Pravda Cafe is somewhere you should visit next time you’re in Wellington. I was there fortuitously because of a connection to Hawke’s Bay artist Freeman White, who added an extra creative dimension to the pheasant themed dinner through his three pheasant oil paintings, each painted in a different country around the world. The connection to Hawke’s Bay didn’t stop there. The five course Pravda degustation was matched with Church Road wines and the game birds are bred by Bridgette and Jeff at New Zealand Game Birds, also based in Hawke’s Bay out Sherenden way. As this weekend trip proved, it seems many of us spend time down in Wellington on a regular basis.
When traveling outside your local region, it requires you to dine outside your regular favourites, and with the right advice from locals in Wellington, this can be a
rewarding experience. I was fortunate to be sitting next to the functions manager at Pravda, Antoinette, who seemed to know pretty much everything there was to know about the Wellington dining scene. I listened intently.
The first dish up from head chef Adam Ricket was Partridge Terrine wrapped in pancetta on persimmon bread. Terrine is simply a pressed cold meat way of presenting the meat. For the first dish of this five course degustation, there wasn’t a chance of leaving hungry which can sometimes be the case with intensely flavoured but smaller portioned dishes. The matched Sauvignon Gris from Church Road is the first they’ve ever produced.
Pravda isn’t just a dinner hotspot, but is a regular choice for business lunches on a time frame as well as local hotel guests all within a stones throw of Customhouse Quay. Expect simple bistro food while taking in the rarified ambience that the building enhances. They also put on special events, such as weddings, increasingly special functions like tonight and more recently a high end lingerie show thanks to local retail store Andrea Moore.
The game consomme is a powerfully flavoured soup with truffled mushroom tortellini. Beautiful texture, rich tasting and it held up well to the Reserve Chardonnay. The conversation is starting to get going across the tables at Pravda and you can see that we’re all enjoying this game bird gamut. The next dish is breast of pheasant and Bridgette from New Zealand Game Birds confirms that it’s tasting fantastically. “Our birds are raised in outdoor pens with a lot of fresh leafy greens and ad lib grain, so they are well grown with a good layer of fat to keep the meat juicy and flavoursome.” adds Bridgette. They’re keen to see restaurants serving a lot more pheasant, and with guaranteed supply now possible, this could be a sign of things to come both in Wellington and Hawke’s Bay. The dish is presented sushi like but I prefer the pheasant breast filling to the savoy cabbage wrap. While we eat, Scott from Church Road winery shares the story of the Marzemino grape and tells us about the light bodied properties of the wine that’s tasting fresh, vibrant and fruity. I do think that hearing a description while sipping does make the experience even more vivid.
The confit leg of duck bring us to the end of the savoury dishes. Simply executed and delivers on the Pravda promise to keep food honest. The Church Syrah is stunning. “Fruit from our best ever Syrah vintage.” says Scott. Our last course of the five course degustation is a rhubarb and apple crumble with salted caramel. I remember the winner of last years Masterchef Nadia Lim talking about this as her favourite healthy breakfast dish. It was also on Joe’s Garage breakfast menu and by chance I’d tried it that morning. Two rhubarb and apple pies in one day, but I’m not complaining!
Wellington on a Plate 10-26th August will bring a fair few Hawke’s Bay locals down to the capital, but unfortunately the Pravda ticketed event for the Wellington feast sold out before it even began. You may still be able to book your ‘Ultimate Truth’ burger lunch here if you’re quick. Visit on any other day and you can expect to receive a warm welcome. Pravda it seems is just as special for us visitors as it is for Wellingtonian’s who’ve been calling it their local for nearly 18 years.
- Pravda is honest simplicity of bistro food, freshly roasted coffee, wines of the world and the welcome of an old friend Tweet
- Pravda it seems is just as special for us visitors as it is for Wellingtonian’s. Tweet
- Pravda isn’t just a dinner hotspot, but is a regular choice for business lunches Tweet