Holy dooly, surprised twice in one week by two establishments I have less than loved in the past.
1. Rockerfellers sat me on my arse with a gorgeous possum stew. Yes, I did say possum. It was rich and tomatoey with a velvety mash (yeah, yeah, I know, but what’s a stew without spuds?), beans and native pepper berries (almost too dominant, but worked). And the possum? Tasted like chicken. Kidding! Rich and gamey, about half-way between roo and emu (but tastier than a regal shield). I am now inspired to appear on the New Inventors with my very own possum trap attached to mum’s old crockpot. Yum.
2. Meadowbank really blew me away with an outstanding whole smoked salmon. Oh yes, it was whole, it was gently smoked, and it was enormous. It sat pertly upright on its little stand and appeared to be riding a wild wave of mesclun. Eyes sparkling, teeth bared. It was a beauty! If not for the formality of the occasion I would have shoved the leftovers down my top a la Dan Ackroyd in Trading Places.
Hurrah! This is the type of innovation (the possum) and exciting, respectful treatment of grand produce (the salmon) that we’ve all been baying for.
The sad news?
The possum was a fleeting special on the Rockerfellers menu. As I paid my bill I overheard the waitress tell another patron there was no more. And the whole salmon at Meadowbank was not standard fare, but part of a function menu. Fingers crossed, a special request in advance might result in a surfing salmon for you too.
More please. I like surprises.