The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

WOP: Eating the other cheek

by Joanna on August 13, 2011 in Food & Drink

Miss Hungry & Frozen said the other day “I think cheeks are the new shanks”. Reading various Dine menus for Wellington on Plate, they are indeed everywhere. You won’t hear a complaint about that from me. Instead, you get to read about how I had beef cheeks for lunch and then dinner on Thursday.

Atlanta

beef cheeks at AtlantaThe Terrace is not normally a place I would visit for the primary purpose of eating, but as I had an appointment there and then some time to kill, I saw a Wellington on a Plate sign out, so I looked up what Atlanta were offering, and decided that I wanted to go to there. It was 11.30am at the time, so the lovely waitress said the kitchen wouldn’t be ready for about another 15 minutes. That was fine with me, so she brought me a paper and my glass of Julicher Sav Blanc. I chose the tomato, bean and chorizo soup, which was accompanied by some of the nicest bread I’ve had in ages. They’d lose a couple of style points for the butter being in one of those little packs, except I suppose it makes sense for a cafe that does a roaring trade in takeout coffee and muffins. The soup itself had a bit of spice to it, and was a nice thing to eat on a cold day. Then it was time for the beef cheeks. They came out in a shimmering pool of gravy, with what called itself four-cheese polenta cake. The cheeks were lovely. Cooked for 24 hours, they fell to shreds with the poke of a spoon. Rich, gelatinous and delicious, comfort food at its best. The polenta, meanwhile, was strangely tasteless, the only cheese noticeable was that melted on top, which was like a supermarket edam. Luckily, the gravy was so flavoursome.  At $25, it was a very good meal, with lovely service. If you’re near the Terrace and looking to get warmed up from the inside, I’d recommend this meal.

Bettys [sic]

Wild venison pieI’m glad I was smart enough to book for Bettys, as the Cocktail Canape Crawl was in that night as well. Bettys is predominantly a bar, but they do great food as well, out of the Hummingbird kitchen. The only menu they were offering was the Wellington on a Plate selection, but as long as you’re a carnivore, you’re going to be well happy. Our beef cheek ravioli took an awfully long time to arrive, but our waitress was really apologetic, and we had the everchanging video walls to watch, and delicious Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir to sip, so we did okay. The ravioli was served as a single piece, oozing out the chestnut puree. The Angus beef cheek filling was tasty, but not particularly cheeky – it could have been any kind of slowcooked beef in that form, really.

But the main course, oh my god oh my god oh my god! Again, it took ages to come out – apparently the Hummingbird kitchen was slammed, but oh wow, it was worth the wait for our Tararua Ranges wild venison pie with parsnip purée and braised red cabbage. The pastry was flakey and crunchy and melty all at once, and didn’t go soggy when you poured (probably unnecessary) extra gravy over it. The venison was full of rich gamey flavour, and was absolutely tender and just amazing. The parsnip puree and braised red cabbage were perfect accompaniments, and it all went wonderfully with the wine match. Every mouthful was bliss. I am drooling now just writing about it. This pie will be on my mind for a long time, I can tell you.

We also ordered dessert for an extra $10, chocolate tart with lovely cherries, which arrived quickly. The dark chocolate tart was a little salty as an extra treat, and served with sweetened cream since it was quite bittersweet. Again, delicious, one of the best chocolate tarts I’ve had. It would have been great with the wine, if I’d had any of my generous pour left. So so good, I cannot recommend this meal enough. Get there ASAP because there aren’t a lot of tables, and Bettys is only open from Wednesday-Sunday. Just be aware that because it is mostly a bar, it’s fairly loud so not ideal for those who are hard of hearing. And because it’s dark, it’s not best for food bloggers wanting to take good photos either! I’ll be going back for their regular menu as soon as possible – and also to claim my free cocktail that the waiter promised me because they couldn’t find their Visa Wellington on a Plate scratch & win cards that I should have been entitled to for paying with my credit card.

Joanna McLeod

Joanna McLeod has started calling herself the Empress of the Internet because she can. As well as wrangling the other site contributors and Getting Shit Done, she likes to eat, drink and write in equal amounts. Yes, she would love to be invited along to your event in order to do those things. Joanna's also the best person to talk to if you're interested in advertising on the site.

hungryandfrozen August 14, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Have always wondered what the food at Bettys was like, glad to hear it sounds as cool as the surroundings. I really like Atlanta, it’s a bit out of the way since I never go to the Terrace, but their menu’s fantastic.
Am on the hunt for some good cheeks of my own now (tee hee.)

Robyn August 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm

More news on the beef cheeks front: Hippopotamus at the Museum Hotel had a beef cheeks dish as part of their WOP menu.

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