Romantic Valentine’s dinner at “Table” Restaurant at “Nice” Hotel in New Plymouth…Wonderful year ago video at end of post!

A portion of the outdoor dining area where we dined last night at Table.

Yes, Table is the actual name of the restaurant where we dined last night to celebrate Valentine’s Day, located at the Nice Hotel, its actual name. Quaint.

The well-stocked bar at Table.

It was our first meal in a restaurant since we arrived in the Taranaki area almost a month ago. Having enjoyed the abundant offerings in the variety of markets in New Plymouth, we’ve had little desire to dine out.

There’s a wide array of wines on the menu.

The month of February brings Valentine’s Day, my birthday on the 20th, with our wedding anniversary on March 7th.  Within this three week period each year we often dine out for all three occasions ensuring we try a few local dining establishments.

Perusing reviews on TripAdvisor’s site, making a decision as to which restaurants to choose seems to work best for us.  Asking locals for their preferences works well for casual dining. 

Several massive bouquets of flowers adorned the restaurant.

However, we often find locals prefer the more casual and familiar dining experiences where they can mingle with friends and neighbors as opposed to tourists and celebrants of a variety of occasions in the more “fancy” local restaurants. 

The front dining area.

TripAdvisor seems to provide a varied range of diners, many who have traveled extensively having visited many of the best-reviewed restaurants in various popular tourist locations plus reviews from an array of locals who’ve frequented such restaurants on special occasions.

As soon as we walked in the door of the boutique hotel we entered into the restaurant area which encompassed a plethora of separate dining choices easily befitting any dining experience one could desire; a romantic dinner for two, a business meeting, a wedding party, a groom’s dinner or a gathering of friends.

Another more secluded dining area.

For the couples, like us, there were several areas from which we could choose to be seated.  Arriving early we were able to select the table, we preferred in the outdoor dining area. 

Before leaving the house I’d applied repellent as I do a few times each day to avoid thinking about sandfly bites when the restaurant is located only a few blocks from the ocean. Much to our surprise during dinner our flawless server Amy, brought a spray can of repellent to our table to see if we needed a spray or two. This was a nice touch  Already prepared, we declined.  Tom, who rarely is bitten, never uses repellent.

Pretty service area near the kitchen.

The food was exceptional, especially when the chef reviewed the food list on my phone and had no problem preparing my luscious massive filet mignon without any floury sauce or sides. Amy was extremely helpful in ensuring my meal was befitting my restrictions. Tom ordered the same entrée inclusive of all those items for which I had to pass.

Here’s my Valentine’s Day date, smiling as always.

We’ve found it amazing that most menus in New Zealand and Australia include choices of multiple courses, more than we’ve seen in other parts of the world, as is the case at Table. Please click here for the menu.

It was fun to be out to dinner.

Neither of us ever has room to order multiple courses, other than perhaps a side salad for me and “fries” for Tom as we’d each ordered last night. Tom, picky about desserts and often stuffed after a huge entrée as in the case last night, ordered an extra plate of beer-battered fries but had little interest in even reviewing the dessert menu.

Tom’s potato amuse bouche.

Since it was Valentine’s Day, we each were served champagne flutes with pink sparkling wine.  I drank half of my glass, pouring the remainder into Tom’s glass. It tasted good to me but I detected way too much sweetness in the wine which in general keeps me from drinking wine or any other alcoholic beverages.

Tom’s entrée of steak filet with mushroom au jus, Bernaise butter and small cup of fried potatoes.

As a result of this complimentary offering, Tom didn’t order a cocktail considering the 25 minutes drive back to the farm. One certainly wouldn’t want to fall prey to a DUI in a foreign country (or anywhere for that matter).  He only drinks alcohol when were out and I’ll drive home. