Cuisine: New Zealand, Fine Dining
Location: New Zealand, Wellington
Logan Brown occupies a grand old building dating back to what looks like something from the Roman / Greek period. I notice there’s even an upstairs area. It’s situated on the bustling Cuba Street, which is akin to a Hay or Murray St Mall for those of you in Perth, only there’s heaps of restaurants, bars, and cafes too apart from retail shops.
As it was a late booking and the only thing on offer is the degustation which was what I was eying when I originally booked the restaurant ahead of time, things were a little expedited as there’s lots of food to get through. Despite that, service wasn’t compromised in any way. Okay by me as I was pretty hungry even before I landed in Wellington.
Kingfish Tartare with Chilli Crab & Green Papaya Salad
First up was the tartare which tasted kind of raw at first but with a freshness immediately overtaken by the peppery flavour of the green papaya salad. The chilli and crab also present different flavours. Lovely dish to start off with but would have liked just a tad more of the salad which helps make the meal. Clever dish.
I next was served some house made bread with delicious rich butter and oil & balsamic vinegar. The latter was nice, the butter even better. I like the NZ butter. It’s creamy unlike the tasteless Australian butter. French butter is my favourite thus far.
Puau Ravioli with Coriander, Basil & Lime Beurre Blanc
This is Logan Brown’s signature dish which has been on the menu since the restaurant first opened in 1996. It was removed a few years back much to the annoyance of customers who immediately complained and so the dish was brought back. It looks like 2 spoonfuls of a thin cheese sauce but it’s super thin silky ravioli masked by the creamy sauce. Wow! That pasta is among the best I’ve had. What a lovely soft texture holding the soft shellfish (puau) like filling counteracted by the crunchy garnish. The rich buttery beurre blanc is offset by the hint of acidity provided by the lime. Absolutely delicious.
Crisp Skin Japanese Gurnard with Corn Salsa, Popcorn Scampi & Chipotle Roasted Tomato
I was immediately drawn to the scampi popcorn which had a very light crisp coating giving a little crunch but keeping the flavours of the scampi intact. The scampi are really yum. It has a unique taste and I prefer it over prawns. The perfectly cooked fish with crisp skin takes on a distinctly Mexican flavour with the corn salsa and chipotle roasted tomato providing a freshness that can only be achieved with Mexican cooking. It’s a simple dish that takes a few elements and makes the fish a hero. Delicious.
Seven Spice Rabbit Loin, Lily Flower Spring Roll, Peking Duck Consommé
This was an interesting dish with a distinct Asian flavour. The two pieces of well cooked rabbit didn’t seem like much till they met that delicious sweet Asian spiced sauce. The spring roll was compact, a crisp pastry holding plenty of filling containing shredded duck. This was really enjoyable. The duck consume, after several sips, reminded me of brandy snaps. The golden syrup flavour somehow appeared in this clear golden brown liquid.
Fiordland Venison, Smoked Beet Polenta, Black Pudding, Charred Quince & Cocoa Jus
Three lovely pink pieces of tender venison were presented atop a beetroot puree, charred quince on top of the venison, and black pudding to the side. The deep flavours of the tender venison combine superbly with the earthy root vegetables of rich smooth beetroot, silverbeet, and mushrooms. What also helps is the jus which adds lots of flavour to the venison. While the vegetables soften the deep meaty flavours of the venison, the strong flavours of the black pudding achieves the complete opposite with a ramped up intensity. The quince, while not super tart, keeps all elements together. I really enjoyed this dish which was among my favourite with the ravioli.
Cwmglyn Jersey Cheddar ‘Patsy’, Syrian Braised Pear & Rosemary Lavosh
Who would have thought a perfectly poached spiced pear would go so wonderfully with NZ cheese and crackers? Stroke of genius. I loved it.
Dark Chocolate Delice, Orange Ice Cream, Ruby Grapefruit & Caramel Cornflakes
The smooth dark chocolate needed something to take the edge of and the whipped cream and sourness of the grapefruit did the trick. Along with the orange ice cream providing a lovely citrus flavour to the chocolate, the crunch of the cornflakes broke the soft smoothness of the other elements.
Logan Brown Food Review Summary
Verdict: What’s interesting about the menu is the range of cuisines employed in the different courses – French, Italian, Mexican, and Asian. Each carries soft flavours that let the ingredients shine through. The delicate crafting of the dishes and careful pairing of the elements, plus consistency, makes the dining experience an excellent one. I really loved the signature dish, the ravioli, which was fantastic. Just eclipsing it was the venison which was superb. A notable mention is the masterstroke of spiced poached pear with the NZ cheese, creating a fantastic pairing for something so simple as crackers and cheese. The peppery flavour of the tartare, the freshness of the Mexican inspired fish, the Asian flavours in the rabbit and duck, and the different citrus flavours with the dark chocolate presented delicious dishes to be enjoyed through the course of the night. If you want to experience a delicious and well crafted dining experience in a lovely setting then a visit to Logan Brown is a must.
Recommendation: Highly Recommend
Logan Brown Restaurant Details
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