Photographs: David Straight
Even the presence of a wobbly Martin Creed sculpture made from massive steel I-beams didn’t dint the enthusiasm at our dinner last week with Black Estate. Almost everything came up from Canterbury – chef Alex Davies got pinged $250 in excess baggage from Jet Star, and then spent a day prepping at Orphans Kitchen before heading to Michael Lett’s gallery to cook on two trestle tables and a couple of portable induction hobs.
It was challenging and exciting and it all went perfectly with Black Estate’s wine, which just goes to show you the power of terroir. We ate oysters with green strawberries, and whey crackers with North Canterbury flowers. We ate a barley risotto and then a mushroom stock with smoked eel and watercress, and a tartare of venison with eggs from the Black Estate property. Delaney Mes described dessert – Devonshire honey cake with Kaikoura goats cheese – as “emotional”. We couldn’t agree more.
Thank you to Pen and Nic from Black Estate and thank you to Alex Davies for coming up and cooking for 60 people single-handedly. Thank you to Tom and Viv at Orphans Kitchen for prep space and helping out with staff. Thank you to Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism for the support. Thank you to Antipodes Water for the water and to Sophie Wolanski from Muck for the oak leaves. And thank you to Michael Lett, as ever, for having us.