As I was sending photos to Instagram & Twitter of my Hawke’s Bay adventure the twittersphere called out to me “You must go here”. Here being Ten24 where Kent Baddley cooks up his version of country food. So a few tweets to Kent & we had put the social in to social media & lunch was booked.
I say his version as this is country food as you have never had it before. The food is definitely a little more fine dining but the space is a little more rustic. Rustic in all the right ways, light & airy & most importantly welcoming. They see your car pull in to the car park & then there is some at the door to welcome you in for a few hours of exciting, creative, flavourful food, beautiful wine & friendly, attentive service. All at once you feel right at home.
There is a focus on local with the menus changing daily depending on what is available & what Kent feels like concocting in his kitchen. Seated & sorting out the wine, well Richard our wine expert sorting out the wine, while Steph & I perused the menu & immediately struggled with the starters as it all sounded so tempting. So rather than the inevitable plate envy for starters we decided to share & try a little of almost everything. A good choice.
While waiting for starters a little amuse bouche, or rather 3 amuse bouche & a sign of what was to come. The best snails I have ever eaten, crumbed & a top an olive tapenade, the perfect salty foil for sweet, juicy snails. And then actually one of the stand outs for me a white turnip soup. Simplicity itself with just a little rosemary to play with the sweet turnip. To finish the amuse bouche a perfect fig, vibrant jewel like pink & just perfectly ripe. As I mentioned here the first fig to exceed my expectations of this little fruit that so many people adore.
For starters; smoked duck parfait that came in a little aubergine on top of some flat bread. Creamy atop the crispy flat bread a great match. Next an Ikana petit mussel salad with chilli sauce & yoghurt. Bright, fresh & light. The stand out starter for me was the brioche crumbed squid with pink pepper mayonnaise. I really couldn’t go past either the brioche crumb or the pink pepper mayonnaise. The sweet brioche & the peppery mayo a most welcome variation on the usual run of the mill squid or calamari.
The mains provided us all with dilemmas. In the end we all went with fish. Snapper schnitzel for Steph, ginger palm sugar roasted Glacier salmon with rhubarb for Richard & for me brill fillet, whitebait fritter & celeriac puree. I just couldn’t go past the whitebait fritter. I loved how the simplicity of the menu allows for the squeals of delight when our mains arrived in all their glory. Who would have thought brill fillet & whitebait fritter would have looked like this....?
Or that the salmon & snapper would look like this?
Fresh, local seasonal food does make all the difference. It just all tasted to incredibly bright & fresh. Perfectly cooked fish, little fritters bursting with whitebait & velvety smooth celeriac puree for just a little sweetness. The other mains just as delightful for my lunch companions.
And then there were the desserts. We were after all having a long lunch & it being a long weekend we had the holiday feeling so it would have been very wrong not to sample some of the desserts. Yes desserts, like with the starters we had to share. Could you go past Sicilian spiced orange cake or fresh passionfruit brûlée with raspberry coulis or marshmallow chocolate brûlée ravioli?? I didn’t think so.
The cake was light & orangey & spiced. The passionfruit creme brûlée delectable; the brûlée served in the passionfruit with a little popper of raspberry coulis, perfectly gloopy with a crunchy top. The raspberry & passionfruit the right amount of tart for the creamy brûlée. This was my favourite. Though the most memorable would have to be this...
Who would have thought to make marshmallow ravioli? Well the inventive Mr Baddley would. Little marshmallowy pillowcases encasing chocolate brûlée like something from Willy Wonka or Alice in Wonderland; whimsical & magical. Oh & yes on top of the creme anglaise they tasted very good too.
It was an idyllic few hours & all that a long lunch should be. Great food, great wine, thank you Richard, great company all wrapped up in friendly, welcoming service. Thanks Kent & team it was a wonderful lunch that we will all remember for quite some time. Hopefully it is not too long until the next visit!
This is most definitely very fine country dining in the Hawke’s Bay, so if you are lucky enough to be in the Hawke’s Bay go! Just be sure to book, it is unsurprisingly a very popular place.
1024 Pakowhai Road, near Hastings
Ph: 09 870 6440
Lunch Thursday - Tuesday