On our last evening in Wellington during our long weekend there, we met up with Alastair's father, Malcolm, for dinner. He booked Zibibbo, located on Taranaki Street in the old Police Station building.
Alastair and I rocked up a bit early, and headed upstairs to the restaurant. There was some confusion about whether it was too early for us to be seated. We offered to go downstairs for a drink, but were told somewhat vaguely that it was fine.
Our table was located just beyond the entrance and in front of the kitchen. It was a rather draughty position to sit in, and I felt cold the entire evening!
Alastair and I shared one of the specials for our starter – Bluff oysters ($25 for 6, $45 for 12). We opted to have them natural (the other option was battered and deep fried) and they came with a bowl of tangy thousand islandish sauce and buttered brown bread. The Bluff oyster season starts around March each year, and it is eagerly anticipated by oyster lovers. I never liked oysters when I lived in NZ, and I think it's because of Bluff oysters. They just don't seem to excite me! They were very popular though and these were okay, although unexciting (to me) – I saw many, many plates of oysters leave the kitchen.
For mains, Alastair and I both choose lamb. This was a brioche crumbed braised lamb with salsa verde and thyme jus ($29.00). It was an interesting way of serving lamb. The very tender braised meat was shaped into a log, covered in brioche crumbs and baked (I think). The tenderness of the lamb was very enjoyable, but I found that the meat and the jus were a touch too salty. The creamy mashed potato on the side helped with the saltiness though.
For desserts, I had the vanilla bean pannacotta with poached apricots ($14) and Alastair had the blueberry crème brulee with lemon financier ($13.50). The pannacotta was great – creamy and silky with little specks of vanilla seeds, and the poached apricots were a nice fruity contrast.
Alastair's crème brulee was mostly good too, although I noticed some spots on the top had gone past caramelisation and were actually burnt. He ate his blueberries but left behind the lemon financier. I took a bite, and found it light and zesty. Malcolm had the chocolate fondant cake and he said that it was one of the best chocolate cakes he had eaten. High praise indeed!
All in all, it was a mostly good meal. Service seemed a tad distracted, and we found it hard to flag someone down to order coffees after our desserts were cleared.
When we left, I realised why I had been so cold the entire evening. The weather had completely changed from when we had entered - there was a bitterly cold wind blowing and whipping the heavy rain sideways into us as we walked to the car. Ahh yes. This was the kind of weather I had been expecting during our visit. Wellington, I love you, but I sure as hell don't miss the weather.
25 Taranaki Street
Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
Phone: +64 4 385 6650