I had a really lovely weekend eating wonderful meals with friends and family. A friend suggested Ortolana and I can't resist. We got there for Sunday brunch and was surprised that it wasn't heaving. There were a few tables around that are available and we found ourselves in a cosy nook. Ortolana is the latest instalment from the Hip Group that runs The Store, Cafe on Kohi, Takapuna Beach Cafe and St Heliers Bay Cafe.
As with all the other cafes by the Hip Group, Ortolana is well-staffed and you don't have to try hard to get any service. Everything on their menu sounds interesting and after scanning through their menu for a good five minutes I ordered a crayfish, apple, cucumber, lemoncream salad ($22). I didn't expect much crayfish for $22 but wasn't disappointed when it arrived at the table. In fact I was pleasantly surprised how generous they were. I love the abundance of fresh herbs and romaine lettuce in my salad and the lemoncream is divine. I can imagine Manu saying "The sauce..it ties the dish together...but I would like more sauce". The lettuce were so crunchy and sweet. Maybe it's because they claim that they grow their own vegetables. Anyhow, I enjoyed my light and healthy choice.
S ordered beetroot, feta, cumin, hazelnut lasagnotte ($19) and I had food envy when I saw it. I actually like his dish more than mine. All the components went well and the lasagnotte was so smooth and al dente. I love all the different textures in the dish and the toasted hazelnuts adds a nice sweet crunchiness to the dish. S was in love with his choice of dish and wasn't very happy that I keep nibbling on his food. I would definitely come back soon for this dish.
I didn't order an appetiser because I wanted to save some room for dessert without feeling sick afterwards. When I saw our neighbour eating a mini bombe alaska I couldn't resist. It was lovely. I really liked the luscious italian meringue.
When we finished our meals, I asked the waitress about Milse, which is a small dessert kitchen right behind Ortolana. Currently it supplies the desserts to Ortolana but they will be available for 'fine dining desserts'. Oh my! My heart skipped a beat when I heard that. Three courses of desserts would be insane. Good sugary insanity.
After our brunch, we hopped over to The Store to get some ice-cream because they are just too good. We will definitely be back soon to try out their breakfast and to check out Milse when it open its doors. Happy days.Follow @herworldly