Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Timaru: Bed & Breakfast and Ginger & Garlic

We are staying a very nice Bed and Breakfast in Timaru called Nelson Heights. Very comfortable and with good hosts. Camille has stayed here on a number of occasions and likes it very much and with good reason. To the right is the bedroom we are in (photo shamelessly lifted from the B&B's website). The bed is excellent - I'm lying in it at this very moment. This is the room which has the ensuite with a spa bath which we didn't get to use. This place is substantially better than many hotels I have stayed at.

Last night we ate at the Ginger & Garlic restaurant which has, as I said in yesterday's post, pretty good reviews in Dineout. I can recommend this place. The food is good.

Shortly after being seated we were given an amuse bouche of a whitebait patty with oil which was quite pleasant.

Our table of five started off by ordering the roasted garlic and mozarella bruschetta, the salmon bruschetta and duck liver pate with breads. This was all good though perhaps a little more bread could have been served with the pate. I particularly liked garlic and mozarella. We got the usual "Would you like cracked pepper with that?" question to which the response was, "Leave the grinder at the table, please".

Rant: This is one of the things that really annoys me about some restaurants. If I want pepper on my food, I want to put it on myself. I want to be able to make the decision to put pepper on after I have tasted the food, not seconds after it has arrived at the table. I want to be able to make the decision to put more pepper on part way through the course without having to call someone over so they can trot off and get a grinder.

While eating I occasionally ground a bit of pepper over the salmon bruchetta portions I had whilst other members of our party chose not to have pepper at all.

For an entree I had the Caesar Salad which I was a just little disappointed with as it was a bit blander than I expected.

This was followed by a sorbet palate cleanser.

For the main, Camille and two others had the pork fillet and were all pleased with it. Some people just can't go past a bit of pork crackling. The fourth member of our party ordered the lamb back straps and was also very happy with it. I was in a bit of a quandry. Beef or Duck? Or more accurately, Angus Pure beef fillet on Moroccan potato gratin w garlic puree and dark mushroom jus or Salt & pepper crusted Canterbury duck breast, oven baked on garlic mash w baby fennel, beetroot tart and peppercorn jus?

I hate decisions like this. I plumped for duck in the end and was not disappointed! It was the fennel that did it for me. I love fennel (mmm fennel braised with garlic in white wine!) and don't get to eat it often enough. This was an excellent choice and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We had a Peregrine Pinot Noir with the meal (actually 3 bottles) which was good but this leads into rant II.

Rant II: Another thing that annoys me about some restaurants is the way the wait staff continually interupt the flow of conversation and the general dining experience by continually attempting to fill my wine glass up after I have had about two sips out of it. Once they have been firmly told, "No. I will fill my glass when I want it filled", they shouldn't keep offering to do it. If they must do the wine pouring they should wait until the glass is at least near empty and I shouldn't have to continually fend them off.

The Ginger & Garlic is a good restaurant. If you are in Timaru and hungry I recommend you dine there.