Poneke, week one…
The new marriage between Mojo and Martin Bosley at the bottom of the new Clyde Quay apartments (the old overseas terminal down by Chaffers) is up and running.
Poneke has the usual Mojo look and feel (and cabinet food), but with the addition of a Martin Bosley kitchen to produce swizzier menu dishes, and steampunk filter coffee (like being back in the school lab!).
The dishes cover small ($12 – $17) and large plates ($22-$24 excluding the whole flounder at $27), a few pizzas ($16-$18), oysters ($4.50 each) and a couple of desserts ($memory blank).
There are a number of items which allude to kiwiana – 12hr beef cheek as the mince on toast, fish finger sandwich and buttermilk fried onion rings, and asparagus, poached egg, salmon caviar with green herb hollandaise (being as close as you’ll get to an eggs benny) – and every dish has interesting combinations and ingredients.
There’s quite a range of seafood on the menu as you’d expect from Martin and the location (including a delish sounding smoked kahawai, olive, caper and potato pizza), but there’s also enough to satisfy the vegos or carnivores among us (roasted grapes and feta on grilled sourdough or slow-cooked lamb shoulder, garlic, oregano, lemon and skordalia which looked pretty saliva-inducing as it went to the next table to share).
The quality of the food and presentation is superb, as is the efficiency and friendliness of the staff, however I’m not yet convinced on the price points (especially for the small plates). The anchovies and tomatoes on toast (above) for $17 was a fair stretch, and the fish finger sandwich was in fact just a burger (albeit a tasty one) with one crumbed oblong finger at $22. I expected at least sandwich style slices of interesting bread given it was marketed as a sandwich, with possibly even two or three smaller fish fingers for quirkiness and references to the kind of fish fingers we’d all remember (although that might be just the child in me!).
I do appreciate though, that they’re in an expensive location and prompt service and food delivery means bodies, on top of quality ingredients.
The winner on the day for me might just about have been the simple zucchini, mint, rocket and feta pizza (loved the thin rustic base), with fantastic flavours, textures, colour and piquancy (even the non-zucchini-loving teenager was impressed).
Poneke are doing 7 days from 7amish to mid evening, with the same menu running throughout, and outdoor tables for when the Wellington weather gods permit. They are likely to change to later opening hours on the weekend with a slightly more tailored brunch menu in the near future.
Definitely worth a visit, especially if you appreciate quality food components and presentation, or fancy tender melt-in-the-mouth fish and chips beside the boats of a lovely sunny summer evening.
Clyde Quay Wharf.