I couldn't let the concept of having a nice lunch go, though (I do love eating out!), so proposed we pop in to Chow to make the day less mundane, and we planned (with reference to the timetables, always a good move) our day trip for a couple of days later.
I've eaten at Chow a few times, and love them for a variety of reasons - they have a great fixed menu for lunch - $25 per head for miso, salad, a main and a drink; they can be pretty speedy at service for the workday crowd; and (essentially) the food is delicious. They bill themselves as "fresh Asian" and that sums up the food very well - it has lots of lovely spiced things, distinctly Asian flavour combinations, but sets itself apart from many of our Asian restuarants with the abundance of fresh (in many cases raw) produce appearing in the dishes.
I have had and loved the tofu - well spiced with a lovely chilli dipping sauce, this is the way to convert the tofu-haters in our midst. ;-) So that was a no-brainer. I have been wanting to try the blue cheese and peanut wontons so we ordered those but sadly they're not available at the moment, so we settled for the coconut prawn dumplings. The prawn was nice and juicy and they were pretty good dipped in the lovely chilli soy sauce, but they don't have my devotion the way the tofu does!
I had the prime Angus beef salad, which was awash with coriander and mint - there was a little more mint than I liked but that wasn't too hard to remedy, and the salad was lovely and fresh, and the crunchy spiced peanut topping was spectacular. The beef was tender and rare and all the flavours work together wonderfully.
Mr Cake had the lettuce cups of Pekin (their spelling) duck, which you roll up in your fingers to eat, which is quite fun. The fatty nature of the meat meant the lettuce was a nice accompaniment, adding a fresh, crunchy aspect. While this was nice it wasn't a favourite - they have so many great combinations, like the beef salad I had, that this probably won't make the shortlist for us again.
It was a great lunch, though - and made even better by the Chow deal - if you're dining between 12pm and 4pm and buy two appetisers, long plates (like our dumplings) or salads, one is free, making our total bill for our lunch $40 - very reasonable for excellent food.
What's your favourite Asian restaurant?
Chow is located at 45 Tory Street, Wellington, ph 04 382 8585, www.chow.co.nz