Brews to chew over

At steam­punk bar For­tune Favours, the menu is de­signed around the beers. While the food is more cu­rated than cooked, David Bur­ton made some good matches.

The Dominion Post - Your Weekend (Dominion Post) - - Dine -

Be­gin­ning with The Loaded Hog 30 years ago, Welling­ton’s brew­bars grew qui­etly with The Fork and Brewer, Black Dog, Third Eye and lat­terly Husk.

But now, with the open­ing of For­tune Favours in Leeds St and the im­mi­nent ar­rival of both Hey­day and Whistling Sis­ters, Te Aro Flat is truly be­com­ing Brew­bar Cen­tral.

In view of the dele­te­ri­ous ef­fect of al­co­hol upon my in­nards, I’d prob­a­bly rather not be re­minded that For­tune Favours brew­ery was pre­vi­ously a dip strip­pers. But the point of leav­ing the old sign­writ­ing on the build­ing façade is pre­sum­ably to un­der­line its sen­si­tive ren­o­va­tion: her­itage fea­tures such as wooden ceil­ing rafters and brick walls have been re­tained, but ob­vi­ously the fun multi-coloured pipes that make up the steam­punk bar are new. Long com­mu­nal ta­bles are ar­ranged as pre­cisely as the de­sign of a can of sar­dines would per­mit.

I loved the whim­si­cal Meat and Cheese Bar, which re­sem­bles an over-sized wood­fire oven. At the tiny hatch stands Chef Arun, cut­ting sausages and as­sem­bling tast­ing pad­dles.

Ob­vi­ously the cured meats and cheeses are all bought in, so the ex­er­cise here is not so much about cook­ing as cu­rat­ing. Our pro­sciutto was the best qual­ity San Daniele, while our un­pas­teurised Brie de Meaux and Ro­que­fort were both at op­ti­mum ripeness. Later, Arun re­vealed that even the pork ril­lettes come from The Churchill.

Since the food here is de­signed to go with beer, I matched the pork ril­lettes with The Nat­u­ral­ist, an easy-drink­ing pale ale (un­fil­tered) which, head brewer Dale Cooper and I con­curred, packed a less hoppy punch on the palate than it had threat­ened on the nose, but cut the fat of the ril­lettes nev­er­the­less. Then I stole a sip of my part­ner’s sauvi­gnon blanc, which did the job even bet­ter. The most food-friendly beer ap­peared to be the porter (The Gate­keeper), its toasted, malted flavours a com­ple­ment to the caramelised edges of the Roasted Brisket.

Know­ing this porter in­cluded ca­cao nibs in the mix, I saved a lit­tle to drink with a se­lec­tion of choco­lates from the Welling­ton Choco­late Fac­tory, but there was a fun­da­men­tal clash of savoury with sweet. Much bet­ter was a pair­ing of this Gate­keeper with the Ro­que­fort. But even so, as matches for Ro­que­fort go, I think I’d still have swapped an en­tire brew­ery’s worth of porter for just one small glass of sticky ries­ling, im­bued with no­ble rot.

Bright coloured pipes high­light the bar at For­tune Favours.

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