After drinks and cheerios, we felt a bit peckish. Since we were already at the Southern Cross, we took the easy option and decided to eat there.
We asked for a table in the dining area, and unfortunately got seated in the darkest corner of the room, so excuse the shite pics! The "stone grilled" section of the menu intrigued us - you choose your desired meat/s, plus chips/potatoes and salad/green vege. The meat comes out on a slab of volcanic rock, letting you cook it to your liking. Gimmicky? Probably.... but we are suckers for a gimmick!
Alastair and I shared the "A Taste of the Cross" ($58, serves 2). My eyes widened when our petite waitress appeared carrying our meal - a plank of wood about one metre in length, on top of which was bread, dips, a bowl of nuts, a bowl of olives, the volcanic rock, potatoes and vegetables, smoked salmon, avocado, salad and a cup of pulled pork. On top of the slab of heated rock were two pieces of completely raw rump steak, two mussels, two oysters and two spoons holding scallops.
The meat sizzled away on the extremely hot rock and the seafood sat quietly cooking. Unfortunately I was overcome by the novelty of the big plank being plonked on to our table, plus was um... taking pictures, and only noticed the oysters after they had been on the hot rock for a couple of minutes. It was long enough for them to cook. Gak. While the meat was cooking, we ate the mussels and scallops. Well, I ate a scallop. Alastair dropped his one on the floor!
The rosemary roast potatoes were okay (although I must confess that I very rarely dislike potatoes!) but didn't have much rosemary flavour. The green vegetables were okay too, although a couple of the green beans had some brownish spots.
We only nibbled at the bread and dips. I think one dip was capsicum and despite appearances one seemed to be blue cheese. There were also olives that were marinated with preserved orange. I wasn't really a fan of the preserved orange and left the olives after trying one. I did eat most of the bowl of mixed nuts though.
The pulled pork came in a ice cream sundae cup, and it was spiced and smokey. There was a bit too much food though, and we didn't eat much of the pork.
When we had finished eating, the rock was still hot, so we sat and chatted and plonked random things on the slab. Naturally we had to ask about the rocks, and found out that they are heated in a kiln for several hours. They can cook for 30 minutes and stay hot for an hour and a half!
It was a fun meal and definitely a gimmick worth trying at least once.
The Southern Cross
35 Abel Smith Street, Te Aro
Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: +64 4 384 9085