The Monday Room

My cousin was in town for the night so my best friend and I took her out for a bite to eat.  Where to go in Christchurch?  Well, we were thinking of heading in to see the FESTA puppet parade/Canterbury Tales so thought somewhere on the edge of town would be good.  The Monday Room was our choice.

My biggest problem with The Monday Room is the lighting.  We had a 7pm booking and it was still daylight outside.  The lights are so dim inside it’s hard to even see anyone when you first walk in.  Sitting down at our table trying to read the menu was even harder!  I’m all for mood lighting, don’t get me wrong.  It just seems almost too dark for dining.  A graduated darkness as you walk in would be good, and perhaps a little more lighting over the tables wouldn’t ruin the atmosphere.  Turn the lights down around 9.30pm when people aren’t eating, perhaps?  However I digress.  That is the only real negative for the place so it’s not the worst thing you could have to complain about.

TMR has a choice of a Yakatori or a Tapas menu – you can order from one or both.  We ordered from both.  Tempura Vegetables, Arancini Balls, Sweet Corn Spring Rolls, Scallops and Lamb Cutlets were the choices we made.

As with any tapas bar, when the first one or two dishes come out, you do think you’ll be starving and leave hungry.  The best thing about tapas is, you eat slowly, you try different dishes and by the end of all the dishes we all were contentedly full.  The Arancini Balls were absolutely delicious.  The Tempura Veges were fine – but as I don’t eat mushroom or pumpkin, I only had a choice of kumara.  Still they were tasty.  The Sweet Corn Spring Rolls were absolutely divine.  I couldn’t quite decide which was better – the Arancini or the Spring Rolls.  I had chosen Lamb Cutlets, as did my cousin.  These were petite, tender, and very flavoursome.

The service was very good – staff were attentive without being over the top.  We had ordered a bottle of Tresillian Rose which was lovely – it had to be brought out of the cellar so wasn’t quite chilled and the waiter asked if we’d like an ice bucket.  He was very attentive and was knowledgeable about the wine he was pouring us.

So, apart from being too dark to take photos (and to be honest, I haven’t had my cousin in town for 5 years so this was a catch up night rather than a food focused night) I can’t fault the place.  Beautiful food – our choices had the right balance of taste and flavour without becoming too rich; fabulous wine… combine it with good company and it’s a recipe for a great night out.

By the way – as a foot note, the three of us were discussing why tapas bars don’t seem to work very well  New Zealand and we decided it comes down to the New Zealand bloke attitude of looking at the size of the dishes and deciding they’ll starve and what they prefer is a huge steak etc.   Time to be educated folks – small dishes, with good flavours eaten slowly and enjoyed is more fulfilling than any huge main you’ll get at a steak bar!  As for me – bring them on.  I love tapas and am looking forward to checking out a couple of new tapas places that have opened up in Christchurch.  Stay tuned!

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