The Abbey Bar & Kitchen
510 Great South Road, Greenlane
The odds were against us; everyone in the house (even the dog) had been ill all week, we were tired and grumpy, and it was pouring with rain. However, I was determined we were actually going to enjoy a dinner out. My birthday had passed during the week with little fan fare, we had a willing babysitter (very novel when you have twins), and by god – it was Saturday night! If not tonight, then when would the next chance be for hubby and I to have a semi sophisticated evening, in public, without kids?
With the weather so atrocious, the decision was made to avoid the central city, or anywhere that parking was going to be an issue. So after consulting the trusty Entertainment Book, we ventured out … to Greenlane (of all places).
From the moment we walked through the door, the service at The Abbey Bar & Kitchen was impeccable. They took our sodden coats and chatted away in a genuine and friendly manner. We felt right at home. The lovely waitresses were not just knowledgeable of the food on offer, but also on their wine list, and wine in general. An absolute refreshing change to the decidedly average service one often experiences in New Zealand.
The decor is predominantly dark wood and welcoming, with a bookshelf-come-cellar feature wall, spouting quotes such as ‘in wine lies truth’ and ‘within the bottles depth, the wines soul sang one night’. My personal favourite in the collection was by Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘a man will be eloquent if you give him good wine’. Really? I find they just get more animated and a little louder, but what do I know?
We started our meal by sharing the Abbey’s spin on garlic bread – Turkish pide and garlic butter, served with a mild hummus. A cold Monteiths Golden Lager also helped to cleanse the palate.
I was delighted to see some creativity in the vegetarian options available. I will be back to try their raviolli entree, but went straight for a main of the spinach souffle. The colourful souffle was accompanied by amazing dukkah crusted goats cheese croquettes (yum) and a filo cup of vegetables, topped with a carrot. Filo definitely does not make for first date food (the mess!) so luckily I didn’t have to impress the hubby with my dining skills.
By itself, the souffle was a little bland, but mixed with morsels from the rest of the plate, the dish became very flavoursome. I selected the Weeping Sands Montepulciano as an accompaniment, which perhaps wasn’t the safest match with this dish, but I was determined to enjoy a glass of decent red with my first meal out in months!
The hubby choose the duck. A generous portion, glazed in tawari honey, served with a potato cake and bok choy. He was a very happy camper. We also selected a side dish of tenderly steamed vegetables to round off the meal, and to satisfy my vegetable cravings.
Located between the Ellerslie and Greenlane motorway exits on Great South Road, The Abbey is settled between car yards, real estate agents and a gym. Not much of a view, but a handy spot none the less.
Top Tip: The lunch menu also looks tasty. It’s in the Entertainment Book.
In a Nutshell: Great service, lovely food. We will be back.