The Tribune (NZ) - - SAVOUR - Mal­colm Hop­wood

The Ho­tel Coach­man is of­fer­ing an ex­cit­ing al­ter­na­tive to the tra­di­tional af­ter work Christ­mas func­tions.

Christ­mas is an ideal time for busi­nesses and so­cial groups to en­joy end of year cel­e­bra­tions but, on many oc­ca­sions, these can clash with other en­gage­ments and fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties.

In­stead La Pa­tio Cafe´ and Bar is of­fer­ing an in­no­va­tive and in­ex­pen­sive lunch menu for groups of 10 or more.

Ho­tel Coach­man is fa­mous for its Christ­mas Day lunch where La Pa­tio caters for up to 300 din­ers but it’s now en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to cel­e­brate the fes­tive sea­son from the start of the month.

Its set lunch menu for $30 per per­son ex­tends from De­cem­ber 1 to 24 and of­fers starters, mains and desserts. For the mains, din­ers have a choice of suc­cu­lent fresh fish of the day, An­gus pure Scotch Fil­let Steak, home­made corn frit­ters or chicken ter­riyaki salad.

The gluten free An­gus Steak is ac­com­pa­nied by a mixed salad, fried egg, fries and be´ar­naise sauce while the corn frit­ter stack, also gluten free, in­cludes tomato and av­o­cado salsa, topped with yo­ghurt and rest­ing on a bed of lettuce and sea­sonal salad.

For dessert who can re­sist an in­di­vid­ual Christ­mas pud­ding served with brandy cus­tard and vanilla ice cream or a minia­ture pavlova, topped with fresh fruit salad and pas­sion fruit coulis?

Ho­tel Coach­man’s own­ers Leonie and Bren­dan Hapeta say the De­cem­ber lunch menu was in­tro­duced last year with an im­me­di­ate re­sponse from peo­ple so it’s back in 2016 as a firm favourite.

‘‘We’re cel­e­brat­ing Christ­mas at Coach­man from the start of the month through to Christ­mas Day,’’ Leonie says.

La Pa­tio Cafe´ has the capacity to open up The Club Room along­side if there’s strong de­mand.

As a re­sult Leonie and Bren­dan ad­vise peo­ple to book early for the Christ­mas lunch spe­cial.

They em­pha­sise, how­ever, that the set lunch for 10 or more in no way re­places La Pa­tio’s daily se­lec­tion of dishes for in­di­vid­u­als or small groups.

‘‘We wel­come any­one to dine with us through­out the day and en­joy head chef, Dex­ter Galaza, de­li­cious food,’’ Leonie says.

La Pa­tio has also made some suc­cu­lent changes to its din­ner menu for the spring and sum­mer sea­sons. It’s re­tained many of its favourites but in­cluded some ex­cit­ing new dishes in its line-up.

La Pa­tio’s ap­petis­ing en­trees now in­clude zuc­chini and sweet corn frit­ters and wild mush­room and feta cheese risotto balls, both gluten free while a lamb rack with a harissa and herb crust served with minted pea puree, baby car­rots, baby beets, turnips and a horseradish cream and smoked bar­be­cue pork ribs en­hance the din­ner and cafe meals.

Then for dessert there’s the spe­cialty of the house – a sticky date cre`me brulee served with home­made but­ter short­bread.

Leonie wel­comes din­ers to come and try the de­lec­ta­ble dishes that Dex­ter has cre­ated in the kitchen.

Ho­tel Coach­man re­minds peo­ple that it is sell­ing the re­main­ing tick­ets for the Zonta Gar­den Ram­ble, be­ing held on Satur­day Novem­ber 12, at $35 per per­son with funds go­ing to the Palmer­ston North Women’s Refuge and Zonta In­ter­na­tional.

Smoked bar­be­cue pork ribs are on the menu at The Coach­man’s La Pa­tio this sum­mer.

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