Well the final gathering of the year for my dining friends. It was a little different this year without one of our “originals” who was laid up in hospital recovering from surgery. Celebrating Christmas is never the same when someone’s missing. However we made the most of the night out as it wouldn’t be right, in the spirit of divine dining, not to!
The venue this month was St Asaph Street Kitchen & Stray Dog Bar (“SASK”) in St Asaph Street (funnily enough!). This was opened post-quakes by the people behind Le Cafe. It is quite a different venture to Le Cafe… but the world-famous nachos do make an appearance on the menu!
SASK is set back from the road – with some minimal car parking and a small outside seating area before entering the converted warehouse. Inside it is clean and minimalistic and we were met with a wall display of gorgeous flowers (complete with Christmas Lillies). That seemed to be the only decorating of the building, apart from some candles along the window sills, so it really is minimalistic. Despite that it wasn’t “cold” or off-putting. Service was attentive and efficient and friendly – we can be a somewhat demanding bunch and yes, we did change our orders mid-order! Nothing seemed to put our wait staff off however.
Among the six of us we had two Thai Beef Salads (one of which was for me!), two Fish Curries, one Slow-baked Roasted Lamb Shoulder and one Pork Belly! Plates were cleaned up well and truly (apart from a bit of rice on mine as I found it more than enough. The Thai Beef Salad was refreshing with lovely flavours of mint, lime, cucumber, red onion in the salad. At at time of year when one is prone to over-indulging in all sorts of food offerings, this was a fresh, tasty option that was both light, yet filling. The curries, lamb and pork all went down well. I did have a wee taste of crackling and think the pork would be my choice next time!
We didn’t have to wait too long after our plates were cleared before being offered dessert. I had thought pre-dinner I would abstain… but, well it would be rude not to try dessert! I nearly wavered from tradition and went for the gooey chocolate pudding (one of the others had this) but I kept with the norm and ordered the Brûlée after some advice from our wait staff. I wasn’t disappointed – near perfect! I could have had a little more … yet in hindsight any more would have left me too full and uncomfortable for the rest of the night, so it really was a good portion size. Others opted for the Banana Chocolate/Peanut Butter sundae, Tiramasu and one just wanted ice-cream… but we talked him into a shot of Baileys with it!
All in all, it was a pleasant evening out. Despite being a warehouse roof, the acoustics weren’t too bad and we could talk quite happily – although it wasn’t the fullest at the time we were there. In Christchurch these days we are noticing the acoustics in venues a lot poorer due to the minimal building styles used! The food was tasty, service quick and friendly and the prices weren’t too bad – my main, dessert and a 250ml glass of wine came to $48.00.
All in all I’d rate it worth visiting again – and if it’s anything like Le Cafe, good for a coffee and cake visit… and of course, those famous Nachos.