Wednesday, 27 January 2010

It's an ill wind

At least Bernard O'Shaughnessy has helped us score some free publicity...


We kicked off our 2010 tasting programme tonight (the 26th) with a matched beer and food evening. The event was proposed by our regular customer "M", who happens to be the executive chef at a Wellington restaurant that will remain nameless, but which most of us will never get to dine at. Chef M looked at our grill-less, oven-less, extraction-less kitchen and decided he could make it work. He and I picked some beers that he could work with and he figured out a menu. I expected some shortcuts here, some stuff out of packets with a bit of garnish there, and maybe one serious, thought out dish. How wrong I was.

Chef M and his assistant turned up with an array of prepared portions, sauces, garnishes, a couple of extra domestic appliances and a plan and got to work. They were ruthlessly efficient, cleaned as they went, never raised a sweat and did things with certain kitchen devices the manufacturers never intended. Without extraction we had strong food aromas spreading through the bar and our normal cooking methods are designed to avoid this, but as a one off the glorious seafood and red meat aromas could be tolerated.

The results were stunning. It was a real eye-opener for us beer geeks who struggle to turn out passable meals and snacks from our primitive equipment. The full menu is below.

  • Nelson Scallop & Tauranga Prawn Duo on Coriander & Carrot Mousse with Three Boys Wheat
  • Venison with Black Pudding Crumble, Rhubarb Compote, Kumara Porridge with Mike’s Organic Ale
  • Nori-wrapped Salmon with Pickled Cucumber & Raspberry Balsamic Glaze with Baird Angry Boy Brown Ale
  • Bacon Wrapped Angus Beef Fillet on White Bean Cassoulet with Rogue Chipotle Ale
  • Kikorangi Blue Sandwich with Sea Salt Chocolate Canache served with Renaissance Craftsman Chocolate Stout
  • Banana Tarte Tatin with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream served with Eisenbahn Bier Likor
For the record, the most popular dish of the night was the Angus Beef Fillet, the most popular beer was the Baird Angry Boy Brown Ale and the most popular match was the Banana Tarte Tatin with Eisenbahn Bier Likor.

Many thanks to everyone who participated and especially to our chef and sous-chef.

Friday, 8 January 2010


It has been our intention for some time to get an off-licence. Mainly this is so we can get faster turnover and a quicker return on our imports, but also because it's something that customers are asking for. It took a while to organise all the paperwork because September to December of last year were simply so busy. Then having set the whole thing in motion, something went wrong with the publication of our public notices and the whole thing was set back several weeks.

This delay has had even worse consequences than we could have foreseen because it means we've unwittingly come to the attention of one Bernard O'Shaughnessy of Newtown. I say we've come to his attention but in all honesty, I find it unlikely that he knows the slightest thing about us. I say this because he has lumped us together with every other company that published a public notice regarding a liquor licence on December 17th and the text of his "formal" objection makes no connection between his problem with the liquor trade and the way we do business.

His objection is expected to delay the issuing of our licence by one or two months. This is even though the local licensing authority have said that they support our application and are as frustrated with O'Shaughnessy's wholesale objections as I am.

I'm using very restrained language here. I don't think I need to say what I really think, because here, here, here and here are the four pages of his objection. I won't even suggest what readers' reactions might be. Feel free to comment, but please don't use language and terms that might raise legal issues, because I'm considering legal action for defamation myself, in the hope that it will convince O'Shaughnessy that using the provision for objections in the Sale of Liquor Act in this manner is a misuse of the process and an unjustified slur on businesses such as ours.

But you be the judge. And if anyone has any suggestions that will help us throw out this objection sooner rather than later then chime in.