I’ll get right to it: legit the best meal I’ve had in New Zealand so far. Worth the hype, worth the price (although it’s fantastic value for money in terms of both quality and quantity, it’s still more than you’d spend on your average dinner), and worth a trip into Wellington if you live further out (and by further out I mean literally anywhere in the world). A week on and I’m still in a post Logan Brown daze. I keep remembering bits from the meal. I’ll be mid-drool over the UNBELIEVABLE venison and then suddenly remember those silky smooth oysters or the first taste of the butteriest of buttery ravioli…. but I can’t forget the wine… and that salmon…. Perhaps embarking on this blog post was a bit too much for me, I may need a lie down.
Side note: I’m not a food critic and this isn’t a restaurant review blog. If you’re wanting me to delve into every last detail of the meal I’m afraid it’s mostly me just drooling at the mere memory of it. I just had such a fantastic experience at Logan Brown that I wanted to dedicate a whole post to it.
Set in the old National Bank of New Zealand, there’s definitely a sense that this is a special place when you walk in. We were greeted by the super attentive and friendly staff and seated at a lovely little table. We weren’t there for a special occasion but they sure made it feel like one. I’m all for going super fancy when the time is right but Logan Brown isn’t that. It’s relaxed and inviting without being snobby or stuffy. You don’t feel like you don’t belong (it can be hard to really get in the ‘fancy’ frame of mind when you were slamming tequila shots til 3am a few nights before…). Their website boasts of ‘an impeccable team of hosts’ offering ‘the best in food, a stylish yet relaxed atmosphere, and dining integrity’ and I’ve got to say they’ve totally nailed that brief. ‘A’ for execution LB.
I’ve already said I’m not a food critic; this blog isn’t about harsh reviews or analysing each and every ingredient in a dish. It’s about celebrating the love for food and the joy in indulging with your loved ones. That said, I’m going to have one teeny little moan here. The service in New Zealand, in my experience, has so often been below par. It just doesn’t seem to be too high on anyone’s agenda. Tipping’s not expected so perhaps that’s why and, to be honest, it’s not really put too much of a dampener on my greedy adventures. So, moan over, I’ll get to my point: I expected the food to be amazing, I didn’t even really think about what the service would be like. In a word: fantastic. I wish I’d got our waiters name; he was so friendly, so informative, so patient whilst we asked questions and so happy to make the experience as best as possible for us. Whilst we had a dedicated section waiter we were still served by others throughout the night and every single staff member had the same enthusiasm and willingness to help.
I did say it wasn’t a special occasion but when you’re somewhere like this only bubbles will do. We actually ordered a glass each before we saw the menu without realising it was the first match but hey, anyone who thinks one glass of Champagne is better than two needs to remove themselves from the vicinity immediately. It set off the night as only Champagne can; evoking that warm fuzzy feeling with a slight side serving of the giggles. I was so ready for this meal.
Perhaps a little indulgent on top of a five course tasting menu but, come on, you’ve surely got the gist of this blog by now. I haven’t had oysters in forever and they’re one of my all time fave (tip for those in the UK: get down to Whitstable Oyster Festival in the summer for a shucking great time). The oysters were absolute perfection; silky, tangy and flavoursome.
Onto the start of our five course adventure. Probably my perfect kind of starter. My Boyfriend wasn’t as impressed but he himself said this was just down to not holding salmon as high on his lust-list as me. ‘A bit too smoky’ for him. For me, it was soft, elegant and bursting with asian flavours.
Forget every ravioli you’ve ever had. Get that shit out your brain. This is a total game-changer. It’s buttery and packs a punch without being stodgy. Beurre Blanc is always a welcome addition to any dish but, oh my god, I could have drunk it. I’m still wondering whether it’s acceptable to add it to every meal I now eat…?
I always forget how delicious lamb neck is. This was no exception; tender, melty and cooked to perfection. Everything else on the plate was just as good and a real treat for me because I looove lamb but rarely cook it at home. I can’t decide if this or the Venison was my fav dish… thankfully no one’s making me choose!
What. A. Stunner. Venison is up there on my list of favourite foods and some of the best venison I’ve ever had has been here in New Zealand (looking at you, Venison Tartare at Noble Rot). Logan Brown’s offering lived up to expectations and as I write this I think I’m ready to commit and say that yes, this was my favourite dish of the night. It went so beautifully with the Syrah that it was just such a pleasure to devour. I’m not sure I can really find the words so I won’t bother. I’ll just wipe the drool off my laptop before no one notices…
Not something I’d choose on a menu (Chocolate orange? Yes. Fresh orange in a dessert? Not so much) but still an excellent end to the meal. Again, this is so down to personal taste rather than any fault in the dish and, don’t get me wrong, I still ate every last bite. That said, my taste in dessert is normally something along the lines of a sticky toffee pudding or a salted caramel tart… definitely not something you want after four courses (and a plate of oysters). The freshness of the fruit was probably just right to finish off the menu. For me, the star of the show was the dessert wine which was so welcome as the final lingering of deliciousness on my tongue. Mmmm…
Now I’m no wine expert and it may just be down to the fact that I had a very knowledgeable waiter telling me that each wine was the perfect match for the dish, but I really did think the pairings were spot on. I love when my preferences and tastes are challenged and set on their head. I’m not normally blown away by Pinot Noir but with the richness of the lamb it really did make me stop and take notice. I would never order a Riesling but when it was served with the savoury ravioli, I loved it.
Overall, I think you can guess what a great experience my night at Logan Brown was. I pass the restaurant every day on my way to work and I’m already looking longingly at it each time, wondering with that ache only greed can spark when the next time I’ll dine there again will be. Soon, I hope.
For more information about Logan Brown and their different menu options, click here.