Restaurant review: Eva Beva, Wellington
On the menu of Wellington's latest gastro-pub is Car Crash Sauce, which strikes me as an apt metaphor for the jangly fitout.
I'm imagining this was decided by committee: "I'll take the feature wall for my paint effects," says one. "Give me the ceiling for my tribal zig-zag motifs" butts in another. "And I bags the corner for my demolition windows and battered corrugated iron" chimes in a hippie wood butcher, hanging up strings of pennant flags and boxing in the pillar with rustic planks.
The sense of restlessness is exacerbated by flashing big screens, delivering hot news feeds about the daily specials and playing mute rock video clips while a duo at the open mic plod through three full decades of Simon and Garfunkel's greatest hits.
Actually, Car Crash Sauce proved no more than a mild tooting of the horn, the chef having lacked the conviction to fire this mayonnaise with bulk chilli as the waiter had promised. It formed a bed for Southern Fried Buttermilk Chicken, soggy from under-heated cooking oil, and lacking the requisite knobbly coating that results from double-battering.
A small plate of prawns was competently cooked, even if the promised chilli, garlic and coriander failed to register.
Similarly, there were purely token scraps of apple and fennel with our Slow Cooked Pork Belly - albeit also competently cooked, with crisp crackling.
Potato Gratin was marginally under-done, but Seared Beef Fillet was good and its minty Salsa Verde even better.
We were also pleased enough with a straightforward rump steak with garlic butter and shoestring fries, one of seven daily specials our uber-cool waiters had neglected to explain. They would simply have placed each of the many dishes before us and walked away, had I not repeatedly asked for explanations.
Having asked for a bottle of pinot noir, the waiter marched off before I could specify which one. Naturally he brought the most expensive bottle, Hopper's Crossing, which seemed rather rough and tannic for $60, and lacking varietal character.
One Thing To Try
Classic Caesar Salad
You might need a sharp knife and fork to attack it, but this is indeed the real deal, right down to the crisp croutons, bold bits of anchovy, shaved parmesan, good dressing and proper cos lettuce. I'd even forgive the inclusion of chicken and the omission of coddled egg…
32/35 Dixon St (formerly Hope Brothers)
Ph: 021 112 1457
Price range of mains: $24-$26
Cost: $102 for two (excluding wine)
Wine list: ★★½