Like many parents of young children, getting out for a date night is often just not worth the hassle! When could we go? Who will look after the kids? Not to mention finding energy to talk with each other over a dinner.
But there are times when it’s definitely worth the effort.
We picked a Thursday night to enjoy a gastro pub date night at The Village Bar & Kitchen in Patumahoe. The Village run a courtesy van, and with drink driving concerns, the man and I jumped at the chance to be free of transport worries.
There’s a great selection of wines by the glass available, and the man was excited to see that two Panhead beers had made it onto tap. I grabbed a cheeky slurp of his Panhead Pilsner, and for a beer, it was delicious.
We decided on the House Made Sourdough and the Crumbed Camembert as entrees. Crumbed camembert is such a retro dish and like many great classics, it’s had a revival on the foodie front. A great start to our meal and the fact each dish came with a side garnish of fresh, well dressed, zingy salad, lightened up the carbs before we ploughed into our mains.
The man is a sucker for seafood and was quick to select the Seafood Mornay which arrived as a creamy concoction, jam packed with mussels, prawns, octopus and fish, and partnered with bread wedges to soak up the goodness. His verdict -“Yum, I’d get that again.” High praise indeed from someone who has a standard comment of – “Yup, it was fine” – for most meals.
The specials board offered up three main dishes and a dessert in addition to the standard menu. I chose the Lamb Nam Jim. I’m not the biggest fan of lamb, so it was a risky choice, but it sounded interesting so I took the plunge. It was worth it. Even though the rest of our meal was delectable, this was the star dish of the night. Two lean lamb racks arrived complete with texture rich coconut rice, Asian inspired sauces, and perfectly cooked pak choy. The punchy flavours were jumping off my tongue. Absolutely delicious and great to hear they’re adding this stunner to their new menu.
Our stomachs were feeling pretty chokka but when the dessert menu was dangled in front of us, how could we resist? House Made Chocolate Brownie was my pick, and the man went for the Sticky Date Pud. Both hit the sweet spot with the Sticky Date narrowly beating out the Brownie on the favourites vote.
For a local country kitchen, The Village Bar & Kitchen far exceeded expectations.The combination of no worries transport, flavour packed food at decent prices, plated attractively and delivered in a casual dining setting, all added up to the perfect gastro-pub date night experience.
We’ll be back!