Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What Did We Eat on Christmas? Christchuch, NZ (Hotel Montreal) - Traveling Tuesday

Our stay in Christchurch was extremely brief, as we used it as a layover between Pauanui and Franz Josef. We stayed over on Christmas, which made getting a reservation for dinner near impossible. Our hotel, Hotel Montreal was kind enough to squeeze us in for both dinner and lunch at their restaurant, The Polo Bar and Restaurant. The ambiance is very relaxed, service was attentive, and the manager Andrew, was effervescent and loved chit chatting with everyone around. (He is a Star Wars fanatic!) 
The menu has several different cuisines including Italian, Argentinian and New Zealand. The three of us have very diverse tastes, so we found it easiest to order from the tapas portion of the menu; it turned out to be a great decision!
For lunch, we had the vegetable skewers, short rib croquettes, and the meatballs. I had a complimentary glass of Pinot Noir, and my brother had the local cider. The food was piping hot when it arrived at our table, and our waitress was quick to refill our glasses and check in about the food. My father loves his vegetables, so he was more than please with the grilled skewers. A bright variety were served and added great flavor to the meat portions of our meal. The short rib croquettes were juicy, crisp, and full of flavor. The meatballs were pork based and served on top of a delicious tomato sauce. 
A few hours later, we were greeted with smiles from the staff and seated at dinner. Andrew came around again and impressed us with his knowledge about traditional New Zealand desserts. Our dinner spread was quite impressive. We started with marinated olives, fresh veggie sticks, hummus, and scallop tacos, along with empanadas (Andrew and his staff all recommended these!) My dad was not impressed with the tacos, however, the empanadas did not disappoint. The dough was crispy, with a moist, and hot pork mixture inside. 
Our next course consisted of chicken winglets, gammas al pil-pil (grilled prawns) and a selection of breads with hummus and sweet corn dip. I am a picky chicken eater, but these winglets were glazed in a delicious sweet chili sauce that I couldn't resist. The prawns were extremely fresh, and I wanted to take home a jar of their sweet corn dip...it was amazing! I probably would have eaten it by the spoonful even without the bread!
The best part (and my favorite course) of the meal, was dessert. I mentioned before that Andrew knew a lot about traditional New Zealand desserts; he recommended the dessert special, Pavlova. If you're someone who enjoys meringue, I insist you try this! This meringue was a bit less dense than what I am accustomed to, but was tasty nonetheless. It was topped with fresh berries, cream, vanilla ice cream, and droplets of a sweet berry sauce. 
Overall, I give the dining experience and The Polo Bar and Restaurant two thumbs up! If you're in Christchurch and looking for a fun, relaxed place to eat, try Hotel Montreal.

What are some of your favorite places to eat while on vacation? Comment below!


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