We arrive at The Sugar Club early as we want to check out the bar beforehand and what do you know it happens to be happy hour as well. Score! We’re nicely greeted despite the lift going to the wrong floor originally. I go to the bathroom pretty early on and they have Ashley and Co hand wash and lotion.
Fiancee is dying to try their take on pringles with kiwi onion dip. Not my kind of snack but I can see where they’re going with it.
Once we get to the table we notice our waiter is a bit different but that’s OK I’m alright with quirky. His accent threw us a little at first until we found out he was French but from a small town near the German border. He warms on us throughout the night. Napkins are refreshed when we go to the bathroom. They even offered to do a swap on the tasting menu for us as we wanted to try the quail.
We begin with snacks, Kiwi onion dip, as before. Oyster, pearl and caviar cream sandwich, I like the flavours of this much more.
Chickpea waffle and lamb tartare. Much more punch!
Ox tongue, watercress, mayo – this is the fiancees favourite however mum and I aren’t so convinced.
Marmite and cheese – we’d heard about this one and we’re excited to try it. Turns out the hype was not worth the reality of it in our opinion.
Of course, we’re doing the wine pairing and move on to a Pinot Gris for our next course, the wine pairing is good. Cured Trevally, fermented gooseberry, tempura shiso, buttermilk. It’s got a strong miso flavour then you get hit with the sorbet kick and it balances it out perfectly. Very nice.
Scampi dumpling, garlic shoots, yuzu, wild scampi caviar. The pastry is a little over however the filling is nice. I’d describe it as more of a pie than a dumpling. The dish is nice however felt like it needed a little refining.
Pork brownie, white peach, apple, celery juice. Felt like it was missing the fattiness of the pork. A no from the entire table.
Quail, this was a bit of a disaster, overcooked and under-seasoned.
Snapper, fresh peas, arrow squid, crispy chicken skin. Nice and fresh and has a real summer feel to it, crispy chicken skin is an excellent addition.
Hawkes Bay Wagyu, wild garlic, charred baby gem, smoked bone marrow. Cooked perfectly and tasted good.
Lemonade, gin and cucumber. A good palate cleanser.
Central Otago cherries, dark beer ice cream, beetroot cake, fennel pollen. This one is controversial at our table. I was not a fan but the rest of the table liked it.
Kaikoura Fromage Blanc, condensed milk sorbet, burnt white chocolate. A party in your mouth that you didn’t get the invite to so are feeling a bit left out.
Treats – they’re all a bit hit and miss, I liked the praline.
Overall I like The Sugar Club, I like the view it’s a beautiful setting. I’ve been before and felt the same way I did last time. It’s a nice meal out, they’re trying things but nothing amazed me and it’ll probably be another couple of years before I go back.