Cosy nook de­lights

Re­turn in mind to catch a screen­ing

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

At­mos­phere

Nes­tled off State High­way 6 in a hide­away op­po­site the High­lands Mo­tor­sport Park is the quaint and quirky restau­rant/ cafe A Drop of Red. I felt like I was en­ter­ing a mag­i­cal rab­bit hole as I stepped across the nar­row porch lined with rus­tic wooden fur­ni­ture into a dark room il­lu­mi­nated softly by dozens of lamps hang­ing from the ceil­ing, stand­ing on the floor or sit­ting on the wooden ta­bles. A large fab­ric screen just in­side the en­trance blocks off the din­ing area. I found that slightly off-putting but once we went into the din­ing area I re­alised it was used as a back­drop for the pro­jec­tor screen when the place holds movie screen­ings (bril­liant idea). We sat at a ta­ble, but the nu­mer­ous fat lounge chairs and couches looked invit­ing with cush­ions and throws. There are a lot of dif­fer­ent styles go­ing on. I loved the hats on the wall, the lamp shades, the crock­ery our meals were served on and the kitsch salt and pep­per shak­ers. The whole place had a very retro and rus­tic feel about it. The only thing I found slightly tacky was the line-up of plas­tic M& M fig­urines and Snoopy char­ac­ters on a shelf above the win­dow.

Food

We were hun­gry so or­dered a lot of food. I had the chicken and mush­room stew ($9.90). It was thick, creamy and full of home­made good­ness. I felt it was slightly shy on the mush­rooms – but I can never get enough mush­rooms – and the small serv­ing size was slightly dis­ap­point­ing. In about five mouth­fuls it was gone. Luck­ily, we had also or­dered a tapas board which in­cluded half a baguette, chut­ney, Saf­fron Farm olive oil, olives, crack­ers and cheese which Mum and I de­voured and felt was well worth the ($10). Mum had the eggs bene­dict with sal­mon ($14.90) which she said was cooked to per­fec­tion, but also slightly on the small side. My chil­dren shared a ham, cheese and tomato melt ($10) which I thought was a bit ex­pen­sive for what it was, and a bowl of chips ($4.50). To our de­light, there was an amaz­ing se­lec­tion of Cen­tral Otago wines. As Mum and I or­dered two glasses, the owner/ wait­ress opened a bot­tle of the Rab­bit Ranch pinot gris for us ($9 a glass) which tasted so de­li­cious we or­dered an­other round. My son also re­ceived a lit­tle bonus – an ex­tra marsh­mal­low with his fluffy in thanks for the 60c tip he in­sisted on putting in the tip jar.

Ser­vice

Who­ever was work­ing be­hind the bar – the owner or an em­ployee – she was a ma­chine. She was the only one work­ing and was fu­ri­ously get­ting food cooked as well as serv­ing cus­tomers. We did not have to wait long for our meals, she re­mained at­ten­tive – ask­ing us how our food was – as well as keep­ing us in­formed of what she was do­ing next. I am not sure how she would cope if it was fully booked, but she man­aged fine with us and sev­eral other small groups com­ing in.

Ver­dict

A cosy, charm­ing restau­rant full of cu­riosi­ties with home­made cook­ing waft­ing from the kitchen. I plan to go back for a drop of red dur­ing an evening movie screen­ing.

Hid­den hide­away: ADrop of Red. Home­made good­ness: The chicken and mush­room stew.

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