We’ve been traveling from the top to the tip of North Island and therefore needed to find somewhere to stay nearish Wellington for our flight the next day.
The boys wanted to fit in a wine experience. Not exactly a wine tasting, rather a bit of wine culture.
Martinborough produces some of New Zealand’s best pinot noir from the town’s predominately family-owned vineyards so it was the obvious choice.
We arrived after a day exploring active volcanoes and having Afternoon Tea in the Tongariro National Park. It was a long drive over mountain ranges so we were all exhausted. The vine yards circle the town and so you’ll spot neat rows of vines as you head in. We also spotted a huge pig. I mean huuuuuge.
Thinking ahead, we had picked a great little restaurant right next to our hotel.
Our bedrooms were very comfortable and I looked longingly at the squashy pillows.
The Martinborough Hotel has old colonial charm with timber cladding and a wrap round balcony over looking the quaint town square. It dates back to 1882 (looks slightly like a smart Wild West to my eye).
Not wanting to miss dinner but longing for sleep, I had a soak in the bath. I mean, how could I resist?
Feeling much more refreshed, I was set to go.
We settled into the restaurant and ordered some drinks. Sadly, Charlotte couldn’t fight the jet lag anymore and her Dad walked her back to the hotel where she slept the moment her head hit the pillow.
Pinocchio is a cafe by day and a bistro by night. The limited menu looked wonderful, the light was low and a very knowledgable sommelier served the wine.
The wine was slipping down a treat.
Cloudy Bay clams, chorizo, white wine, chilli, lime butter sauce, grilled bread.
This starter tasted fantastic. We all tried it, definitely get this one.
Maple smoked salmon, cauliflower cream and beignet, tiger prawns, mandarin, Lot B citrus oil. The food here is packed with flavour, texture and seasonality.
Salmon fillet, beetroot puree, goats cheese, cucumber, crushed potatoes, basil
Roasted beef fillet, bacon croquettes, courgette, maple pumpkin, black truffle, mushroom, hazelnuts. This was my choice and wow, it was wonderful! The beef was so soft, with a deeply roasted flavour. Get this one too!
All served with hand cut chips with aioli and Green beans, orange butter, toasted almonds.
Try to save room for dessert, they are too delicious to miss!
Crème Fromage, strawberries, milk chocolate, meringue, pistachios, biscuit.
Yum Yum Yum.
Chocolate terrine, caramel, salted peanuts, vanilla bean ice cream
Oh, yum yum yum.
And finally, Affogato, vanilla bean ice cream, coffee, amaretto OR grand manier.
Amaretto, every day of the week for me!
Happy, full, but extremely tired we plodded back to The Martinborough Hotel where there had been a popular Paella night.
The next morning we were on top form, having all had a restful night. It was a sunny morning, which showed off the town beautifully.
Mountain ranges can just be seen at the perimeter, thanks to low rise buildings and clean air.
We decided to look around a bit before we head off for Wellington. As we head downstairs we spotted these garden suites in a private courtyard.
The streets were really quiet, just an occasional pick-up truck. The breakfast cafes, however, were full of the friendly locals. Thoroughly nice people here, they must be very happy with their lot.
Find more about the hotel and town’s past here.
I loved the culture of this town. They focus on fine wine making, of course, but also great food too. But, it’s the genuine warmth, respect and mellow charm of it’s people most of all that I will think of when we buy a bottle of Martinborough pinot noir.