Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Logan Brown - Mr Cake's other birthday celebration meal

To properly celebrate Mr Cake's birthday on Saturday I had secretly booked a table for us at Logan Brown for dinner. Not that his English muffin lunch wasn't delicious... But I figured the professionals could probably do it better than I could.

After Mr Cake got over the initial shock of being inside what is arguably Wellington's best restaurant we took stock of our surroundings - it's a lovely restaurant, set in an old 1920s banking chamber. It was 'atmospherically lit' so my photos aren't too great but it has a lovely feel, the building is beautiful, and the staff were very friendly and helpful.

We ordered our food and the waitress brought out a koha, or gift from the kitchen (what you'd normally call an amuse bouche - a tiny taster to get the palate going and showcase the chef's creativity). It was a smoked fish (sorry but I have lost the type of fish in the recesses of my memory between now and Saturday) with an aioli dressing and micro salad. It was absolutely fabulous, and though I did take a photo I wasn't at that stage brave enough to use the flash and therefore the photo was indistinguishable.

Also on the photography front, I need to develop my food blogger skills some; I felt really obnoxious taking photos so was a bit hasty on some of them and didn't take more than one shot of any dish - so I apologise now for not doing the dishes justice at all, but perhaps if you squint hard while you're looking at them they might look good! ;-)

Mr Cake ordered the Panzanella Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Soft Herbs and Buffalo Mozzarella. It was a nice, light dish with a great big hunk of buffalo mozzarella on top. It was nicely balanced but Mr Cake was a bit disappointed it wasn't slightly more exciting.

I ordered the Seared Hare Loin with Garlic Custard, Mulled Wine, Duck Parfait and Fig Molasses and this was a wonderful dish. The hare was very rich, and beautifully cooked; the 'custard' was amazing - sort of like a jelly, sweet and yet savoury, and was light in flavour so balanced out the rich meat - and the duck parfait was flavourful and the wafers gave a great texture contrast. I loved this - it was very rich though and it occurs to me now that perhaps Mr Cake and I should have played swapsies halfway through (rather than just trading bites, as we did), as his light salad would have been a great complement for my rich, meaty entree. Hindsight is 20/20...

Mr Cake chose the Canterbury Venison Loin, Cocoa Braised Osso Bucco, Cumin Corn Mash and Avocado. His favourite bit was the avocado (and I can attest to its tastiness). The mash was delicious though he thought the texture was strange, and the meat was, again, beautifully done.

My main was the Crispy Duck Confit with Wild Boar Sausage, Sage Stuffing and Cranberry Relish and it looked much better than this in real life! This was a great dish, though also very rich and if I had thought more carefully I wouldn't have chosen this combination together with the hare entree, but it was still delicious. The duck was lovely, with a crispy crispy skin and very tender meat, and the sage stuffing was incredibly flavourful. You can't see the sausage in my appalling photo but there was a reasonably large amount of it and though it was tasty it wasn't amazing and I think I would have enjoyed this just as much without it - it didn't seem to me to add anything. Overall this was another fantastic dish, though - lovely food.

This Blackboy Peach Sundae with Ginger Ice-Cream and Maple Marshmallows was the birthday boy's dessert choice, and the highlight of his night. The marshmallows were delicious, as was the icecream and the sauce and everything - he can't tell me why it was so good, but he did rave about it. The chef obviously put some good chef magic into that one! They also impressed me by obviously taking note when I booked that it was his birthday as it came out with 'Happy Birthday' written on the plate in chocolate, which is always a nice touch (plus, chocolate!).

And another appalling photo displays my Warmed Spice Cake with Vanilla Poached Pear and Caramel Ice-cream. This was good - a light, spicy cake drenched in syrup and the ice-cream was amazing. The pear didn't excite me too much - I didn't find it overly flavourful and it was difficult to eat as it was too firm to cut with the side of my spoon - but it still went nicely with the rest of the meal.

My award for dish of the night definitely goes to the hare entree, but the whole meal was a lovely experience, with wonderful service from our very friendly and accommodating waitress. Logan Brown also have a bistro menu, which consists of three courses from a set menu at only $39.90 per person, so long as you vacate your table by 7.30pm - so we'll have to head back there sometime and try that out.

Logan Brown is located on the corner of Cuba and Vivian Streets, Wellington. Ph 04 801 5114, email,


  1. Your camera's not focusing very well, is it? I don't know how to fix that one (unless you can switch it to manual focus, or perhaps macro mode - you might be getting too close for it to focus normally). However my top food photography tip when using flash on the go is to diffuse the flash by holding a tissue in front of it. Try it - makes a huge difference. (photos on my blog not necessarily demonstrative of this - but when I can be bothered they turn out much better)

    That sundae does look good!

    Bistro menu sounds like a good idea for pre-theatre. How much was a la carte?

  2. I think part of it is me being too hasty - and it was very dim. But I'll definitely have a play with the settings, we have another nice restaurant dinner on Friday (we're both graduating!) so I guess I get another chance. ;-) Awesome tissue tip, too, will have to try that!

    A la carte was pretty pricey - the most expensive meal I've ever had in New Zealand! Mains are around the $45 mark. Our total bill (2 entrees, 2 mains, 2 desserts, 2 (cheapish) wines and 1 OJ) was around $220 - but it's in the Entertainment Book (best thing ever! Fundraiser book full of coupons if you don't know) so one main was free, bringing it back to $175, which is pretty good considering the service and quality of the food.


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