F.A.W.C: Special menu brings taste explosion

By Linda Hall

1 comment
Mahia St Kitchen
Mahia St Kitchen

As part of Winter F.A.W.C!, participating restaurants in Hawke's Bay are offering "F.A.W.C! by 5" menu specials in multiples of $5, totalling no more than $50 per person.

You have just one more week to try some of the amazing food being offered at great prices on "F.A.W.C! by 5" menus.

Don't miss out on Mahia St Kitchen's amazing offer.

The three-course menu is fantastic and created so diners can decide for themselves if they want all three dishes, or perhaps just the main and the dessert or the entree and the dessert. We were greeted by front of house manager Andrew Williams, who told us the "F.A.W.C! by 5" menu had been popular.

The entree was served on wooden boards and looked impressive.

It was Rabbit and Freedom Farm pork rillettes, served with pickles and sourdough crisps.The rillettes were tasty with a gorgeous smooth texture.

It spread easily on the crunchy sourdough crisps and the combination was delicious. But wait; there's more. Spread a little quince chutney on top of that and wow ... a taste explosion.

There were also mini gherkins and white pickled onions adding more crunch and a bit of briny flavour to the dish.

What a start to the meal. Loved it.

The main was crispy-skin snapper fillet, served with lemon and sorrel mash, finished with a crayfish sauce.

Sound good? It certainly was. The fish was perfect. Crispy skin and tender, white meat. The potato mash was creamy and the sorrel gave it a lovely herby taste. But it was the crayfish sauce that made the dish outstanding. I'm not a huge crayfish fan so was a bit worried I wouldn't like the taste. But it was creamy and rich and while I could certainly taste crayfish it didn't overpower the distinctive taste of the snapper. The dish was warming and satisfying.

The dessert we shared because, after two outstanding courses, we knew we couldn't eat one each.

The warm banana and almond pudding served with caramel sauce and finished with amaretto and marscapone was yummy. The banana and almond pudding was like a little upside down cake covered in caramel sauce. It was delightful. What an end to a meal full of different flavours, textures and tastes.

I spoke with Mahia St Kitchen owner/head chef Arnault Vallee who trained in France and has worked in some top international restaurants.

He described the F.A.W.C! by 5 menu as "a bit of winter indulgence at affordable prices".

"I wanted to do something a bit different, that's why I chose to use rabbit in the rillettes. Rabbit is a bit like chicken, if you like chicken you will like rabbit.

"I used snapper to keep the price down and the sorrel in the potatoes was to balance the heaviness of crayfish."

He said the secret to cooking perfect fish was to make sure it was dry and cook it skin down in a hot pan in clarified butter.

Asked what two things he thought went best together Arnault chose red wine and cheese.

I second that.

Mahia St Kitchen is in the Vetro Courtyard off Mahia St, Ahuriri, Napier.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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