Restaurant review: Ortega Fish Shack, Wellington
Cuisine rating: 15.5/20 (one chef's hat)
The intriguing tale of a humble Venezuelan fisherman who served stunning fish in a beach shack is behind this busy eatery, the story conveyed through everything from the decorative fishing paraphernalia to the relaxed atmosphere and seafood-focused menu. The service is friendly, helpful and professional, thanks to the delighful charms of maitre d' Davey McDonald (named Ghiotti by European Foods Restaurant Personality of the Year in the Cuisine Good Food Awards). The fish, as you'd expect, is spankingly fresh – try Kapiti coast tuna sashimi with togorashi and tamari lime dressing or a creative dish of smoked warehou with black pudding, kimchi, lemon mayo and deep-fried egg. Heirloom tomatoes on sharp goat's cheese with green peas, radish, crunchy cashews and saffron vinaigrette smell of summer, and classics like crepes with orange caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream are superb. The choice of wines, including sherries, is exciting.