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    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Magnum Dining Bar a New Jewel in Ponsonby’s Crown and Spring Vege

    This is a breakthrough for me I haven’t reviewed a restaurant before…but I think I should on this occasion.
    Magnum has been open only a week and Cath, Jacqui and I went to lunch on Cath’s recommendation.
    She had lunched there in the weekend and really enjoyed her food.

    It is very attractive restaurant, lovely dark wood tables, big horseshoe bar which one can eat at.
    You can also eat outdoors on the street…very good for people watching and have people watch you!!!

    A really interesting menu.
    I had great difficulty in choosing There were loads I things I loved.
    Lots of comfort food.
    An expensive wine list but we managed to choose a reasonable Sauv Blanc for $45.

    I went with the offal option
    Devilled Chicken Livers on a Crouton
    And Deep Fried Brains with Pesto and Fennel Salad

    Catherine had Grilled Asparagus with Mozzarella
    And Smoked Fish Pie.

    Jacqui had a green soup I think it was Pea and Sorrell… I’m sorry I didn’t pay attention to the proper title.
    And she followed that with a Waikanae Crab Omelet

    We greedily ordered a bowl of chips because we were hungry.
    First mistake
    They came very rapidly and I think they had been in the warmer…
    They tasted fine but were soft but of course like all New Zealanders we never send anything back and ate them. So really I shouldn’t complain now. Should have at the time. BUT...

    My Chicken Livers were delicious, pink and soft and tasty but “Devilled” I don’t think so.

    Jacqui enjoyed her Soup
    Catherine was disappointed with her Asparagus it was grilled and there should be a difference between caramelized and burnt I feel. This erred on the burnt side.
    She didn’t like it.

    My Deep Fried Brains were once again delicious, perfectly cooked, lovely thin coating, delicate and just how I like them. They came with the accompaniments in little ramekins.
    The pesto was totally overpowering for the delicate brains but the fennel was an excellent match.

    Jacqui’s Omelet was OK but it was for our taste undercooked.
    I know some chefs like the eggs almost running off the plate but I think there is a happy medium between creamy and running off back to the barnyard.

    Cath was very disappointed with her Smoked Fish Pie.
    First it had salmon in it…not her favourite fish, that wasn’t specified on the menu

    It was very salty, I like well seasoned but this was over the top.
    Pity it looked good with the little scalloped potatoes on top.

    But I did have a wonderful Chocolate Fondant Pudding, it was runny in the middle just like I expected and Jacqui had Lemon Tart, tangy and delicious…which she also enjoyed.

    Our combined impression was the Chef wasn’t working that lunch service...I’m sure some of those dishes wouldn’t have passed muster.

    BUT we will go again…hopefully next time I can give a glowing review.

    But on another note here are two vegetable recipes which I can recommend and would have been great on the menu.

    Asparagus in a Paper Bag.

    Tyler Florence cooks his asparagus like this. Now I know the amount is pathetic but it is the first of the season and this little number cost $6.50 would you believe. But it works.
    It delivers the best tasting asparagus I've had for a while. (Mind you it's the first asparagus I've had for a while!!!)
    I shall be doing it again in fact what is wrong with tonight.

    Wash and break off the hard ends.
    Extra virgin olive oil and season the asparagus…
    Pop into a brown paper bag with some thin slices of lemon.
    Scrunch up the bag

    Lightly oil the outside of the bag to stop it from burning

    Cook about 15-20 minutes in a 190C oven

    Open the bag. The aroma is divine…you will be forced to eat them immediately.

    Now for the soup.
    French Food from Home Laura Calder cooked up this beautiful
    Pea Green Soup.

    This is so so simple.
    It can be made in 10- 15 minutes and best eaten immediately.
    The secret of this soup is undercooking. Green vegetables keep their colour best when just cooked.
    This will feed 2 for dinner 4 for first course

    1 med leek sliced
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 cups frozen peas
    2 cups chicken stock (you can use water)
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    ½ packet baby spinach
    6-8 mint leaves sliced finely


    Gently sauté leeks in the butter till soft
    Add peas and chicken stock and bring to a simmering boil
    Season to taste

    Into a blender put the spinach and mint
    Add the hot peas and leek mixture
    Blend till smooth
    Pass through a sieve

    Back into the pot and return to simmer
    Add more water if it is too thick.

    Serve immediately garnished with a swirl of cream
    We loved it.


    blusher said...

    My experience of Magnum was very poor. The staff take too long to serve, they forget to top up the wine (which is over priced), they take ages to take your order and they never gave me a dessert menu until i asked. We both ordered the burger but they were raw and mushy so I complained only to be told I wouldn't die...yuk! so we walked out after waiting 30 mins to pay! pity because I had high hopes but poor service twice in a row is enough for me to not go back.

    So Simple said...

    I haven't been back since my I don't think I will. Plenty more fish in the sea as they say!