Sunday, 26 September 2010

WLG , Kings Cross

As part of Wellington on A Plate 2010 Festival, the people from the Wellington Tourism has brought the food & wine scene of the New Zealand's capital city right to the doorstep of Sydney siders.
How ? By opening up a pop up restaurant, WLG (the airline code for the city ), that runs only for 2 weeks from 14th - 26th September in Kings Cross.

Of course by now you would have read many other food bloggers' post on their visit to WLG, I'm one of the late one I suppose :P
It was crazy trying to secure a table at this place, I went to the booking site straight away as soon I found out about it and to my surprise I wasn't quick enough ! So, it wasn't until last night that we finally got to try this place out :)

Wine for the table ; Menu ; Cutleries ; WLG Pencil (which we get to keep, yay!)

We got there right on the dot at 6:00pm for fear that they will give our table away if we were 15 minutes late (they did say so on the booking condition), so I had to be a nag and remind everyone DO NOT BE LATE !  ^_^
As soon as we were seated, our friendly waitress with a heavy NZ accent (still very strong though she has been here almost 30 years, amazing !) gave us the menu and explain how it works.
For an amazing value of $29, you get a 3 course meal which includes a shared platter as starter, a choice of main from 3 options (meat, fish, vegetarian), dessert, and coffee & chocolate to finish the meals.
To accompany your dinner there was a good selection of NZ wines and Antipodes still or sparkling water for something alcohol free.
Our waitress recommended the Hunter's Wine Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2010 for us tonight (minus me as per usual, I stick with the cute Antipodes water ).

Rex Morgan of Boulcott Street Bistro

I was not aware that the 4 chefs involved in this special dining event is doing so by rotation. One chef will be cooking his menu for 3 days, and the next one will take over for the following 3 days and so on.
When we dined last night, we have the opportunity to taste Chef Rex Morgan's menu :)
A background story on the chef as printed on the menu :
"Rex has won every single culinary award a chef can in New Zealand, including New Zealand Chef of The Year and Dominion Post Chef of The Year. Rex has also been made a  Beef + Lamb Ambassador a record six times and was recently made a premium lifetime ambassador for Beef + Lamb. He is passionate about his profession and as the chef / owner at renowned Boulcott Street Bistro, he strives to ensure diners are tempted with new and exciting culinary adventures. Rex is a descendant of Te Arawa & Ngai Tahu, so where possible he enjoys showcasing New Zealand's unique indigenous produce & products"
With that kind of resume we were excited on what we will be tasting tonight :)

Empty Antipodes bottles as decoration - very cute !

How cute is the rows of empty Antipodes bottles on the wall ! The waitress has kindly left the cap on our bottles so we can take them home later on :)
We later found out (from the table runner that is full of informations) that they are available to purchase from David Jones and Thomas Dux - good to know.

Tastes of Wellington Shared Tasting Plate ( L - R)
Lot 8 Spiced Olives ; Venison Rillettes w/ Spiced Pear & Watercress ; Fried Goats Cheese Balls w/ Manuka Honey & Kiwi Chutney ; Citrus Cured Regal King Salmon Gravlax w/ NZ Wasabi Panna Cotta ; Crispy West Coast NZ White Bait & Grilled Asparagus w/ Chopped Egg & Caper Mayo.

Even as the waitress was pouring drinks into our glasses, the shared platter arrive. The platter is to be shared per 2 people and consists of 5 different items.

Me and my friend who was sharing the plate don't eat olives so I cannot comment on how they taste. The venison rillettes, sort of like a pate but more chunky, was very good. I was a bit hesitant at first because venison tends to have a strong gamey flavour, but there was no such taste in the rillette. It was tender and easily spread onto the sliced baguette and the spiced pear went well with it too.

