Cafe Chat: Wellington museum will get a new modern Asian restaurant
Modern Asian restaurant Hot Sauce will open at the QT Museum Wellington next week, with Wylie Dean, formerly of Wellington Hospitality Group, as executive chef.
Based on the concept of the same name at QT Melbourne, the menu will include sashimi and bao buns. Think hawker food joint Mr Go's meets Dragonfly.
"If it were a cocktail it'd be one part Japanese, one part Thai and a splash of Korean shaken with a dash of LA, and served with a twist," Dean explains.
"I've worked in kitchens in Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and China. One of my highlights of working in Japan was spending three weeks in Jiro Ono's kitchen of Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame. Of course, I wasn't allowed to touch anything but I watched his techniques closely and was blown away."
"With the Asia Pacific region right on our doorstep, I think Asian cooking should be more of a feature in the culinary institutes of New Zealand, which instead tend to favour classical French techniques.
"The secret at Hot Sauce is what you don't see in the food, which is the fifth element or the fifth taste, umami," Dean says.
"The subtle techniques that enhance the taste of food, we use fermentation, kelp curing, brining and host of other techniques to enhance what we do."
The drinks have been designed with flavours to match to food offering, with the classic whiskey highball updated with a touch of pear and mint, and the Sake To Me with hints of lemon and dill.
Sydney-based Shelly Indyk, director of Indyk Architects, is the interior designer behind the newly-constructed purpose-built venue.
"The space was a car park so my initial intention was to make it feel more exposed and 'street' like," she says.
"The finishes are hard wearing, honest and beautiful. We've used metal, concrete, bamboo, timber, and tiles with rich coloured rugs, fabrics and leather. Red is big; there are red highlights and red light. I think it creates a sexy mood."
Hot Sauce opens Thursday September 21. QT Museum Wellington, 90 Cable St, Te Aro, Wellington.
Wine country in the city
An array of wineries will be taking over the capital at Hawke's Bay Wine Celebration, at the end of the month. There will be over 200 wines from more than 35 producers, with noteworthy drops including the Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnay and a 2007 Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon. Held at Prefab Hall, the event will spill over into Prefab Lane to create a festival vibe. Tickets ($45) include flavour-matched canapes, created especially for the event, with the option to buy other snacks such as a pulled pork bao. Prefab Hall, 13 Jessie St, Te Aro, Wednesday 27th September, 6pm-8.30pm. hawkesbaywine.co.nz
Time for Tea
New afternoon teas have been launched at Miramar's Coco Restaurant at the Roxy Cinema. The traditional three-tiered offering ($24/$29 with Prosecco) comes with egg sandwiches; goats cheese tartlets with cherry tomato; and the usual smoked salmon gets an upgrade with blinis and caviar. There's also an East meets West High Tea ($27/$32), showcasing Southeast Asian flavours with banana leaf wrapped Nasi lemak; and vegetable stuffed tofu. High Tea is served Tuesday – Sunday between 3-5pm. cocoattheroxy.co.nz