Having recently purchased an Entertainment Book through the social club at work, I am determined to get more than my money’s worth out of it, so I’m going to try and work my way through it systematically.

First up I wanted a quick dinner before bowling, and since I didn’t have the book with me, only the gold card, it had to be somewhere in the ‘fine dining’ section, and it had to be somewhere in the Courtenay Quarter to be near The Lanes. A quick search on their website led me to 88 on Tory Street.

The food is billed as ‘Metropolitan – Vietnamese’, and the menu items are helpfully designated with an M or V to denote their heritage, because obviously it’s difficult to tell where chocolate brownies or rice paper rolls come from. Since I was meeting my sister at 6pm, I was the first person in the restaurant but the waitress was still a little sniffy when I asked if we could move away from a table right by the loud kitchen door to a table in the restaurant proper.

Still, a bottle of Ata Rangi Rose ($36) made things better, as did the prospect of a whole crispy drunken baby chicken with salt and pepper, and a pile of skewers and noodles to be wrapped in lettuce leaves, served with seafood spring rolls. The chicken was delicious, although being so small meant that there was a high proportion of bones to meat. The skewers were likewise very tasty, although the bacon wrapping on the beef was a little unexpected. The lettuce was metropolitanly frilled and in small pieces, which meant wrapping noodles, veges and meat together was pretty much impossible, but a knife and fork proved to be the way to go. The pork skewer was especially tasty and I wish it could be a whole main. We followed our mains with a shared chocolate & coconut brownie which was topped with hot fudge sauce and served with ice cream. It was very tasty, but it felt like a $10 dessert, instead of a $12 one, if you know what I mean. Still, with the gold card removing the cost of one of the mains ($23.50), we each paid $36.50 for our meals, and that seemed very reasonable. I look forward to more gold card adventures.