Ministry of Food Bar and Kitchen
The Bowen Street site continues until MSD relocate to The Terrace in later 2016, so you have two MoF choices now – the more grab’n’go style of Bowen Street or the more stop’n’savour sister on the Terrace, which is focusing on kitchen and drinks (the only counter food here being their famed cheese scones).
The lunch and dinner menus are currently about 50% changing daily dishes / 50% pizza and a few blackboard specials, with a focus on fresh, seasonal and varied cuisines (chef Shonagh has considerable international experience and enjoys creating and experimenting).
The mushroom galette with Kikorangi blue cheese and salad at lunch had good textures and flavours across the crispy pastry disc, meaty mushroom, oily melted cheese and fresh salad leaves, although could have used just a little something extra with it (crusty piece of bread perhaps?), and the prosciutto, artichoke, mozzarella and olive pizza was generously topped and filling (yes good spotting, it was ordered without the olives!).
I think the Bar and Kitchen’s strength will be the ever-changing and interesting menu items (pizzas being more of a drink accompaniment/big group staple), with a number of other dishes catching my eye – potato gnocchi with venison, pancetta, and parmesan ragu; risotto alla norma with tomato crispy eggplant and sage; Portugese monkfish and mussell stew with peppers, saffron, almond and tomato, to name a few.
On the drinks menu I spotted a Doctors low alcohol Sauvignon Blanc, and a good mix of local Martinborough/Marlborough and Central Otago wines – one of the owners is ex-Wanaka hospitality and has connections in the wine industry. MoF also stock a range of craft beers, many local, and from time to time a contract brew made for them by Baylands Brewery (next up a winter brown ale), and pleasingly in the non-alcoholic space, Hopt low-sugar sodas. These come in interesting flavours and make a nice change from the fruit juice or coke / sprite / ginger beer standars (I can thoroughly recommend the salted lychee soda).
MoF are offering daily deals – Monday June Winter Warmer 2 for 1 breakfasts 7-9am, Lazy Thursday 2 for 1 dinner when buying a drink each, Flaring Friday 2 for 1 cocktails 4.30-6pm, etc – and intend to hold events from time to time. Given they only open Monday to Friday, its also not a bad space to hire for a private function on a weekend.
The service was welcoming, friendly and professional (a deliberate focus for them), and I could see this becoming a place to pop by for a graze and quiet one on the way home.
Prices ranged mostly between $18 and $25 across both day and evening menus.
Monday to Friday 7am til late.