My first ever degustation experience was at a restaurant called Mugaritz in San Sebastian in Spain. Allegedly it is amazing. I wouldn’t know though because I was like five months old at the time and slept in my pram as mum and dad shoveled food in their faces. And ever since they’ve been showing me the pictures to torture me.
Sadder though than missing out on actually eating that epic meal, is that it has taken mum 10 years to take me on my second degustation experience. But the good news is that when she finally did, I actually got to eat. Booyah!
Moiety Restaurant is a brand-new, super cool restaurant in Dunedin where they serve up a five-course degustation meal created form the very best local, seasonal produce. I had no idea what I was in for but I couldn’t even have dreamed it would be as good as it was.
The restaurant itself is funky as, with exposed brick and polished concrete which felt a bit industrial but with really awesome moody lighting that made it feel warm and welcoming. Speaking of welcoming, the staff were so, so nice. The chef himself would explain every course when they were served and I’m glad he did because even though they looked simple, each dish was really clever and kinda complicated.
The food is made from Kiwi ingredients but created with French techniques and a Japanese twist. There were so many clever techniques and flavour combinations in each of the courses, I felt like I was in an episode of Masterchef and told mum I felt like I should be wearing a Matt Preston-style cravat, though they’re kinda naff.
We started on a dish of dehydrated and smoked pumpkin with black garlic puree that sounded kinda iffy but tasted amazing!
My favourite course came next. It was a beautiful slice of salmon belly served on toasted nori paste and topped with a bunch of crispy radish discs. Seriously I could have eaten five courses just of this.
I also loved the next dish of beetroot prepared in a bunch of different ways, some soft, some crispy and some firm, and served with creamy yoghurt and this green jellyesque sauce which gave it freshness. It was topped with candied walnuts and a sprinkle of zingy shichimi.
Next up was the ultra yummy pork neck which was insanely soft and tasty and served on a cauliflower puree, with a hint of kimchi and a peanut crumb.
The dessert kicked butt, and was as Mastercheffy as anything I’ve ever seen or tasted. I reckon the judges would give this one an 11 out of 10. It was made from green apples with crème fraiche, burnt butter and meringues that were sprinkled with fennel which gave it a fresh herby flavour and broke up the sweetness.
I actually licked the plate clean, which according to my mum is not the done thing in a nice restaurant. But what would she know? It would have been rude not to.
Now, I know that technically with a degustation you’re meant to stop there but I am me and I saw a person next to us eating the duck pate off their snack menu and I just couldn’t leave without trying it, so we ordered that too and I scoffed the lot. It was some of the best pate I’ve ever eaten and had this amazing Japanese-style plum sauce and freshly baked ciabatta. I would happily go back just to eat this dish for breakfast lunch and dinner.
So, I guess you could say that this degustation was more successful, for me at least, than my first. And there’s no way mum’s getting away with making me wait another ten years for my next one.
Reviewed by Raffles – Aged 10
42 Queens Gardens,
Dunedin, New Zealand
P: +64 3 926 9770
Disclosure: Raffles was a guest of Moiety but all opinions, cravat-craving, plate-licking and over-ordering are, as always, his own.