Review: Tapiano Bar & Bistro – MatakanaJun 14th, 2009 | By Karl Rohde | Category: Review
Tapiano Bar & Bistro
Review by Karl Rohde
My wife and I seldom go out for dinner any more, so when we do, we like to make it a bit special. Our latest childless excursion was to take us to Matakana for dinner and a movie at the Matakana Cinema (may review that experience later).
Entry into Tapiano was a little confusing, as it looked a little bit clinical, and having staff moving large containers through the main doors was a little off-putting.
However, this initial dampener was soon changed as once we entered staff were very friendly and quick to respond to our arrival. To one side of the bar two staff were chatting and laughing. Having happy, cheerful staff is a good sign in my books.
Our booking was found quickly, and we were taken to a table near the fire, which was very romantic. Or it would have been had the lighting not been a little too bright and clinical. It was a little bit too harsh to feel cosy. The tables and their layout were immaculate, with plenty of space between and no feeling of being cramped or too close to other patrons. Outside was lovely blue fairy lights in vines and trees, which added a wonderful element to the overall atmosphere.
We were given plenty of time to decide on our food, and were asked ahead of time for our initial drinks order. Drinks arrived while still deciding on our menu choices, which makes a very pleasant surprise. The menu was easy to read, well laid out, and not physically huge; needing another table to open. Prices were clear, and one could flick between entrée, mains and wine menu easily.
Something really nice was fresh bread and herb butter was provided while we waited for our entrée and main. This was a very nice touch that really helped build up the feeling of being pampered.
The wine selection was excellent, although we would have preferred more options for “by the glass”. Our entrée and mains suited slightly different wines, however I settled for two glasses of the excellent Ti Point Sav Blanc, and my wife started with one, and had a Finca Luzon Monastrel, which although I did not taste, had the aroma of a wonder drop of wine indeed!
Our order was taken quickly, and without fuss, although the person who took our order was confused when my wife could not remember the wine’s specific name. She quickly recovered from this, but staff should know all the wines off by heart and by their description not just their full name.
Our entrées arrived promptly. And their presentation was excellent. Portions were quite large, but better too much than too little. I am not a big eater, but I imagine some would have felt deprived if the portions were smaller.
Our mains arrived with a nice gap so we did not feel rushed.
Service at all time was excellent, with water being refilled without request, and polite enquires as to how we were enjoying our meals. At no time was our conversation interrupted, which is a sign of well trained professional staff who pay attention to patrons rather than provide rote service.
We did not have desert as we were seeing a movie, although in hindsight we could easily have fitted it in with the prompt service we received.
Parfait of Chicken Livers and Foie Gras mini brioche and port-wine cherries
Seared Tagarashi Game fish (Blue Eye Tuna), fresh sashimi grade seared, saffron and citrus dressing, prawn spring roll and herb salad.
Roast Venison with Quince roasted pear and rosemary chutney and potato gratin
All in all an excellent dining experience. Something not mentioned above was the live Piano in the background, which really set off the whole place. Staff being friendly, efficient and professional makes a pleasant change. Prices are very affordable, and based on what we had, I would love to come back and try the deserts. Staying local would be a bonus so we could try more of the wines.
The only negative was the lighting, which needs to be toned down a lot. It was just too clinical.
I highly recommend Tapiano Bar & Bistro and can happily give them 4.5 stars out of 5.