With much anticipation we looked forward to Saturday evening and our dinning experience at The Matterhorn. It is a world class bar and restaurant. Tucked back off Cuba Street, along a corridor, it is hidden from sight. There are no windows overlooking traffic or the street. Once entombed within its dark wooden walls and subtle lighting patrons could be anywhere. There is a certain Alice in Wonderland feel. I’ve only ever been there for a drink at the bar, or outside in the fairy-light lit courtyard. And since I am currently not able to partake in a Mojito cocktail and am designated driver for nine-months, we thought we’d use the taxi fare and alcohol savings to spend on an extravagant dinning experience. We were not disappointed.
As any parent knows it is such a treat to dine out. Everything is so much more appreciated than ‘BC’ days. To be waited upon, fussed over and brought the most mouth-watering dishes to savour is absolutely heavenly. Before dining we had a drink at the bar (ginger beer for moi) and were then escorted to a cosy corner table for two, from where we could both enjoy the atmosphere and survey the room. However, all eyes were on our menu, food and each other. I did have one glass of wine to accompany my meal (tut tut!) and with my flowing dress disguising any sign of pregnancy I didn’t receive any dirty looks.
Back in my mojito days at The Matterhorn bar:
We delighted in adult conversation without interruptions (as much as we adore our cherubs it really was refreshing to have eyes only for each other for a change). We sat back and relaxed, knowing we had no need to get up from the table to meet requests for ‘more drink, ketchup or cutlery’. In fact we acted more like children ourselves – with both of us accidentally knocking a knife flying onto the concrete floor. Both of which met with a resounding clang and prompted a waiter to come running with new ones. From then on the waiters took great delight in ‘knife’ comments, ‘Look after this one’, ‘Got a thing about knives have you?’, ‘We better keep an eye on you two’.
Anyway, despite the knives, we had a truly amazing dining experience. The food was divine and every mouth-full left our taste buds dazzled. Dan made an experimental choice (for him) with his starter – terrine of wild marlborough rabbit with carrot & cardamon custard, soused mushrooms & emulsion of braising juice (don’t think he’ll choose that a second time). My choice of slow poached salmon with candied aubergine, white beans, chorizo & parsley with a ketchup vinaigrette was more than I could have expected.
We were both extremely satisfied with our main course, which left just enough room for dessert. Dan had the Northland snapper with scallop ravioli, crushed peas, oyster mushrooms, jerusalem artichokes & verjuice caramel and I enjoyed the Groper steamed with spanner crab & leeks with boulangÃ©re potato, saffron fennel salad & a bouillabaisse style sauce.
And dessert left us feeling completely satisfied, relaxed and with insane grins on our faces (perhaps that was the one wine I had!). I choose the pineapple roasted with chilli & sweet spice with coconut & basmati milk panna cotta & passion fruit ice, whilst Dan devoured the baked rhubarb tart with honeycomb & ice cream & ginger wine reduction.
We dinned early and were home by 9pm, which was all we needed. The girls were great for our lovely sitter, Steph. It was lovely to see them before they toddled off to bed. We then enjoyed a good catch up with Steph before retiring to bed ourselves.