What’s Wellington’s best beef dish?



Photo: Annette White

It’s no secret I’m a card-carrying carnivore – a fully paid up member of the nose-to-tail eating club.

Meat is bloody marvellous. The whole beast, flesh, bones, marrow… it’s all good.

And Kiwi-grown? It really is among the best in the world. Yet two of the most memorable meat meals I’ve eaten in recent years have been in London restaurants.

·         Roast bone marrow and parsley salad at St John Bar and Restaurant in Smithfield. There’s a thrilling contrast between the austerity of what’s on the plate – bones, grilled sourdough, a small pile of dressed parsley and an even smaller pile of Maldon salt – and the luxuriousness of the marrow, jelly soft and slippery.

·         A magnificently meaty beef pie for two, shared with a friend in the stark but pub-convivial surrounds of Great Queen St, in Holborn. The dish arrives with a battered old serving spoon, the kind your nana has in the second drawer in her kitchen. The gravy has bubbled up around the edges. And the crust… Oh my god, the crust. A proper suet crust. Flaky. Intensely savoury. Melt in your mouth light and toothsomely dense at the same time. It is the crust of dreams. It is perfect.

This week I’m taking New York-based food and travel writer Elyse Pasquale out for dinner in Wellington. Her blog, Foodie International is all about tasting different countries’ cultures. Literally.

Elyse is eating her way around New Zealand filming a new web series, Off the Beaten Plate. She’s already staying with a sheep and beef farming family so she can find out first-hand what makes our lamb so good. So while she’s in Wellington, I want to showcase our wonderful grass-fed New Zealand beef.

But there’s so much choice. I’m struggling to decide. Where should we go for dinner? And what should we eat? I’d love to know what you think.

Tell me, what’s the best beef dish you’ve eaten in a Wellington restaurant in the past 12 months, and why was it so good?