You’re sitting on the deck, enjoying a drink with good mates. A growl from your stomach rudely interrupts your catch-up session. You don’t feel like going down to the dining room, but you want something tastier than a few olives and a bowl of fries.
Thanks to the vision of new executive chef James Pask, patrons at Wellington’s Foxglove now don’t need to be limited to a bar snack menu if they’re having a drink, or feel the need to eat three courses if seated in the dining area.
Pask says the ‘everywhere dining’ approach is a response to the increasing casualisation of eating out and suited for a bigger venue like Foxglove.
“The days of needing to immerse yourself in a formal dining experience to get great food are numbered. People increasingly don’t want seriously formal dining, just seriously tasty food. We’re tipping the scales of how and what people want to eat in the favour of diners.
“That extends to menu style as well. Not everyone digs the sharing plate thing; some would rather have an entire meal to themselves, while others love it. Restaurants should give their diners flexibility and variety so they can choose how, where and what they want to eat.”
That philosophy is evident throughout Pask’s new menu for Foxglove.
“If a group wants to share some oysters and spicy fried chicken with miso butter, and then dig into a slow roasted lamb shoulder while sitting on the deck, they can. If customers fancy sitting on a sofa and tucking into a wagyu short rib burger with the plate resting on their knees, that’s cool too. Or if they’re in for a special occasion they might prefer to be seated in our dining area downstairs and feast on waikanae crab with wild fennel, followed by pigs head to tail tourchon, apple slaw and kim chi and rounded off with a pina colada coconut crème.”
The new menu, made up of small bites, charcuterie, gourmet burgers and larger plates, bares Pask’s signature style of local, good quality ingredients cooked and presented with an inventive twist.
“I like to keep dishes honest and let ingredients speak for themselves. This menu is an Antipodean take on the kind of fare you’d find in a decent British gastro-pub.”
The menu’s ‘burger bar’ section is arguably the best expression of Pask’s clever use of delicious ingredients presented without fuss and fanfare. There’s a lemon sole burger with watercress and sauce gribich, and a wagyu short rib burger with swiss cheese, brown sauce and pickles. Pask is planning to add more burgers once the menu has been up and running for a couple of months, as well a ‘butchers block’ section to appease Foxglove’s more carnivorous diners.
“People want a home away from home, but with better food. I’ve got a wonderful team working with me in the kitchen and we’re confident this menu and approach won’t disappoint.”