Matakana is slowly making a name for itself in the New Zealand map for its extremely good quality local food produce. Located about an hour’s drive from Auckland, it’s frequently visited by people for its well renowned Saturday morning farmer’s market. I personally like making a special trip up that way to go to Blue who sell the most tantalizing organic ice cream. Now, having spent a nice afternoon at Plume, it’s another reason to take the pleasant drive up north.
Formerly known as Heron’s Flight, the restaurant was rebranded as Plume on October 16 2010 with a complete revamped interior decor, landscaping and management. Plume is all about local New Zealand wine and produce, the two together, they celebrate culinary diversity. - Plume
Plume made a great first impression. You could tell a lot about this book from its cover, with the way it’s been designed – the branding, the signage and the design of the overall environment. It’s clearly evident that the way the Plume story is communicated from every touch point is carefully considered and orchestrated.
Sustainability is also an important aspect to Plume’s philosophy. The building itself is an energy efficient north facing New Zealand villa type building design with a low carbon floor print, plus it incorporates the use of as many recycled materials as possible.
THE FOOD & WINE
The menu essentially reflects local cuisine, it also celebrates New Zealand’s cultural diversity and new thinking. Their dishes fuse the flavours of global kitchens with New Zealand’s own traditional heritage. Their chefs prepare everything in the kitchen from scratch, focusing on fresh, seasonal produce.
We started with the wine so lets start there. Being the design geek that I am, I was initially admiring the print finish of the label – a nice uncoated, textured stock with a slight UV emboss on the duck illustration. As soon as I took a sip of the 2009 Runner Duck Red, I instantly regretted being the designated sober driver… This French inspired wine from the Runner Duck Estate is incredibly smooth to drink. It’s as if the grapes are melting in your mouth. The taste is fruity and the aroma reminds me of fresh cherries picked straight from the tree.
MAIN: Crispy Rabbit with Mandarin pancakes, Asian slaw, roasted peanuts, hoisin sauce.
I chose the Crispy Rabbit for my main. The last time I had rabbit was from a dodgy bar across the Atocha Station in Madrid, so I thought it would be nice to let the rabbit redeem itself and it did. The experience of assembling my meal together was great fun, the result was like a fresh spring roll. The flavours were clean and very complimentary which worked well with the crispy rabbit. The only downfall was I wanted more!
MAIN: Char Sui Pork Belly with rice and wok tossed vegetables
The pork belly was delicious. This might be a big claim but I personally think it’s better than the pork belly from Café Hanoi, which I had later that evening (also very good). The sauce was incredibly tasty and the pork was so tender that it just makes it effortless to eat.
MAIN: Bang Bang Corn Fed Chicken with crunchy peanut sauce, vermicelli, mung beans, baby gem salad, sesame dressing
This is a perfect light summer meal.
DESSERT: Special Dessert of the day
DESSERT: Churros with coated in Barbados sugar, cinnamon, Mexican hot chocolate sauce
One of the best churros I’ve had. It had a light crispy shell and the inside was soft and fluffy – perfect for absorbing the dark chocolate. I also liked the cinnamon and pistachio sprinkle over the dessert.
I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, it’s like hanging-out at a friend’s place where lunch would easily flow into dinner with great food and conversation. For music, they had a live performance with a girl perched up on a stool, strumming away on her guitar. It provided a lovely ambiance to the idyllic scene.
Overall, it was a perfect afternoon, it’s great when you try a new restaurant and it exceeds all expectations. If I had to be really picky, my two criticisms would be that it took a little while before we got to eat (the staff did notify us that there was a group of 15 in the restaurant that they were catering for at the same time). However, it didn’t matter as it was all worth the wait. The other is that I wished they had used more unique styled chopsticks because the ones we had reminded me of a typical sushi takeaway place. A minor detail but the whole experience is something quite special.