The fried goats cheese balls as the waitress explained it "melts in your mouth like a truffle". It was very creamy indeed, but the taste of the goats cheese was way too strong for me and I had to take a fork full of the kiwi chutney to clean off the taste >_<

The wasabi panna cotta was amazingly good ! It doesn't have a kick as the Japanese wasabi, but it has its distinct flavour and presenting it as a panna cotta is a brilliant idea. Too bad there was only one slice to share, would have liked one piece each.
The crispy white bait is another winner, it was deep fried to perfection - crispy but not drenched in oil. I wonder what happen to the mayo that supposed to come with it though ?

Horopito Seasoned Beef w/ Slow Roasted Tomato & Lot 8 Virgin Olive Oil served on a bed of Potato Mash

Chef Rex Morgan's intention to use indigenous produce where possible was showcased in this main dish. Horopito is a native New Zealand pepper and the beef was encrusted with a thin layer of this pepper. The beef was served medium rare and it was very tender and the jus that comes with it was very good as well, not sure what it was made of.

Roasted Groper w/ Smoked Marlborough Mussels & Green Pea Stew

I was about to get the vegetarian option as two others has ordered the fish, but at the last minute I changed my mind and aren't I glad I did so !
The fish was very good, the meat was sooo tender and firm with crispy skin. 
It was my first time ever eating smoked mussels so I am not sure what it is supposed to taste like. 
All I can say is that this Marlborough smoked mussels were surprisingly sweet with just the right amount of smoked aroma that doesn't overpower the mussel. They were very good ( I want more....). The peas were so fresh and pops in your mouth with burst of sweetness, and the broth...whatever it is made of it was that good that I had to ask for spoons for us as the liquid gold is not to be wasted !

Mojo Coffee Brulee w/ Whittakers Chocolate & Orange Mousse

For dessert we were served coffee creme brulee along with a quenelle of chocolate & orange mousse and a dot of orange compote, and to finish a scattering of crushed coffee beans. 

The Dessert

The coffee creme brulee had a thin layer of crispy toffee and creamy coffee custard. It has a strong coffee  flavour and not to sweet at all with a perfect set :)
I am not a big fan of anything mousse, but this mousse I like. It was quite dense in texture, almost like a clotted cream consistency. I love combination of dark chocolate and orange so this mousse was a win for me.

The waitress we had was amazing, she had good understanding of the ingredients in the food and very attentive throughout the night. 
It was quite funny when she was clearing our dessert plates she scolded us (in a joking manner of course) for not finishing the desserts.
We were puzzled as we didn't leave anything on the plate (double checked) , not even the crushed coffee beans. 
I then said "We ate everything , unless you wanted us to scrape the smeared chocolate as well ?".
And lo and behold...she scraped the painted chocolate off the plate with the back of the spoon, it's a trick a customer showed her on last night's service she said. ROFL !
I agree though, waste not good chocolate right ? So there we have it, another half a spoonful of Whittakers chocolate ...yummm...

We had to pass on the coffee & chocolate after the desserts as we were quite full by the end.

View into the courtyard dining room ; Lantern ; Front Table ; Mojo Coffee for sale

It was trully an enjoyable dining experience with good company of friends and of course the friendly waitress :)
We couldn't help feeling a bit rushed because the dishes came out at a surprising speed. We finished a 3 course meal in just 45minutes !
It is understandable as they do want to get as many people to enjoy the dining experience so they try to turnover the tables as quickly as possible. I saw a lot of walk in customers that has to put their names down and waiting for a call as soon as a table is available. 

I hope they are doing another pop-up restaurant here in Sydney for Wellington on A Plate 2011, till then I must practice my online booking skills LOL

PS : Today , Sunday 26th Sept is the last day, so make your way there if you haven't done so already.
Don't worry if you don't have a booking as they except walk-ins and the table turnover is very quick !
Open from 6.00pm - 10.00pm (last order at 8.45pm)

Antipodes water ; Bill for the night

'WLG' Pop Up Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. i wish it was going for longer. i liked the look of the choices you had :-)

  2. yeah, agree on that, it needs to pop-up longer than 2 weeks :(
    I was actually looking forward to the bombe alaska like you had , but the coffee brulee is a good substitute ^_^