To celebrate local produce in the Greater Wellington region, more than 100 restaurants put out special menus for the month of August in the name of Wellington on a Plate. Out of all those restaurants, I’ve decided to try The White House, an establishment situated on Oriental Parade. In search of dishes that I don’t normally prepare myself, I had wanted to try their degustation menu. However once I spotted their normal dessert menu, I had my eyes set on one special item that meant this will be an a la carte evening.
To start, I was served a warm cauliflower velouté drizzled with truffle oil and sprinkled with more truffle powder. On the side is house made bread and butter.
The first impression was the smell. The truffle smell was intoxicatingly earthly, and I think it is an acquired taste. Those who read my earlier post about the food show would know that I like truffle, so this was something I was very eager to try.
But no I had to take photos first of course.
What surprised me next was that the truffle oil on top trapped the heat and it was still very hot when I finally started to eat it. The soup was extremely smooth, just thick enough and the truffle was a perfect match to the cauliflower. Hmm ideas are now flowing abound in my head over what I could do to a humble cauliflower.
Main: Medium rare Angus pure beef fillet, fried scampi, Worcestershire spatzli, ham poached young carrots, carrot puree, oxtail juice
WOW. That’s my impression when the plate was laid in front of me. The beef was cooked perfectly. The carrot purée smear was done with such precision it showed how confident the chef was in plating up. I need to practice that! The oxtail juice sauce was exquisite – the thickness was just right, not runny yet not too thick nor congealed. When you lift it with the fork, it has a certain tension and elasticity to it, rendering it sticky. Nice.
The spatzli, a German type of pasta, is the one that I didn’t initially get, but as I tried more of the dish the more I feel this was the right carbohydrate to go with it. It is quite light and together with the sauce it made a nice combination.
Sides: Hand cut chips with truffle salt.
These were very good (because of the truffle element) but were a tad bit soggy and perhaps too salty (I hear my GP saying “low salt diet” in the back of my mind).
Dessert: Snow egg, passionfruit fool, meringues and passionfruit granita.
This was beyond description. The snow egg was a baked meringue, soft and pillowy. The passionfruit granita cuts through the fool, and the crunchy meringue florettes made a perfect contrast to the snow egg. I’m obsessed with the tartness from fruits cutting through richer and creamer sauces lately, and this one is right up there amongst the best. Heavenly.
What a perfect end to the meal.
Score: 9/10 just a point off for the less than perfect chips.