After tasting WLG pop-up restaurant in Kings Cross and also our little trip New Zealand for Wellington On a Plate festival two months ago, I have to say I am still reminiscing all the good time we’ve had, eating our way through every corners in the Wellington city. I couldn’t be happier to have Peter G, Helen and John as my travelling companions and is always good to have three extra pairs of mouths to share as many WOAP festival special set menus as we could. And one of them was at Boulcott Street Bistro & Winebar where we were offered a 3 course set menu for $45 or an extra $20 with matching wine.
We were supposed to be picked up from our hotels to the restaurant in a comfortable limo-taxi, instead Helen and I decided to stay in the city and wandered around for more food but ended up arriving at Boulcott absolutely drenched from the sudden down pour. Not to mention, we were also a bit lost on the way and when we asked passerby for direction, no one seems to know where the restaurant is. We eventually just kept climbing up the steep hill until we spotted a quaint little white cottage with picket fence, almost looked like a doll house surrounded by the neighbouring tall buildings, a sigh of relieve that we finally found the restaurant.
The house was built in late 1870s but surprisingly it is still kept in immaculate condition. Upon stepping into the restaurant, a friendly waitress offered to take our wet coats off and safely stored in the cloakroom. It is a lot smaller than I expected, with the kitchen occupied 1/3 of the floor space and a small bar to the right, every inch left on the floor are fitted with dining chairs and tables.
John and Peter G arrived soon after along with Brad from Positively Welling Tourism and David from Hutt Valley City Council. Six of us were a tight squeeze at possibly the largest table in the restaurant by the window. We were offered complimentary anchovies puff pastry sticks as starter while perusing the menu. They are incredibly delicious, the puffy sticks were flaky and buttery while the salty anchovies embedded inside were extremely addictive, perfect snack for dinner parties.
The WOAP set menu at Boulcott was designed where diners get to try their signature dishes, they called it, BSB Classic. The entree was their signature Gremolata-crumbed calamari. The bite size crumbed calamari pieces were soft and tender, served with a tangy tartare sauce, and a wedge of lemon for the extra zing.
John decided to go with A la carte and his entree of pork rillette macaroni was not exactly what he’d expected. While the bowl of macaroni pasta coated in Gruyere cheese didn’t really leave much to imagination, we were more fascinated by the crumbed free range egg on top that deep fried to a crispy exterior while the yolk is still runny on the inside.
Our lamb shanks from the WOAP set menu was more promising. Another BSB Classic, a massive hunk of shank had been slow cooked until it is falls-off-the-bone tender, elegantly sat on a bed of buttery pomme puree, the richness of the lamb was lifted by the minted peas, which were so tiny, popped in the mouth with much refreshing sweetness, while the soft lentils added texture.
The wild mushroom risotto was another option for the vegetarian from the WOAP menu, the perfect comfort food for the wintery rainy Wellington weather. The risotto rice is fat and not mushy, cooked in aromatic rich stock infused with wild mushroom for that earthy nutty flavour.
Helen’s venison and boudin noir is in dire need of some greens. She found the venison was a little chewy from the gristle, but we absolutely adored the puck size black pudding, pungently earth infused with a concoction of herbs and spices. The wonton-like deep fried chestnut ravioli was crunchy and the sweetness of the chestnut paste worked really well with the black pudding.
After our first taste of the boozy ice cream that paired with the citron tarte, we were hooked and wanting more. It turned into a guessing game as we couldn’t out what the flavour was, until the waitress came back and explained that it was Grand Marnier ice cream with candied zest. It was incredible! The citron tart was tangy with a classic smooth wobbly custard on a crusty based, a rectangular slab of mandarin jelly on the side to cut through the richness.
Not all of us went with the same dessert from the WOAP menu. The rhubarb crumble was a comforting dessert, piping hot rhubarb stalks were soft with a welcoming tartness, hidden underneath a layer of sweet oat crumble, accompanied by a scoop of burnt brown butter ice cream that is rich with sweet caramel flavour.
John’s addiction of creme brulee is inevitable and ordered again this evening. Another BSB Classic, a simple smooth vanilla custard was concealed beneath a toffee layer. I could just see John really enjoying it by cracking the top into toffee shards and dig deep with a spoon and fetched out a huge dollop of rich custard with glee. Few slices of poached quinces on the side to counterbalance the richness of the brulee.
By the time we finished our meal, the rain had stopped and the night was still young, our little team of ‘awesome foursome’ decided to push on for more booze and sweets downtown. I swear it was all for research purposes but I will have to leave it till next post.
99 Boulcott Street Wellington, New Zealand Tel: +64 (04) 499 4199 Opening hours: Lunch Monday to Friday from 12 noon Dinner Monday to Sunday from 6pm