Word is spread­ing about Ninety Six

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

First im­pres­sion:

Af­ter hear­ing a lot of peo­ple talk­ing about the new wine bar in town we de­cided to check out the newly up­graded Ninety Six Restau­rant and Wine Bar at the Cen­ten­nial Court Mo­tor Inn. En­ter­ing the restau­rant has to be done through the re­cep­tion area of the mo­tor inn but once in­side the wine bar and restau­rant area are easy to ac­cess and invit­ing. We were im­pressed with the up­grade done to the medium sized restau­rant and the decor had ob­vi­ously im­proved from the pre­vi­ous older style hotel­restau­rant.

Food:

The menu on of­fer is small, but of­ten smaller menus can mean bet­ter food. We could not re­sist or­der­ing three of the five starters which in­cluded gar­lic loaf ($8), pan seared whole scal­lops with lemon ai­oli sauce ($12.50) and grilled prawns ke­babs with gar­lic chilli coat­ing ($12). The bread was served with a soft cen­tre and with the plen­ti­ful gar­lic but­ter on the side to spread on our­selves, it went down a treat. The prawns were cooked to per­fec­tion, as were the scal­lops. For mains we or­dered a slow roasted pork belly with sea­sonal veg­eta­bles, gourmet pota­toes and ap­ple cider jus ($27) and the chicken fil­let burger with red onion cheese and ca­jun may­on­naise ($18.50). The pork was ten­der and melted in the mouth – per­fec­tion. The ap­ple cider jus was an ideal com­ple­ment for the meat and was taste­fully put on the well-cooked veg­eta­bles. The burger of­fered a spicy kick and as it was served with fries – an ideal-sized meal af­ter our sev­eral starters. In our opin­ion the smaller menu worked won­ders.

At­mos­phere:

De­spite ad­ver­tis­ing it opens at 5pm, we ar­rived at 5.30pm and were told din­ner did not start un­til 6pm. The walls echoed with si­lence and some up­beat mu­sic would have been wel­com­ing. We were happy to sit down on one of the sev­eral comfy and ap­peal­ing couches which were on of­fer in the wine bar and in a slightly se­cluded area around the cor­ner. We were slightly dis­ap­pointed with the lack of ef­fort put into the ar­range­ment of the out­door area and it would not be invit­ing for those want­ing to nip out­side for a minute for some fresh air or oth­er­wise.

Ser­vice:

The ser­vice was amaz­ing. Our wait­ress was very in­for­ma­tive and went above and be­yond while serv­ing us and it really ap­peared that she en­joyed her job and wanted to en­gage in con­ver­sa­tion. Our meals did not take long to be served and our drink or­ders were reg­u­larly topped up.

Ver­dict:

De­spite be­ing a small menu, it of­fered a wide range of seafood op­tions as both a starter and a main. The Ninety Six Restau­rant and Wine Bar is an ideal place to en­joy a wine in a quiet area and comfy but is not ideal for out­side din­ing. Word has been spread­ing about the re­fur­bish­ment of the restau­rant and I would rec­om­mended book­ing.

627452075. Pho­tos: CHE BAKER 627452072.

Good food: Slow roasted pork belly (front) with sea­sonal veg­eta­bles, gourmet pota­toes and ap­ple cider jus and the chicken fil­let burger (back). Re­fur­bished: Ninety Six Restau­rant and Wine Bar at the Cen­ten­nial Court Mo­tor Inn in Alexan­dra.

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