On the menu
Since Scott Wikohika took over Nomad in November 2017, he has transformed it into not only a top local restaurant, but one of the best in New Zealand.
In fact, Nomad would easily fit into the Melbourne or London restaurant scene.
Everything on the menu is made from scratch by head chef Christian Schuler and his team.
The menu is easy to follow with the choice of Small Plates with tasty treats like Roast Cauliflower and Truffle Croquets topping the list, to Large Plates with a Nomad take on some classic cuisine.
The mains menu includes free-range pork belly, beef short rib or chargrilled kingfish. There is certainly something for every taste.
The deserts menu includes Snickers parfait with peanut brittle and blackberry gel along with ginger cheesecake with turmeric curd and coconut sherbet. Tough choices.
There is even a children's menu, called Little Nomads, with a set price of $14.50.
From outside Nomad, the fairy lights in the trees set the scene for an inviting experience and inside Nomad, it has a relaxing atmosphere. Dark woods on the walls and a large copper chimney above the fire give it an international feel.
The first thing that strikes you is the well-stocked bar with an impressive selection of gins. There is also tap beers including Asahi, Peroni and Moa.
We dined on a Thursday evening and the restaurant was busy but did not feel overcrowded.
We were shown to our intimate table for two and our waitress, Tavae, introduced the Nomad menu to us.
Tavae was attentive and showed a comprehensive understanding of the menu and we were guided by her on Nomad's signature dishes and wine parings.
Nomad has become world famous in Tauranga for its polenta fries with parmesan and rosemary, and we can see why. As we perused the menu we snacked on the scrumptious homemade fries. Brilliant.
I started with the Lamb Belly, Beetroot Textures, Papaya Mojo (south American style salsa) mint and pinenuts, $16.50. I was about to order my usual — pinot noir — when Tavae suggested I matched my entrée with the Los Cardos Melbec 2016, Argentina at $10 per glass. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the Melbec and would even venture to say it was the perfect match for the lamb.
For my main course, I chose the Chipotle Braised Beef Short Rib with soft tortilla, charred corn and pineapple salsa, $36.
Having been impressed with my entrée wine choice, I left my main course wine paring to Tavae who brought me a Borsao Garnacha 2015, Spain, $9 per glass. Again, a stunning accompaniment to the beef.
The Braised Beef Short Rib serving is very generous and fell off the bone. The combination of the tender beef and spicy salsa was in a word — wow.
After much consideration she chose the Roast Cauliflower and Truffle Croquetes, $6.50. A generous portion arrived, and the crispy outside hid the velvety, flavour-packed cauliflower filling. Add in the truffle and Christian took a Kiwi vegetable to a new level. A white wine drinker, she was conservative in her wine choice and went with a Lake Hayes Pinot Griis 2017, Central Otago, $11 per glass.
The main course was a much easier decision. Pork belly being a favourite, she chose the Free Range Pork Belly with Nomad Kraut, mustard cream, roast pear, rarish and patatas paja with shoe string fries, $29. After listening to me chat with Tavae, she asked Tavae to choose the glass of white to best suit her main. Tavae recommended a glass of Turkey Flat Viognier 2016, Barossa Valley $14 per glass. A beautiful complement to the pork.
Value for money
The portions are generous, and we especially liked the versatility of the Smaller Plates. No matter what budget, Nomad offers a culinary journey. From an after work drink and a light shared plate to a dinner out with friends, Nomad covers all appetites.
After completing our dinner, we adjourned to the bar for a night cap. The bar came into its own as a Gin Bar. From the drinks menu of gins I decided to play it safe and go for The Bombay Sapphire. This was mixed with the Strangelove Light Tonic, apple, lemon twist and dehydrated grapefruit. It not only looked impressive it tasted very refreshing and finished off a lovely evening. The staff are well trained and knowledgeable. We liked the fact our waitress left us alone to chat but was attentive and well informed about Nomad's menu. We will definitely return.
• Nomad Food x Wine
• 59 The Strand
• Downtown Tauranga
• Phone: 07 777 0060
• Your host Scott Wikohika
• Open Monday-Saturday, from 4p