For worthy eating and drinking experiences around Wellington, NZ (and the greater region) – you can also catch Heather out and about hosting Zest Food Tours around the city…

Archive for the tag “courtenay”

Dragonfly on Courtenay

On the site that used to house Uncle Changs on Courtenay Place is a new Asian dining lounge called Dragonfly (classy website), an experience of sharing and enjoying a variety of dishes from south east asia.

We bowled in last night (Friday) around 7pm for a look and chancing of luck about dining there.  They didn’t have any tables available in the near future but invited us to have a drink and look at the garden bar out the back (very Matterhorn, lots of bamboo with a sail overhead), and offered that we could dine out there also.  The same menu applies throughout the premises.  Too cold for dining in the garden bar last night, and small tables/dim lighting in the bar meant we decided on just a drink and nibble this time.

There appears to have been a chunk of money invested here, a very sleek look (lots of black with red lighting), clever spaces for diners around a central kitchen, understated but effective wall hangings here and there, a hallway that feels a little like a secret tunnel, and separation of the diners and the drinkers (way down the back in the bar and garden bar, quite large premises all up).  The place is very inviting.

So to a cocktail (Thai Foon) for me, having read about it coming in a science lab style beaker  (yep it did), beer for him, and pork and chive dumplings to sample the wares.  A chat with the bar lad revealed that the Thai Foon included a Thai rum they make on site (thinner, lighter and sweeter courtesy of palm sugar).  Nice.  As was the cocktail.

In a display of excellent service, the maitre’d who’d escorted us to the bar came and found us shortly after we got settled, offering us first choice on a table that had become available. The waitress we had from then on was also very polished and ensured we understood the menu intention (sharing of small or larger offerings) and checked we understood the spiciness of the green papaya salad when we chose it.  And made sure our bar-ordered dumplings were redirected to the right place. Nice again.

The menu is interesting, not just for the offerings (Son-in-Law duck eggs with fried basil, shredded lime leaf, roasted rice and four flavour sauce; soft shell crabs; eggplant with candied cashew nuts and thai salads; southern clams wok tossed in hot and sour sauce; massaman peanut curry braised angus beef short ribs, baby potato and pea snaps with cardamom, cassia bark, tamarind and thai basil…..) but for the origami-style folded presentation.

The food is fresh and tasty, there has been a lot of thought go into the design and presentation of the premises, staff and food (down to plates and bowls), and they’re off to a slick and wobble-free start. I shall most definitely go back.  With friends.  A couple of times.

Bangalore Polo Club, Courtenay Place

NOTE: The peanuts are no longer!

The dinner club ventured forth to Bangalore Polo Club (BPC to those in the know apparently) on Wednesday night and had a rollicking fine time.

BPC is as opulently decorated and almost OTT as imagined, with varying spaces for drinking, dining or quieter booth intimacy.  Of greatest initial excitement was the large bowl of unshelled peanuts on the bar for patrons to de-shell and consume, merrily dropping the remains to the floor (truly, it’s what they want you to do!). Apparently in the tradition of the Singapore Raffles Hotel (Mr Google hasn’t been forthcoming on where that tradition sprang from originally), with the shells oiling the floor as they get walked on before being swept out at the end of the night. Everything your mother taught you not to do, but deliciously naughty fun!

BPC originated in India around the Bangalore Badgers polo team, with a mix of English and Indian influence.  Ergo being greeted out the front by a couple of lovely wooden maharaja-style gentlemen.  In the rear dining area there are several large animal heads on the wall, a veritable flock of birdcages hanging from the ceiling with lights in each, and cleverly disguised large screen tv’s in big gold ornate picture frames looking like large mirrors (thankfully not on, a rest from the rugby was due!).

Food ranged from pizza to curries to laksa to full meals and most things in between.  So a wide selection, and at reasonable prices.  Between six of us we managed to try a good variety (of course my friends know dining with me involves sharing a mouthful!) and everyone enjoyed what they chose.  I had a very pleasant cauliflower risotto of caramelised cauliflower (the caramelising was fairly subtle though), tallagio cheese, roasted almonds and crispy sage.  Good overall balance, and not gluggy or fatty.

I had to photograph (on my cellphone in fairly dim light, but it will give you an idea) Kate’s slow roasted pork hock.  A verrrrry impressive hunk of meat occupying most of her plate.  Almost matching the visions we had last week of how pig’s head was going to look on a plate at The Larder!  And melt off the bone tasty too.

The only slightly out of step note was the music.  Whilst we enjoyed the 70’s and 80’s easy tunes (those of us old enough to know them), we had imagined music somehow matching the tradition of the place.  Having said that, not sure if Bollywood all night would have helped or hindered the overall experience.

So definitely give it a try when you’re after something fun.  And suggest you book as it was full to bursting on a Wednesday night.  Apparently check out the toilets too, which I didn’t end up remembering to do.  Next time…


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