Another new sharing plates eatery, this time taking it to the ‘burbs in Hataitai.
Bambuchi has the feel of an upmarket beach bar with rustic wooden tables, a handful of neon lights, buddhas holding candles, and nightclub-style music in the background.
However, the food is far from beach bar.
The complimentary pillows of house ciabatta came with a smoked paprika butter which left a lightly cheesy taste on the palate (unexpected), and was elevated with pinenuts for texture.
The obligatory roasted cauliflower was very nicely done with a lemon curry cream base, fat juicy golden raisins and crispy kale contrast; the poached game fish laksa included lovely floral coconuty flavours; the lamb was tender and lightly smoky with a nicely contrasting pickled cabbage; and the hasselback potatoes were outstanding – a wonderful mix of featheriness and crispiness.
We still had room for dessert so checked out the apple crumble (more like a muesli than traditional crumble, but with lots of lovely textures and rich flavours), and the baked camembert with gingerbread and saffron pears (enough bread for a change and excellent pears, together a very satisfactory flavour combination).
The other thing I particularly liked was the pacing of the courses. I hate being rushed, and although would have said we’d been there an hour in total, it was actually 90 minutes and just right.
There’s a good range of beer and cider showcasing many local brands like Garage Project, Kereru, Parrot Dog etc, and a few I’d never come across before like Schippers, Aspall and Poppels. The wines range from French sparkling to Spanish Gamacha (all except a couple of sparklings available by the glass, carafe or bottle), and there’s a handful of cocktails with ingredients like prickly pear, allspice and okar (not all in the same cocktail!).
I enjoyed a Vynfields sparkling riesling, and the chip fiend enjoyed a Brooklyn lager, although he was a little perplexed that they brought the opened can and glass but didn’t pour it for him (he’s a full service lad, and has never let me forget a cafe I took him to which served his sardines and ciabatta on a wooden board in the original can with only the lid removed!).
Don’t be fooled by the decor of Bambuchi, but do expect to put your hand in your pocket to enjoy a number of plates. Chef Julian Pizer has had his hand in a good few Wellington establishments over the years, as well as international experience, and it shows.
31 Waitoa Road, Hataitai (its actually right on the corner, not around as Google shows)