Ser­vice

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

Food

It is al­ways a good sign when you sit down at a restau­rant and you can over­hear other din­ers dis­cussing how de­li­cious their meals are. My hus­band and I were rav­en­ous by the time we were seated at Cromwell’s new restau­rant No. 7 in the Mall and my tummy rum­bled as I scanned the varied and de­li­cious-sound­ing choices. I chose the as­para­gus and ri­cotta tart – char-grilled as­para­gus, ri­cotta, semi-dried toma­toes and si­cil­ian green olives in a puff pas­try case. ($14.50). My starter was colour­ful, tasty and fresh. The as­para­gus was cooked per­fectly with a nice crunch and it was washed down nicely with a glass of pinot gris. My hus­band chose the Thai beef salad which con­sisted of porter­house steak mar­i­nated with Thai spices, pan-fired, served with spicy peanuts, cu­cum­ber rib­bons and salad greens with a se­same dress­ing ($14). It was colour­ful, spicy and gen­er­ous and he was de­lighted to find he did not have to hunt through the greens to find the steak. If we thought the starters were gen­er­ous, our eyes nearly popped out of our heads when our mains were placed in front of us. I had the Can­ter­bury rack of lamb served on a white bean puree with amint, olive and al­mond salsa, topped with crispy po­tato sticks ($32). The lamb was cooked to per­fec­tion and the ro­bust flavours from the puree and salsa com­ple­mented the lamb per­fectly. My hus­band’s favourite meat is pork, so it came as no sur­prise he or­dered the twice-cooked pork belly ($26) which was slow­cooked with crispy skin served with creamy mash, caramelised ap­ple and salsa verde. Dessert was not nec­es­sary be­cause we were so full but we could not re­sist the temp­ta­tion of the home­made dark choco­late and grand mariner mousse served with vanilla bean ice cream and fresh straw­ber­ries ($11.50) and the rasp­berry pana­cotta served with choco­late and No. 7’s ser­vice was put to the test be­fore we even got to the restau­rant. I had booked us in for din­ner at 7pm but my hus­band had to work late so I rang and asked if I could make it 7.30pm. ‘‘Not a prob­lem,’’ the lovely lady over the phone said. Tick for cus­tomer ser­vice. Tick two came when we en­tered the restau­rant and were greeted by two smil­ing faces. The wait­resses were wel­com­ing, po­lite and ex­tremely at­ten­tive. It would have been nice to have a bot­tle of wa­ter left on the ta­ble.

At­mos­phere

The at­mos­phere was bright and breezy like the wait­resses. Clean, crisp table­cloths, bright, bold colours (pre­dom­i­nantly lime green and white). The evening was balmy the night we dined and the win­dows which looked out to the leafy mall were open. The vibe in­side the restau­rant seemed in­fec­tious. I saw an older cou­ple have a chat to an Asian cou­ple about their trav­els and the wait­resses eas­ily chat­ted to cus­tomers. Even the chef spoke to a few cus­tomers as he leaned over the open counter. I like be­ing able to see chefs in the kitchen work­ing away and glance my eye over to make sure it is clean and pro­fes­sional. I would like to see a bit of art on the walls. The place was nice and bright but a lit­tle bit bare. The toi­let area was small, a bit dated but func­tional and most im­por­tantly sparkling clean.

Verdict

I would not hes­i­tate rec­om­mend­ing this restau­rant. Not only does it tick all the boxes when it comes to food and hos­pi­tal­ity, it has the bonus of a pizza take­away ser­vice which I am sure will be ex­tremely pop­u­lar. The meals were gen­er­ous and had great flavours. Our bill was less than $160 and that in­cluded sev­eral drinks.

Main­land meat: Can­ter­bury rack of lamb.

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