When an intriguing new restaurant popped up in my Instagram feed I was intrigued to get there. Ode Wanaka is open and the hub bub that surrounds it and it’s ‘conscious dining’ ethics are something I had to see for myself.
Welcome to Ode.
Head Chef Lucas Parkinson and his team have been concocting good food dishes from scratch for around six months now. In basic terms this means food that is organic, ethical, sustainable, seasonal and supports other local growers and ‘makers’ to become part of their dishes. They also hope to have a 150k supply ring by the end of the year.
Recipes are trialled and then often discarded, you might not see them again. So taste and devour and hope that something you like returns. My gorgeous dinner partner (epic blogger Liz Carlson Young Adventuress) and I headed for Test Kitchen Tuesday to taste, sample and then give feedback at the finish.
Dive in folks.
First up we sampled a Gibbston Asparagus, Hawea Egg, Rocket, Sourdough Crumb and Parmesan with chilli caramel. Warmed to perfection and yolky like your grandma would make. My only feedback I wrote down for the whole evening was maybe too many flavours competing for each other. But otherwise a perfect start to the evening. Crunchy and delightful.
Free Range Chicken Breast next with Broadbeans, Radish, which had been poached and then roasted; tangy and sweet. Pea Puree and a Sherry Vinaigrette Gel. Plate. Licked. Clean.
Twenty-One Day Aged Sirloin on a delightful swipe of Cauliflower Puree Mash, Kentucky Fried Broccoli (that recipe was coming home with me) and a 2016 Pinot Noir Jus (apparently costing the earth). A small red dot is known as ‘The Don’; a sharp Red Wine Vinegar Gel that, like Marmite, you only need a little to accompany.
Rhubard Grenita and Elderflower Snow to cleanse and refresh the palate and then a surprise Fifth (I only thought it was three dishes, it’s like heading out to powder your nose and you come back and your meal is waiting), the sweetest Strawberry Ice cream, churned within an inch of it’s life 30 seconds before it landed on my plate (not sure how they got a cow in a kitchen that small), aerated Jersey Cream, Chocolate Milk and Real. Live. Strawberries.
Ode is not only in Wanaka, a place I know and love, it’s somewhere I know will succeed. The people love what they do, they love their dishes, they love their food. They also love this land. Aotearoa is in their veins and so is the way they bring food to you. To your plate. For you to sample, sip, smell and taste.
Be proud boys. You’ve made something very special.
33 Ardmore Street
Post Office Lane