There was a lot of food. We went to Citron - spiritual home of Wellington foodies, so I'm told. Now, I'm not a foodie by any stretch of the imagination but I appreciate tasty food. I never thought I'd find myself there, though. ferrouswheel continues to expand my experience on a daily basis. x
They have a nine-course thing going on, where they bring you small portions of a lot of different things over a period of time. I'd liken it to a progressive music set in the way it works, and we were eating for three hours! O.o
I could get all wanky about the subtle interaction of flavours and the insouciance of the sauces, but instead I'll get real about it and go NOM NOM NOM scarflemumfledribble NOM. It was tasty! And instead of that ripped-off feeling you get in some restaurants when you order a steak and it comes on a huge plate of which it covers about the area of a two dollar coin, this was a decent amount of food. The portions were tiny, but there were lots of them. The smallness encouraged me to eat slowly and really enjoy them too.
We ate: cervena (yes I had to look that up to find out what it was), snapper, carrot soup from teeny tiny mugs, chicken with prawn, lamb, cheese, sorbet, a selection of three desserts on one plate, and petit fours. And each one of them was an adventure. The manager brought out each course and explained what it was, where it came from and why each wine was chosen for that particular course..
Wait, what? Wine? Hang on, Tats doesn't drink, right? You're right, I don't. But Dr Wheel does, and he had the wine adventure along with the meal. I found it very interesting to hear about where each wine came from and what about it made them choose it for each course. Apparently they have sessions where they sit and eat, drink, eat, drink, argue - trying to decide what should go with what - it's a serious business and the manager says it's nowhere near as fun as it sounds.
Anyway, yeah, wine. It was very interesting and I did sniff and sip the odd glass to see if I could detect the things that were being described, and for the most part I could. They are very good at what they do. But of course the drinks I had with my meal were non-alcoholic.
As restaurants go, Citron has done a very good job of catering to non-drinkers, but it's clear the degustation menu is focused around wine-as-part-of-dining. While thought had definitely gone into the selection of non-alcoholic drinks to go with each course (the apple juice went perfectly with the fish, for example, and the tomato juice/lamb combo was also awesome), they were less varied and didn't come with the same spiel that came with the wine. Over the course of the meal I had water, apple juice, lemon and soda, tomato juice, ginger beer and pineapple juice. They were all excellent - but I still couldn't help but think that the pervasiveness of alcohol in our society has caused the flavour of a drink to become secondary to its alcohol content.
I mean, if non-alcoholic beverages had equal status with alcoholic ones, a degustation would involve both, right? And things such as apple juice and lemon and soda would not be tacked on as an afterthought for those weirdos who don't drink, instead they would be part of it - you may have a pinot with one course and lemon and soda with the next, right? Because it'd be about taste, and sometimes wine may not be the perfect complement.
I am narrowly avoiding ranting here - it's one of my pet things, the lack of attention to the non-alcoholic menu in restaurants (In Cafe Bastille, there are none on the menu, you actually have to ask if they have anything non-alcoholic). Citron are STREETS ahead of everyone else in that they've actually thought about what might go with the food. Most restaurants have a list of 20-ish wines and several beers, possibly some spirits, then tacked on the bottom as an afterthought you'll find Coke, Sprite, Orange Juice. In the last 5 years, things like pineapple or feijoa juice have become more popular, and the really adventurous have spirulina. In other words, if you don't drink, you must be a kid and therefore want Sweet And Fizzy with everything you eat.
*mutter* so yes, hat tip to Citron for tipping their hat to the possibility of being an adult non-drinker. They get a bazillion points for this. Even if not perfect (I am an idealist), they Totally Win at catering to me in a world that generally doesn't.
And my, what a food experience. Reasons to love ferrouswheel #797 - hedonism enablement.
And tonight, I'm kind of looking forward to playing house in my wee house with my chosen family and lighting a fire and putting the final touches on *classified* project.
Question: Should I start sewing labels (discreetly) into the things I make? Saying something like "Made with blood, sweat, tears and an overfaced sewing machine by Tats. Please handwash me."