Gisborne doing cuisine other than all sauces? I am shocked to say that it turns out Gisborne does have a little international culture! My little tiki tour trip to Gizzy happened to coincide with the famous French Bastille day – which I’ve never personally celebrated before, but apparently the people from Gisborne are all for it! The Marina Restaurant is Gisborne’s only French restaurant, and every year they hold a HUGE degustation dinner full of famous French dishes to celebrate Bastille day. My bf’s parents ended up buying us tickets – and who would turn down an opportunity to drink and taste some of the best French food, whilst also in French dress-up? Certainly not me, that’s for sure! So, we donned our berets and off we went to have a super dope degustation dinner.
As we walked in to the beautiful Marina restaurant, my eyes were instantly drawn to the MASSIVE croquembouche in the middle of the room, and I could tell this was going to be one hella good foodie night. The set menu was laid out on the table, with drink suggestions paired with each dish. A few of us on the table were vegetarian or vegan, and it was awesome to see that the chefs had created special versions of the set menu just for our dietary requirements.
After buying a few bottles of fancy French wine (which my bf and I probably drank waaay to much of), we were presented with our first course: escargot. I have never tried snails before, and the idea of trying it is a little off-putting, however these were paired with a super good basil pesto and toasted bruschetta which made them taste fabulous! The next course was a delicious French onion soup (very fitting) with toasted cheesy croutons which made the dish go from a 10 to a solid 11/10. After that we had a few more bottles of wine – which were also downed very fast by my boyfriend and I – and a cheeky little palette cleanser of a gin and quince sorbet which was superbly refreshing and tasty, and prepared our taste buds for the main course event. The set menu had duck confit as their main, however my boyfriend and I are pescatarian, so they whipped up a lush poached fish dish that was to die for – the fish was perfectly flaky, paired with a tangy lemon sauce and crunchy seasonal veg, you can’t fault it! For the dessert they served up a little buffet with apple Tarte Tatin, opera cake, and of course the prized Croquembouche. The Tatin was fruity and sweet, the Opera cake rich and moreish, and the Choux buns from the Croquembouche crunchy on the outside and filled with a delicious crème patisserie – each dish executed perfectly.
The evening was definitely one that I won’t forget – and I’m kind of surprised I still remember it after all the wine I had! Both the chefs and the FOH at the Marina really put on a show for bastille day, and because of their fantastical food, perfectly paired drinks and the pièce de résistance croquembouche – I have to award them an 8/10 on the CCL scale. I experienced this place when they were all putting on their best fare, however I am sure that on any normal day or evening the food, service and ambience would still boast that true classic continental charm.
Hello everyone, how are we?? It has been a god damn MINUTE since I’ve made a blog post, but Uni is over for this trimester and I no longer have to feel bad about choosing blogging over assignments! It’s been a blooming busy time, and I have been to so many places that I’ve been dying to blog about – but we gotta prioritise the places I’ve been, and holy moly did I have some incredible eats last Thursday that I NEED to tell you about. So, everybody knows that GrabOne can come up crops with their deals once in a while, and whilst doing my usual trawl, a voucher for Dockside worth $70 of food for only $35 popped up on my screen. The deal was way too good to miss; so being the loving girlfriend I am, I sneakily bought it as a surprise date for my boyfriend and me.
The surprise worked! He totally didn’t guess it but was super stoked when we waltzed up to the doors, because we both knew we were in for a good feed (even better that it was half price!). We were seated right by the window looking out onto Wellingtons beautiful city and docks, which created the perfect date night ambience – cheers dockside staff! Feeling a little bit fancy, we both decided to ditch the beer bottles and treat ourselves to a glass of wine to have with our meal – who says students can’t be classy? It was now time to choose our main courses and I’m not joking when I say I think I left a bit of drool on the menu… each dish made my mouth water! After a long hard struggle, I went for their salmon, mussel and potato chowder served with house-made ciabatta, and my boyfriend chose the pan-seared salmon with broccoli and tempura prawns.
Oh man the FLAVOURS. Kudos to the chefs at Dockside because they know their combinations! My chowder was tantalisingly creamy, filled to the brim with perfectly cooked seafood, and dark crunchy ciabatta to dunk right in to soak up every last drop. My boyfriend’s salmon was also seared to perfection, alongside crunchy veg and crispy prawns – all tied together with a curve-ball of a satay sauce – it made for an absolutely gorgeous feast. Even though the desserts sounded to-die-for, we decided to save a bit of pocket and head to enigma for a cup of tea and a huge portion of their yummy apple and berry slice – which I also highly recommend!
If you’re a GrabOne go-getter like me, or always down for a discount – I totally recommend getting your hands on these vouchers before they are all snatched up, so you can taste for yourself their fabulous food! I’m giving Dockside a well-deserved 9/10 for my experience there. Their food was beautiful, their drinks list abundant, their location is stunning, and their staff are all friendly and professional. All this made for a date night that I’ll never forget – and one that I’m pretty sure my boyfriend will find hard to top!
My time in Nelson was coming to a close, and to make the most of my last few days with my mum and dad, we (well my mum and I – poor dad had work!) ventured out for one last cafe crawl. I wanted to go somewhere where I either haven’t been to, or somewhere that I haven’t visited for years, so after pondering all the cafes nearby and having a cheeky look online at what all the delightful cafes in the Tasman had to offer, we set our sights on the Riverside cafe.
Continue reading Rural Riverside Paradise
Hot sunny days are usually for the beach or the river, but for mum and I they mean a full day of retail therapy and a girls lunch out! Nelson is a boutique city that not only has beautiful independent stores perfect for Christmas shopping, but also has masses of enticing restaurants and cafes. Naturally we planned our shopping trip so we HAD to have lunch in town, so we stopped at our go-to favourite cafe; La Gourmandise. Continue reading Ooh La La, La Gourmandise