RES­TAU­RANT

Feel­ing fried on the sun deck? En­joy the deep-fried fare in­doors.

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS -

Dr Rudi’s Rooftop Brew­ing Com­pany

There is a lot of teeth and tan at #dr­rudis. I scrolled through 100 In­sta­gram posts from the Viaduct bar. I found just six fea­tur­ing folk who might have been over the age of 40. Was I too old for this as­sign­ment? Does my ear­lier use of the word “folk” ren­der this ques­tion re­dun­dant?

Any­way, we went to the Viaduct. Seven women with ex­cel­lent skin­care regimes and solid den­tal plans. We wore ex­ten­sively ripped jeans and exquisitely tai­lored white pants. A bot­tle of rosé. A slug of vodka. One cock­tail! Two cock­tails! It was hot, but we were hot­ter. Beer! It was al­most 5pm.

I jest. There is no rule that says grown-ups can’t drink at the Viaduct and, any­way, not ev­ery­thing you see on In­sta­gram is real. For ex­am­ple, as we left Dr Rudi’s we saw a man with al­most no teeth. It’s a har­bour. Flot­sam and jet­sam is bound to get in.

We’d ac­tu­ally tried to get into Dr Rudi’s a year ago, when it was newly opened and much-hyped. That night we took one look at the seething crowd and de­camped to a bar that gave us ter­ri­ble ser­vice and has since closed down. Dr Rudi’s has lasted the dis­tance, but I don’t think that’s be­cause of the ser­vice — which is of the busy-noisy-bar kind: oc­ca­sion­ally good, of­ten miss­ing in ac­tion.

We’d planned our pre-5pm ar­rival be­cause we wanted to guar­an­tee a sea view for our pre-Christ­mas catch-up. It is a spec­tac­u­lar lo­ca­tion, over­look­ing the very mon­eyed masts of yachties who can af­ford a $265,000 in­ner har­bour park­ing spot (ac­tual Trade Me listing — comes with three ac­tual car park­ing spots).

The sun was scream­ing on to the deck. We lasted 15 min­utes be­fore declar­ing deep-fried de­feat. The group that glee­fully grabbed our ta­ble fol­lowed us in­side five min­utes later. Will global warm­ing be the death of In­sta­gram? (Sil­ver lin­ings, etc.)

The menu looked good. Four types of ribs, kom­bucha-baked ware­hou and a $175 “ocean plat­ter” with scampi, oys­ters and tonnes more. But if it can be bat­tered, Dr Rudi’s has. Were you sick of sea­son­ally fresh, lightly steamed as­para­gus with a sprin­kle of sea salt and a soup­con of butter? Oh, me too. To­tally.

Any­way, we went to the Viaduct and had tem­pura-bat­tered as­para­gus ($12.50), brie-stuffed and beer-bat­tered jalapeno chillis ($16) and twice-cooked bites of belly pork ($19.50) that had def­i­nitely been deep-fried.

We also had the beer-bat­tered pick­les ($8) with fresh lime and house­made ranch dip­ping sauce ($8), but we asked for the skin-on french fries ($9.50) be­cause ev­ery­body knows that’s where all the fi­bre is.

It was a fry-fest, but when you are drink­ing in the af­ter­noon sun, an heir­loom salad with cu­cum­ber rib­bons, pulled moz­zarella, basil and brown vine­gar dress­ing ($17) is not re­spon­si­ble eat­ing. The other sav­ing grace? The food did not look like it had come from a mass-pro­duced packet. All that bat­ter­ing ap­peared to be as in-house as the beer. The jalapenos were the big­gest of their kind I’ve seen; those pick­les were ac­tu­ally re­ally de­light­ful.

Pizza also looked good (it comes by the foot and was very pop­u­lar with the post-work ta­bles of 30-some­things in suits and heels) but we’d gone for chicken wings ($18) and seared king­fish slid­ers ($20). The former were salty, the lat­ter over­pow­ered by an overly oily blend of aioli and tartare. I had high hopes for a rose­mary and gar­lic-crumbed, bal­sam­ic­mar­i­nated mush­room ($18), but six out of seven doubted they would or­der it again.

And the drink? Terra Sancta might have a so­cial me­dia-friendly la­bel, but $70 is an ex­pen­sive rosé. Two ly­chee cups ($18) tasted like two dif­fer­ent cock­tails — one was a per­fect ex­pres­sion of that dis­tinc­tive rose-scented fruit, the other was too sweet and lime-soaked.

The best ser­vice we got was from a bar­tender flog­ging those house-brewed beers. He or­gan­ised a wait­per­son when none could be found, re­placed our water glasses when they failed to sur­vive the shift in­side and cheer­fully of­fered sam­ples of pale ale and lager. Michelle set­tled on the lat­ter. It went per­fectly with all that beer bat­ter. Kim Knight

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