It's no secret that I think that Pier 24 is the best, and my favourite, fine dining restaurant in Dunedin. As I often use just about any excuse to go there, my collection of pictures and thoughts about their various dishes is becoming somewhat scattered. Before it gets completely out of hand, here's a post about some random dishes from different visits, as far back as July/August 2010:
This was a amuse bouche made with thai green curry paste and spicy kumara (I think?). It had lovely depth, richness complexity. It's nine months later, and I can still remember the taste.
Vanilla and five spice panna cotta, red wine poached pear, raspberry ice-cream and tuille biscuit - This was absolutely stunning. The perfectly balanced flavours and textures with the slightly acidic, tender, grainy flesh of the wine soaked pear, the pleasantly sourish, smooth ice-cream and the sweet, silky, creamy, luscious, delicate, wobbly, clingy panna cotta, topped with the crunchy, sticky sugar glass shard.....it was so incredibly good, that (after 20 minutes) I can't even think of a suitable way to end this sentence.
Salt and pepper crisp fried squid - This was my favourite reason to visit St Clair for a delicious afternoon snack and to just relax and enjoy the view. It initially caught my eye as a starter on the evening menu but there were always other irresistible starters that edged the squid out, like the pork belly. Eventually, I realised that they had it on the bar menu, and then I couldn't get enough of it. It doesn't get much better than enjoying hot, freshly fried, tasty, lightly battered and crispy squid, with cool ginger beer and and view of the ocean and the blue, blue New Zealand sky. There was also a hint of a spice in the squid (maybe fennel?) that gave it that extra punch. Delicious.
Unfortunately, the last few times I visited, the salt and pepper squid was not on either menu and the other squid dishes that I've tried since (Crisp fried gremolata crumbed squid starter from the dinner menu and squid rings from the bar menu) have been good, but not as good as the salt and pepper squid. But I've just checked the menus on their site and it looks like it's back on the bar menu!!!
Grilled farmed venison noisettes with Parma ham, potato & kumara rosti, avocado hummus, red wine and candied onion pan jus - This is their new venison item, which is good, but the sharp saltiness of the Parma ham is a bit jarring and doesn't seem to quite fit with the rest of the plate. As I have highlighted before, I particularly enjoyed how the sweetish accompaniments enhanced the flavour of the meat in the old venison dish (which was such a favourite that even though I always went with the intention to try something else, I would inevitably order the venison) and have been craving it for a while now. Alas.........perhaps I can hope for it to make a comeback like the salt and pepper squid.