No partridge, but temptations abounded

NERO'S: Plenty to chew on as you peruse the menu and its panopoly of goodies.
NERO'S: Plenty to chew on as you peruse the menu and its panopoly of goodies.

Nero Restaurant
36 Amesbury St,
Palmerston North
Phone 354 0312

Open: 11am-3pm Mon-Fri; 5pm-late Mon-Sat
Mains range up to $39 Reviewed by Lisa Durrant.

It was recently announced that Nero Restaurant is a semifinalist in the Monteith's Beer and Wild Food Challenge, with its entry Partridge in Palmy Tree.

We visited Nero's recently, hoping to try the successful entry. Unfortunately, this dish was no longer on the menu, though the waitress mentioned the judge was in town tomorrow so the staff would soon know if they've reached the finals cook-off in Auckland.

While the partridge was unavailable, there were plenty of other tempting options on the menu.

My friend chose the deep-fried brie for her entree. This was served with poached tamarillo, proscuitto, rocket and a hazelnut wafer. It was a great combination of flavours, with the tamarillo cutting through the richness of the brie perfectly. The brie had a nice crisp breadcrumb coating protecting its softly oozing inner - yummy.

An entree of venison fillet wrapped in bacon caught my eye. Done to medium, the venison was cooked a little more than I often encounter, which I enjoyed, and it went well with the pear accompaniment.

Keeping to the red meat theme, I opted for aged Angus Pure eye fillet for my main. Beautifully tender, the beef was sitting atop a potato and leek rosti, and then had a mini shallot tart filled with plum jubes and foie gras pate balanced on top.

While eating the beef combined with the other components of the dish, it was not immediately evident that the meat had a slight sourness to it.

However, on its own, I found the flavour a little unpleasant, something I have not encountered in other aged beef I've eaten.

My friend had the panfried blue cod on pea and prawn risotto croquette with celeriac puree and with a grilled lime.

While the cod was a little dry in some places, the croquette was very tasty, hot and more the star of the dish than the fish.

We decided to share a dessert and chose the white chocolate and raspberry baked cheesecake with a matching icecream.

The white chocolate flavour in the cheesecake was a little undefinable, but the whole raspberries gave a delicious mouthful of flavour.

Overall, the cheesecake was rustic in interpretation, with the crust a tad on the hard side when it came to cutting through it with a spoon.

With most local establishments having been reviewed, the restaurant column will be taking a break until next year.

Manawatu Standard