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Matterhorn – Our Pick

It’s virtually impossible to read about Wellington’s buzzing restaurant and bar scene without hearing great things about Cuba Street’s award-winning bar-restaurant; Matterhorn. As you wander tentatively down the long, dimly-lit and slightly shabby hallway you are not immediately reminded of scaling the great heights of an Alpine mountain. But the hallway soon opens out into a well-dressed and very cool urban restaurant. Recently voted New Zealand’s best casual-dining restaurant by cuisine magazine expectations are high and after being seated quickly after a short wait – not long enough to finish our, very delicious, aperitifs – we’re seated in a comfortable and quite private corner. The maitre d’ is gracious and efficient; a good start to what turns out to be an amazing experience marred only slightly by a somewhat condescending waiter. Sadly the praise for the restaurant seemed to have gone to his head as if he was single-handedly responsible for its success; I can vouch for the fact the restaurant’s strengths are elsewhere.

The food is truly excellent, and for such a vaunted establishment, extremely well-priced; mains between $25-32. We opted for a starter and a main and were left with no room for dessert, much to our disappointment when we saw a truly mouth-watering dish of chocolate treats alight on a neighbouring table. Having had the remarkable and gamey main of hare and bittersweet dark chocolate sauce I had satisfied my dessert desires.

Matterhorn is also a bar of some repute and, as you’d expect, the wine and spirits list is extensive and well thought out. There is also a diverse and tempting tapas menu perfect if you’re up for a more casual dining experience or in a bigger group. All in all, despite the slightly pompous waiter, we agreed Matterhorn was excellent but perhaps not the best in New Zealand.

5 May 2010

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  1. 106 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington City, Wellington

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