Today we returned to an old haunt for lunch - the Wellesley. It is with out a doubt one of the most beautiful olde world hotels of NZ. The soft scent of good cigars and old spice ooze from its dark panelled oak walls .
A forever stilled bisons head hangs over an old wood smoke drenched fireplace. A baby grand piano sits on black and white checkerboard tiles in the Hotel lobby waiting for musical fingers to make the keys dance.
We dined at a table in the corner of the bar. It seats a spreaded ten or an intimate dozen.
The old McGinnity Restaurant was once draped in starchy white linen redolent of the sumptuous leisurely privileged age of last century .
Now it is a renamed bistro style café - 1815. It is not well patronised, probably because few people realise it has been opened again post earthquake repairs needed to shore up its weak brick bones.
A chef came up to the bar and we all in unison squealed with glee. Chef Anton from our beloved heady days at the now defunct Beaujolais wine bar in Woodward St was master of the 1815 kitchen.
Recently lunch in many establishements has become tiresome as plates are over dressed with all manner of flowers. Moleculargastrofuckery abounds in the trendiest of food dens. But I don't want flowers with my meat and I don't want to drink from a jam jar..
And that's the reason we squealed when we saw Anton as he does real food real good. His plates do not need to be dressed. The substance of the food he cooks with love is enough get the mouth waters streaming.
The menu was basic as it appears the hotel is hampered by the last of the earthquake repairs .We opted for a tasty haloumi and tomato bruschetta to start . We fought over the last one. It was seasoned well and flavours balanced to perfection.
Then we opted for Chef Antons most popular Beaujolais Dish. A steak sandwich with béarnaise sauce and chips. It is as wonderful as it is simple. The meat was tender, rocket crunchy and the chips crispy. It took us back to the days where and when deals were done , politicians rolled, rumours started, lies told, truths sacrificed, affairs begun and finished, $1000 bottles of wine savoured over endless afternoon hours and Stump jump red quaffed in the time it took to ring parliaments bells.
And on that steak were no flowers, no microgastrofuckery no silly plastic syringes- just good meat, good salad and good chips - food in no need of frippery.
The service was impeccable, the surroundings welcoming and company was just grand. And we welcome back Anton, a man that knows good food don't need no frills. I do hope Anton enters Wellingtononaplate