Location is Plume’s first drawcard. Nestled in the beautiful countryside of the Matakana coast, amidst blossoming vineyards and olive groves and a stone’s throw from Omaha’s pristine beaches, reminds me of a Tuscan villa, with its wooden ceilings and immense windows that open to beautiful sunsets and never ending rolling hills.
The chef’s menu takes you on a world voyage without moving from your seat. From Italian classics like wild mushroom risotto and seafood ravioli; nicoise salad and cassoulet from their next door neighbors and Portuguese peri peri prawns to an Asian galore of okonomiyaki — that delicious Japanese cabbage pancake — crispy mandarin duck and Thai beef salad; not forgetting the curries that import authentic flavours of India and make chef Atesh Ram proud. A dish for everyone, even your most whimsical friend.
We had the summer tasting menu. This light and fresh set of six courses started with a goat’s cheese mini terrine; creamy and unctuous, served with apricot chutney and a sweet pepper sauce to balance the tanginess of the cheese.
A melting in your mouth smoked beef carpaccio followed; thin and elegant as a carpaccio should be, dotted with sharp capers and fat drops of house made mayonnaise. In a dish with such few ingredients quality is a must and on this one the effort put in sourcing the best is evident.
The last of the starters was an eye catching roll made of squid ink pasta filled with a smooth seafood and herb pate, bathing graciously in a little pool of saffron sauce.
Bright plum sorbet scoops served in a dainty frozen bowl cleared our palates and got us ready for the main and star of the day dish : juicy pork tenderloin with a sweet, almost toffee honey glaze with just the right amount of grainy mustard to prevent it from being sickly; a calvados sauce with tiny cubes of tart apple married perfectly in a deconstructed version on pork and apple sauce. Silky horseradish and parsnip puree and caramelised cabbage were served as accompaniments. I loved the balance between sweet and sharp flavours of this dish, blending together to create a whole new one.
By suggestion of the attentive manager we paired this course with an aromatic and dangerously easy to drink rose from the restaurant vineyards.
We finished our long relaxing lunch with a passionfruit cheesecake look alike, airy and soft, more a mousse than a cake itself, with passionfruit sauce, fruit macedonia and crowned with a mascarpone quenelle, a light way to end the meal.
The whole experience is what you expect of a weekend — joyful, easy and full of surprises. Plume however, can also be enjoyed during the week.
49a Sharp Road, RD2 Matakana 0982
09 422 7915