January 5, 2012

Wild venison in the Fiordlands

After a decidedly disappointing venison sandwich on our first day in NZ (which we probably ordered a bit too quickly, as venison does not seem to fit that well in a sandwich thinking about it now…) we reconciled ourselves with the meat a few days later, by enjoying a superb rack of the wild game on New Year's Eve.

To celebrate the night leading into the new year as it should, we booked a table at Redcliff, a well-reviewed restaurant in Te Anau in the splendid region of the Fiordlands, also well frequented by the Lord of the Ring cast and crew as we learnt a little later. After driving through pastures of domesticated deer since our arrival in the country, we were especially eager to try the wild version, and it did not fail to delight us. While I am rather used to having game off the bone, cut in medallions or "noisettes" (literally hazelnuts) and seared in the pan as it tends to be in Alsace and nearby Germany, the roasted rack we were served that night proved to be a wonderful experience.

Although quite dark on the outside, the meat was perfectly pink inside, and so moist that a single bite of it was enough to justify the chef's decision to serve without a sauce - perfect evidence that simplification is sometimes the key to a great dish. Humbly accompanied by rosemary-flavoured polenta and crunchy leaves (it's the middle of Summer here after all!), as well as a very agreeable glass of Pinot Noir from neighbouring Central Otago, this last supper could not have enchanted us more… Happy New Year!

12 Mokonui street
Te Anau, New Zealand
(03) 249 7431

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