The Con­ser­va­tory: Just the place for that spe­cial lunch or din­ner


An ex­cit­ing din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence has ar­rived in Hamil­ton with the of­fi­cial open­ing this week of a new `a la carte restau­rant, The Con­ser­va­tory. The fresh­est in­gre­di­ents is the start­ing point for all dishes with ev­ery­thing pre­pared on­site un­der the di­rec­tion of a head chef and sous-chef who to­gether have more than 20 years' ex­pe­ri­ence in hos­pi­tal­ity. Two of the most pop­u­lar mains since the restau­rant's soft open­ing last week have been the Ba­con-wrapped Apri­cot Chicken and the Veni­son & Blue Cheese Burger. You'll find pork, fish, veg­e­tar­ian and steak mains too. Plus some en­tic­ing en­tree se­lec­tions and sal­ads. Then there are The Con­ser­va­tory weekly sea­sonal spe­cials and some tempt­ing desserts. Check out the sep­a­rate lunch/brunch menu and the care­fully cho­sen wine se­lec­tion. Prob­a­bly the most in­ter­est­ing as­pect of The Con­ser­va­tory is that the new up­mar­ket ta­ble ser­vice restau­rant is an ex­ten­sion to the pop­u­lar Hamil­ton Work­ing­men's Club in Com­merce St, Frank­ton. But for­get what you may think you know about old­fash­ioned club food and ser­vice. The Con­ser­va­tory is a long way from chips with ev­ery­thing or col­lect your food from the counter when your num­ber is called. It is even a step-up from the club's well­fre­quented carvery, which will con­tinue un­changed along with the pop­u­lar bistro. “The Con­ser­va­tory will es­tab­lish its own iden­tity as our new restau­rant at the HWMC,” says club man­ager Ken Mar­cum. The colour scheme, d´ecor, and de­sign of the 80-seat restau­rant are cer­tainly more down-town din­ing than so­cial club and is al­ready re­ceiv­ing much pos­i­tive feed­back. As Ken ex­plains, “It is not about at­tract­ing new mem­bers — although they would be wel­comed — as mem­ber­ship is

hold­ing steady at more than 7000. “We want to en­cour­age our ex­ist­ing mem­bers to come more of­ten for more rea­sons. “We are for­tu­nate to have a strong club, a club that is con­stantly grow­ing; to be rel­e­vant 10 or even 20 years from now it has to adapt, of­fer more than the tra­di­tional club en­vi­ron­ment,” says Ken. With the club aim­ing to cater more for its 30 to 50 age group, as well as ev­ery­one else, the carvery by it­self is just not go­ing to cut it, so to speak. “The Con­ser­va­tory will, we hope, at­tract peo­ple who have a spe­cial oc­ca­sion to cel­e­brate, a wed­ding an­niver­sary, a birth­day or other spe­cial an­niver­sary,” says Ken. “It is a bit more up­mar­ket than the usual club mem­bers' restau­rant that may not be quite right for that spe­cial din­ner or lunch.”

Photo / Terry Su

Some of the Hamil­ton Work­ing­men's Club staff team at The Con­ser­va­tory (from left) maıˆtre d' Dee Tengu, head chef An­gela Don­ald­son, and sous-chef Mark Slade.

Photo / Supplied

Some of the first guests en­joy the new restau­rant, The Con­ser­va­tory.

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