Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dining Out in Napier

So, it seems that whenever I'm in Napier with work I have a bad dining experience.

After a pleasant enough pre-dinner drink down on the waterfront at Ahuriri (spying some of the Black Caps), my colleague and I headed into town into search of a curry house. And chose the wrong one.

I ordered a Goan fish curry, which I should have returned as soon as it arrived. The fish was so tough I could barely cut through it - it was like overcooked chicken!

Anyways, when we left the owner asked if we enjoyed out meal and I said I found the fish a bit tough (I was being kind). Then I asked what sort of fish they used... and if it was fresh. He sheepishly admitted that it was frozen terakihi - I think he knew all along that they were trying to get rid of some old leather on me.

And interestingly enough the West Indian cricketers were eating there too... I guess they won't be moving too quickly on the pitch tomorrow if they also ordered the fish curry ;-)

So... I ask you - where should I be eating next time I'm in Napier?

There was a great Indian restaurant in Napier called Bombay something, I think - I can't remember what the exact name was, and it doesn't seem to appear on 'Dining Out'-style web sites. It was on Emerson St. or Dickens St, in the middle of town. I guess it might not still be there - this was almost ten years ago.

Anyway, what was especially awesome about this place was that it was in a converted discotheque - it was in a 'basement' i.e. you went downstairs to get to it - and they hadn't taken away the dancefloor, or the mirrors on the walls and ceilings when they did the fit-out.

It also had a range of 'Pal' dishes, which were seriously hot (twice as hot as the vindaloos, according to the proprietor). I went with someone once who had lived in India (and had an asbestos mouth-lining installed hile he was there, apparently). Foolishly I tried his Chicken Pal. This was in the days when I was a serious curry fiend, and yet it still utterly, utterly destroyed me. It took a litre of milk and a litre of yoghurt - procured from a nearby dairy by my darling sister - before I recovered.

Great place.
Ha ha ha "Goan fish curry", as in.. "Go'on, you're 'avin' a larf, innit. That's never a bleedin' fish. I ought to give you a slap, Sanjay." etc.
Yep, it is because of your coaching that I now sway towards seafood when eating Indian. I guess I got caught out on this one...

I mentioned to Aidan that perhaps I should have ordered vegetarian instead as "they couldn't fuck that up".

He suggested that they probably would have ;-)
I've got a friend at work who spends a lot of weekends in the Hawkes Bay. She thought that place was quite good and reckoned they must have been having an off night.

So if you're daring you could always give them another go.

Chambers Restaurant and Pacific Kaimoana get high ratings by Cuisine but they are listed as expensive.

Shed 2 (a former cargo shed) is less expensive. It includes a bar as well as a restaurant, separated out. They serve a mix of food incl fish dishes, steaks and pizza (bar menu).
Shed 2 has also opened another section of the bar called Caution that does small snacks to meals. Sounds like it's aimed towards the younger market (hey that's us isn't it? ;) ).

You could always make a trip to one of the lovely winery restaurants - say Craggy Range in Havelock. It's $$$ but I hear it's well worth at least one visit.

Note I haven't been to Napier for 5 years so it's all conjecture.
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