With incredible wines, sensational food and luxury accommodation in a stunning location, the first ever ‘escape with dish’, at Cape Kidnappers, with Greenlea Butcher Shop and Church Road, was an event to remember.
On November 7, I was incredibly privileged to host dish’s first ever weekend escape, at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay.
Having been invited through the electric gates at the bottom of the exquisite Cape Kidnappers property, it was clear from arrival that our guests would be in for a magical time. Driving through the beautiful farmland and emerging at the main lodge, it is impossible not to be struck by the scenery – native bush and rolling hills giving way to vast sea views from the top of the hill. The lodge is impressively stylish and impeccably furnished, as are the rooms, where each guest found a dish welcome gift pack and confirmation of the agenda of activities, which began with a very special afternoon wine tasting. Those in attendance were lucky to be in the expert hands of celebrated Church Road chief winemaker Chris Scott and uber-knowledgeable (and extremely good fun) dish drinks editor Yvonne Lorkin.
It was an absolute treat to sip our way through nine stunning wines, starting with the 2019 Church Road Grand Reserve Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc, through to the intriguingly smoky 2018 Church Road One Tuki Tuki Chardonnay and the buoyantly fruity 2018 Church Road McDonald Series Marzemino. We finished with a surprise extra pour of the Church Road TOM Cabernet Merlot 2013. Guests were talked through the nuances of each wine by twice-crowned New Zealand winemaker of the year Chris, with Yvonne providing extra detail in her inimitable style. Afterwards guests headed to their rooms to relax and refresh for dinner. By 6.30pm the lodge was alive with the sound of happy conversation as Champagne did the rounds. James McMenamin from Cape Kidnappers got dinner under way by kindly introducing me, and I began by comparing the feeling in the dining room to that of a wedding – a joyous celebration of the union between Cape Kidnappers, Church Road Wines and the Greenlea Butcher Shop, along with Gareth Stewart, acclaimed national executive chef for Nourish Group.
The meal began with plates of jewel-like yellowfin tuna, with heirloom tomato, yuzu and shiso accompanied by Church Road Hawke’s Bay Blanc de Blancs Methode Traditionnelle. Both main courses included pasture-raised, grass-fed meat provided by the Greenlea Butcher Shop. The first, Ovation lamb rack with white asparagus ‘barigoule’, pancetta and Ortiz anchovy, featured lamb that was pink, tender and beautifully textured. This was paired with the 2019 Church Road TOM Chardonnay, a surprising yet perfect match. The main event was beef cheek ‘Rossini’, with duck liver parfait, brioche and spring peas alongside Church Road’s 2015 TOM Syrah. The export-quality beef provided by the Greenlea Butcher Shop was meltingly tender and indulgently delicious. To finish, Gareth had prepared ‘banana, banana, banana’, warm banana cake served with salted chocolate ganache and toffee ice cream, served with Church Road’s 2018 Grand Reserve Noble Pinot Gris. During the evening Chris and Gareth walked us through the menu and wines, while the happy hum in the room grew progressively louder.
The following morning, I was stationed in a nook of the lodge, tapping away on my laptop as guests made their way to the golf course or up to the spa for a relaxing 50-minute massage. Inadvertently eavesdropping, the comments from those wandering by were universally enthusiastic and appreciative, with one even proclaiming the previous evening’s dinner the best they had ever eaten. Thanks to Gareth Stewart and our fabulous partners, Cape Kidnappers, the Greenlea Butcher Shop and Church Road, we know our first ever ‘escape with dish’ will definitely not be our last.
Greenlea Butcher Shop