Published on August 23rd, 2012 | by Ultimate OmNoms


Taste of Rata

As you all know, it’s Auckland Restaurant month, and the OmNoms team this time had the pleasure of attending Taste of Rata – Held at District Dining, and hosted by it’s very own Warren Turnbull with Josh Emett from Rata in Queenstown. Just from seeing these two work, you’ll notice how these two understand each other and are a perfect match – though they did start working together since they were teenagers though!

Being taken into the dining area, we were greeted with long tables, seated with unfamiliar faces. Naturally, all the socialising began. Who knew, Josh Emett would be into the idea of communal dining, long tables seated with strangers, with food bringing us all together.

So began our five course menu accompanied with fresh warm bread

Accompanies with our bread – Goats’ cheese profiteroles with Rata blossom honey.

The honey was definitely a delight! Having it with goat cheese? Almost like combining the sweet with the savoury, but having said that, goats’ cheese is still quite on the neutral side of things for me (not exactly a savoury type food). The honey simply pushed the cheese over the edge into the sweet side, while the cheese supported the pastry with a creamy texture – and like that, our appetites were opened! Just imagine, if you could keep a whole bag these with you while working away…

Seared First Light Wagyu with soy, shitake, ginger

I think there might be some sort of trend going on in the fine dining world that’s involving experiencing with Asian flavours – just by looking at these ingredients, you can really see the play on Asian flavours, and no doubt, it definitely tasted like a perfected Asian dish – but the thing that really made this dish perfect was the soy sauce and wagyu together.

Crispy braised pork terrine with caper mayonaise

At first glance, this looks like a fish cake doesn’t it? And as take the first bite to break the crispiness, for a second, it is a fish cake. Except, that’s when the braised pork comes, and muddles that expectation from a fish to braised pork – a thin juicy texture that pork should have. I must say, the pork really  reminded me of traditional Chinese dumplings, no, not the typical dumplings – click on the link and you’ll know what I’m talking about. The reason the pork would really taste like that is simply because it’s braised, and to combine the crispiness with the juiciness of the pork – I do wonder why we don’t see this more often.

Seared Northland Kingfish with saffron, mussels, parsnip

 Kingfish! My favourite. Though this definitely did not feel like a dish you would have in winter. Just by looking it all the colours, it looks like a summery  dish, and it also tasted like a summery dish – especially by combining parsnip with raw fish. First came the fresh kingfish that made me want to go finishing, then came the sourness of the parsnip that made me want to sit under the sun at the beach!

Free range chicken breast with chicken liver, brussel sprouts, chestnuts

I’m not sure why the chicken liver was on top of toast – I suspect the toast was to neutralise the saltiness of the chicken liver. The thin toast did make eating it a lot easier – most of us just picked it up with our hands. The chestnut puree was a wonder that really supported the chicken, though we all came to some sort of consensus that the chicken itself was too dry, and as soon as our chestnuts ran out, we should stop with the chicken. Maybe the chicken piece was too big? I don’t know.

Thyme Crackers and Apricot toast

When these crackers came, the first thing that came to my mind was deep fried wontons! It definitely was on the salty end for me – probably just a bit too much. Ella (a new member of Taste of Auckland) on the other hand, loved it – though she did say she’s a big fan of salt.

Whitestone Lindis Pass and pear saffron chutney

If you don’t know what Lindis Pass is, it’s a new type of brie made by Whitestone. This was accompanied with thyme crackers and thin apricot toast. On one end, there was the sweetness of the pear chutney, with that slight sour taste; on the other, there was the creaminess of the cheese. These two little treats went perfect with the salty crackers.

Granny Smith Apple Parfait with Honey tuille and champagne sabayon

And finally, we came to our last course for the evening – Cecilia’s favourite – the dessert. This is another consensus we came to at the table, to call the honey tuille an ice cream sandwich (it really does look like one). The plate was filled with sweets, though different types of sweets – from the apple parfait, to the sabayon. I loved it. Though, something I was not a fan of on the dish were definitely sour apples (at first I thought they were pears). The texture of the apple was a compliment to the dish, but the sourness was just too much for me.

So Taste of Rata came to a beautiful ending, where we met another group of fun people! And even Josh Emett joined in a bit – just to show the fun side of food. Next time I’m in Queenstown, Rata will definitely be the restaurant I’m dining at; and hopefully we’ll be seeing the beautiful District Dining again! Even though Auckland Restaurant Month is creeping slowly to an end, Wellington is still going with it’s Welly on a Plate, and with Taste of Auckland coming soon, the year is still packed with fun events omnom events! So stay tuned! Oh, and all the fun photos will be up on our page!

In other news, if you’re reading this, you’ll know that we’ve finally upgraded our website! If you have any suggestions about the site, feel free to comment, email, or message us on Facebook! We’re always looking for omnomnom places as well, so if you know any – put in a word for them. Lots more to come, and hopefully you omnomers will able to join us too! Until next time. Nom.



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