Recipe of the day

Crisp sheet breadCrisp sheet breadAs you begin to roll out this bread it may seem that you are making far too much for your needs, but it is incredibly moreish.

Carrick (Central Otago)

247 Cairnmuir Rd, Bannockburn, ph: 03-445 3480

by Charmain Smith | Cuisine issue #155 | Monday, 14 January, 2013
RATING:
A relaxed lunch at Carrick is one of the highlights of a visit to the Cromwell wineries. Unlike some winery restaurants, it makes the most of its views. On a fine day you can sit on the lawn overlooking the inlet surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, and wonder at the dramatic Bannockburn sluicings, imagining a time when miners washed away clay with high-pressure water to search for gold.

Indoors, you can enjoy the same view through the big glass doors. The building has clean modern lines, while glass panels in the floor reveal the barrel hall below when lit. An open fire for chilly days adds to the ambience.

Chef Janet Lyall offers seasonal and wine-friendly menus that change often. When we visited, a rustic terrine of pork hock and white beans topped with onion marmalade came with salad and homemade bread.

In mains territory, a dish of slow-cooked merino short ribs with crisp skin and a rich layer of creamy fat was served with kale and five-spice gnocchi. It was a hearty, flavourful dish that went well with the Carrick pinot noir match.

Meltingly soft sweetbreads came encased in a crisp panko crust, served with a piece of slow-cooked lamb shoulder and a smear of sweet, bright orange carrot puree.

Lyall’s desserts are heavenly. An orange creme brulee with slivers of caramelised orange zest and biscotti was simple but delicious, while a warm ginger cake with caramelised apple and vanilla ice-cream had just the right balance of flavours and temperatures.

Most of Carrick’s current-vintage wines are available by the glass or bottle, but there’s little in the wayof older vintages except for the Excelsior Pinot Noir 2007. The menu doesn’t list wine recommendations, but if you ask they can tell you – even if it means insisting the waitress goes back to check with the chef because a dish (the sweetbreads) was new. Pinot gris or chardonnay were recommended, we learned eventually, and yes, the chardonnay was a good match.

Service was variable: our waitress was efficient enough, but not quite au fait with the particular requirements of a winery restaurant and what its customers might want to know. On the other hand, the knowledgeable manager seamlessly fitted in tastings for visitors at the counter, in between serving in the busy restaurant.

The pace is leisurely, especially at the weekend, so allow a couple of hours – it’s a lovely place to spend the afternoon.

Carrick
247 Cairnmuir Rd, Bannockburn, ph: 03-445 3480, carrick.co.nz
7 days 11am-5pm (lunch and tastings)
Closed for a short time in winter
Mains $24.50-$26.50

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