitchen in the Hokowhitu Village.  We had been to the Village Inn many years ago, but it’s now under new management so figured we should check it out.  Who knows, it could become our new favourite!

Walking across the road toward the restaurant we could here live music.  Turned out it was this guy, Benny Tipene, playing in the courtyard.  Have a listen, he’s really good.

A group of ladies, who turned out to be from Rotorua, appreciated his music. “We don’t have anything like this up there”, one declared.  Somehow that seems unlikely, but I’m sure Benny appreciated the thought.

We were greeted by a friendly waitress who was more than happy for us to sit outside and enjoy the evening with a drink before we sat down to eat.  However she did leave us hanging with out taking our order.  Full of apologies she finally remembered us and brought out dinner menus.  Then a wine list.  Eventually we got our drinks.  My Gewürztraminer was delicious.  (I didn’t note the wine maker at the time, and an attempt to contact the restaurant through their website’s contact form has been unsuccessful.Edit – as luck would have it, four hours after publication I got an answer.  2010 Whitehaven Gewürztraminer – thanks, Lydia)  The Lovely Man opted for a Peroni, the beer we’d discovered and enjoyed in Europe.  Our waitress took our dinner order and left us to enjoy the atmosphere.   It was indeed very pleasant sitting out on the veranda as the sun set on another beautiful Manawatu evening, listening to Benny play his guitar.  We moved indoors when a cool breeze started ruffling the leaves on the trees.

We had our pick of tables, it was a slow night for dinner.  I’d chosen the Prawn Cocktail to start, the Lovely Man just went for a simple bowl of Fries with Aioli.  Our entrées arrived promptly.  I loved the glass that my cocktail was served in. But the dish itself was better.  The tiny prawns were smothered in that pink sauce we all remember from the ’70s,  only better.   It was complemented by a salad dressed to perfection.  The whole thing was gone before I remembered to get a picture.  Which just goes to show that Jem Beedoo is not entirely correct.  The Lovely Man’s fries were crunchy and floury, just as they should be – I had to steal a few to  mop up the remains of the sauce in my cocktail glass.  The portion of fries was too many for one person for an entrée, it really should be offered on the menu as enough for two.

Crunchy chips at Village Inn Kitchen

Crispy fries and aioli

Our mains arrived, again in good time.  However out entrée dishes hadn’t been cleared, so serving them was a little inelegant and  awkward for the waitress.  The Lovely Man had chosen the Strip Loin – he’s a steak man through and through.  It arrived cooked perfectly rare as requested.  He declared it excellent and exactly to his taste, a winner.  The sauce, while tasty was maybe a little Continue reading

Week4 – The Bay

22 – 28 Jan ’11

Wellington Anniversary weekend – a chance for my Lovely Man and I to get away, spend some quality time together while my Mum took care of the kids. “Thanks, Mum!”.  This is a treat we’ve often indulged in.  Late January, you can almost guarantee the weather will behave – almost.  This year we were not so lucky.  The whole of the North Island was inundated with a massive down pour caused by a huge low pressure system.  My plans to get loads of pretty shots of the Art Deco City were quite literally washed away.  Fortunately Napier was not as badly affected as some areas of the country.  But still I had to opt for indoor, out-of-the-rain photography.


The Mission

… should you choose to accept it… –  no, not really.  We’d booked ourselves on a guided tour of three wineries and a brewery for Saturday afternoon.  We were collected promptly from our accommodation by John of Hawkes Bay Scenic Tours * and whisked away, through the imposing gates of The Mission and to our first stop.

The Mission Estate Winery is the oldest winery in New Zealand, started by French Missionaries in the 1850’s.  There’s an interesting video that tells the story of the winery.

The Estate is still owned by the Church, but the site is no longer used as a seminary.  It’s now a restaurant, wedding and conference venue and the host of regular concerts by international artists.

John introduced us to a lovely young lady (whose name I’ve forgotten) who guided us through tasting a range of the Mission’s excellent wines.  And it was thanks to John’s suggestion that I set up and took this shot.     Continue reading