This has to be one of the better part of the Rugby World Cup experience. Part of the temporary Cloud structure houses a pop-up dining experience called ‘Taste at the Cloud’, which runs from 13 September – 23 October (11:30am – 6pm weekdays, 10am – 6pm weekends)
Several well-known NZ chefs (Josh Emmet, Justin North, Annabel Langbein and Warren Turnbull), have combined their talents to interpret the best of Kiwi produce from the sea, orchard/winery, urban and rural sectors. Each ‘zone’ highlights 4 cocktail-sized dishes with paired wine (or selection of non-alcoholic beverages).
To enjoy these, you purchase tickets which gives you a choice of two dishes (and drinks) for $17, 4 dishes for $28, 6 dishes for $42 or 8 dishes for $54. I picked the 4-dish option, and although I initially thought the dishes were small, 4 plates is a good size for a satisfying lunch.
My tastings were:
New Zealand natural oysters in half shell with a citrus scented jelly. The oysters were good sized, slightly briny and full of flavour. The tangy jelly matched well with the savoury mollusc. I was hugely tempted to get a second helping.
Marlborough clam chowder with cold-pressed lemon oil and fine herbs. This was tasty enough, though I wanted more clam flavour.
Rosemary & garlic marinated beef brioche burger, Whitestone aged cheddar & beetroot relish. A posh Kiwi version of a slider, the perfectly cooked tender medium rare beef pieces worked well with the sharp cheese and pickled beetroot. Delicious.
Beer braised beef & honey kumara pie with macadamia crumb. Whoever thought of using macadamia as a crumb is a genius. The buttery crunch of the macadamia crumb is perfection against the savoury beef, sweet kumara and the very nostalgic tomato sauce.
My only gripe with Taste is the insufficient seating. I guess having more leaning tables rather than seating is a good way to deal with the crowds, but these tasting plates are so good, you really want to take your time savouring them.