The Nikau Big RB
It was a rainy old wellington day, but it wasn’t raining at Nikau. They have a roof. And because they think of everything, my companions and I were in for a treat: the redundancy banquet. (Recommended if you are ever made redundant. Ask for it by name: the Nikau Big RB.)
Kelda and Paul, the dynamic duo behind this classy joint, knew we were too tired to read a menu. But it was all part of service. They did the reading for us. We were in their hands, and because this joint is so classy, we barely noticed that Paul’s hands weren’t even there. He had played soccer in the rain and was in bed with the flu (despite the fact this link is an old wives tale … we suspected man flu). Thankfully, he was there in spirit: in the gleaming cutlery; in the ice that bobbed in our green tea soda; in the well-scrubbed faces of the friendly waiters he has reared from chicks.
The asparagus was expected. Kelda is a notorious sucker for the seasons. But the matching sauvignon was not. One of my companions last drank wine with lunch back in ’98, possibly on the day she was hired by a certain company that shall remain nameless (Learning Media Limited). But she managed. We all did. And surprisingly, it got easier.
The soup was celeriac, that hoary old beast of the soil only a chef could love. Blended with nettles and dill and surely plenty of cream, it slipped down a dream. I could barely remember why I have always hated celeriac. The matching pinot gris didn’t help.
But there was no time to dwell on blurred memory. It was time for our salmon, which had swum all the way from the deep south straight into Kelda’s pan. She respected that journey, making our friend a comfy bed of red-wine lentils with marinated turnip for pillows. Talk about being lulled into a false sense of security. In fact, we suspect that’s what the Nikau Big RB is all about. And the matching pinot noir certainly helped.
There was pudding. Buttermilk ice-cream churned on the premises and marbled with rhubarb sorbet. Only Kelda would think of that. It was so delicious, my companion’s eyebrows shot up six inches. Thankfully it’s beyond even the staff of Nikau to match wine with ice-cream, which meant my companion was in a position to retrieve his eyebrows and carry on. He even managed a double espresso.
There’s nothing more to say, other than our asparagus came with bread and our salmon came with roast potatoes. And the toilets were very clean. And we very much liked being Nikau Big RB VIPs.