Saturday, April 29, 2017

20th Anniversary Dinner

We had hoped to do something special for our 20th Wedding Anniversary which is coming up on Wednesday, 3 May. Our first choice would be a train trip over Arthur's Pass and a night on the West coast (especially when there is snow on the mountains to enjoy). Things have just been a bit too hard at home to even consider going away though, so we had to come up with another plan. Something that would be really extra special and memorable.
And so I found Chillingworth Road Restaurant. We hardly ever get to eat out, so I thought we should do it in style. They offer 5, 7 or 9 course "tasting" menu. We went for the full 9 courses. And we were glad we did. We had a very special night out.
A quote from their website: With a vision toward fresh seasonal ingredients and meals that deliver on both flavour profiles and healthy living, we aim to take you on a journey that will expand both your mouth and mind.
And we had a wonderful journey.
I took the photo below off their website of the dinning room. So elegant.

1st course: Soup. Main ingredients smoked eel and anchovies.
This was absolutely delicious. Things that we would never naturally think to order, but it was Brendon's favourite of the night.

The tables are set as above. Once you are finished your soup and roll / GF toast, the side plate is then taken away and 3 more sets of cutlery arrive (if you are going with all 9 courses). So you then have 5 sets. These are for the mains.
So if I count the plate that the soup cup was on, as well as the side plate for the toast, we had 20 plates at our table this evening. Fitting for our 20th anniversary. :-)
2nd course: Fish. I heard Akaroa something. The descriptions they gave each time they brought a meal were extremely long. Such complex dishes and wonderful combinations.
3rd course: Salmon with smoked salmon pate and a few other wonderful combinations. This was another highlight meal for Brendon and I. It was excellent.
4th course: Pork with seared shallot and cauliflower (and more). I was desperate for more salt as I do like my pork salty. I was too embarrassed to ask though and now regret that. I think I would have loved it with just that tiny bit of extra salt. Brendon enjoyed it though.
5th course: Lamb. A clear worst dish for me. I did not enjoy this. I think we are not used to lamb to start with as it's very fatty, and then the popcorn was just strange. Ruth and I both commented on how wonderful the lamb roast was at the Sedar meal - but perhaps that's how I like it - just plain and simple (with some salt). Brendon wasn't made about it either.
6th course: Beef with loads of little extras including another piece of meat hidden behind there. The rump itself was lovely, but that other little piece was even better. Brendon started on his and told me how good it was. I had a taste and decided to keep my for last. SO good.

We had now finished the 5 sets of cutlery and were brought 3 more sets. I knife and small fork, a spoon, and a spoon and fork.
7th course: Cheese. And blue cheese at that with a delicious cracker and some sweet accompaniments (I know the one was an almond jam type thing). Eating together it was quite enjoyable for me - but I should have limited it to about 3 mouthfuls. The last few were just too much with that strong cheese. Brendon and I have never dared trying it before, so we were both quite adventurous with this. Brendon didn't enjoy it though.
8th course: Vanilla Panna cotta with a fruit compote, berry coulis and a crumble.  This was one of the top dishes of the night. It was light and refreshing and Brendon said it should have been the last course. It was just perfect.
9th course: Some special cake (can't remember the details) with a delicious ice-cream and some cream and citrus. And a special Anniversary message on my plate too. Very tasty indeed and lovely to get something other than chocolate for desert (which we had guessed it might be). It's fun to have your palate enjoy such wonderfully unique and interesting flavours.

So a very special evening indeed. We are thankful to Rachel for holding the fort at home so that we could enjoy this time out.

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