We’ve been wanting to dine at Ode for some time so ensured that Wanaka was one of the stops on our South Island trip. We love their ethos and were excited to try Lucas’s food. When we arrive we’re given the chefs table which is exciting! The story behind Ode is incredible and we’ll do our best to share it here.
For those not familiar the original restaurant burnt down and they had to reopen with Ode 2.0.
We begin with organic sourdough with organic butter from jersey cows, Marlborough sea salt and horopito. Tastes more like blue cheese as it ages but this one is more like cheddar. The bread is good and warm, I like it.
Each dish has a creative playful name and comes with a story. For the first three months back in Ode they decided to stick to the same menu. This was incredibly difficult for such a creative chef like Lucas and it was an especially tough time. Back in the playground stems from when they first got to change the menu.
I quote “Moving with the micro seasons, changing constantly, a small team of bandits doing thoughtful dinners, changing peoples perspectives and defying the odds, but most of all having fun in the playground we’ve built.” And it works, a great mix of textures and flavours.
Do the mahi, get the treats. This is the first dish on the menu not created by Lucas and was created by Jack. When their Sous Chef suddenly left them in the lurch and Lucas had to be at Taste of Auckland Jack stepped up to the plate. Jack wasn’t sure what to do with the asparagus, the advice from Lucas was “do something mean bro”. That’s exactly what he did, the gnocchi is fabulous and we have a really nice flavour combo going on.
Our mate Nate, Lucas is so passionate about sustainability and there was a time when he wouldn’t serve seafood on the menu. Nate from Gravity Fishing took him out and showed him what they’re about. They never label what the seafood is but ensure it is ethically caught. The result, delicious.
Simply the pest. There are so many animals that go to waste in New Zealand that are delicacies all over the world but they don’t sell here and go to waste. It’s a real shame and something we should be doing something about. Tonight we had goat, the goat and crumbs work amazingly well it’s a great dish.
Mr Miyagi, since the start of Ode they had Sensei inspired by the master stocks of Asia. Unfortunately, in a cleaning frenzy, one of the chefs had accidentally thrown him out. Miyagi is the reincarnation, replenished with fresh flavours daily, a true taste of Ode’s soul. It’s absolutely fabulous and the additional paua touch just for us is very much appreciated.
Meat and three veg / Social Acceptance, having a restaurant in Otago you need to know your market. Hence the meat and three veg. It’s super filling but a delicious course and I can see why they do it to cater to the local market. A huge portion on the standards we’re used to!
That’s the one aye! Inspired by the collab they did with Paris Butter. If you ever step into the kitchen at Paris Butter it’s likely you’ll hear the phrase “that’s the one”, the team at Ode picked up on this and now they all say it! The dish itself is super light and refreshing, Perfect after the heavy main!
Wall-E, inspired by the movie and also an eye-opener. Planet Earth isn’t in a good state and this dish is Ode’s way of showcasing it in a delicious end to a delicious meal.
I’m inspired by the values, passion and commitment of Ode to conscious dining. The entire experience gets you thinking while still fine dining and enjoying your evening. Of course, I’d go back. It was incredible in more ways than one.