Knowing we were returning to Napier at the end of December, I got online early and booked a table at Pacifica, a restaurant that had been on my list to visit since I first heard about it years ago. The restaurant is housed in a little blue bungalow on the waterfront, and offers a degustation menu. It is owned by Chef Jeremy Rameka and partner & maitre’d Natalie and has been open for an amazing 17 years.
We decided to enjoy the wine pairing option, and can honestly say this was the way to go, with the wines perfectly matching the food. Three of us opted for the seafood menu, and my carnivore husband went for the meat menu. We all started with the smoked eel mayonnaise served with Alpha Domus Cumulus, a sparkling wine. This dish was wonderful, creamy and so full of flavour, just a lovely little way to start our meal. This was followed by kumara, onion crepe in a cabbage broth served with Prophet’s Rock Pinot Gris. This was a really interesting dish that had multiple layers of textures and tastes. Quite delightful!
The menus then diverged with the ‘fish people; enjoying flounder, mussels, dashi and soy stock served with a Villa Maria SV Albarino which I forgot to take a picture of…but you can see my empty plate at least and then a fantastic dish of gurnard with spiced coconut creamed pāua (a form of abalone) served with Pegasus Bay Riesling. This was without doubt my favourite dish and also features in the image at the top of the post. The flavours were just perfect, and the combination of seafood went so well together.
Meanwhile, the meat menu offered red wine braised hare with a mushroom pate served with a Brookfields Malbec and warmed venison with parmesan polenta (pictured below) served with a De La Terre Barbera. Both dishes received high praise.
Dessert was a choice of cheese of a rum and raisin pudding with meringue served with Akerne Noble Noir. We followed dessert with an espresso, served in these beautiful cups. This ranks in the top 10 meals I have eaten in recent years, and was well worth the wait to get a table. Thank you chef for a memorable evening and all the best in the years to come!
This well be entered in the What’s on Your Plate blog challenge hosted by Canadian bloggers Widow Badass and Retirement Reflections. This goes live on the first Wednesday of each month and you can join in too with a food related post, just by adding yours to their linkup.
Thistles and Kiwis is a Wellington, New Zealand based blog written by Barbara, who likes cats, summer, good food and pretends to garden.
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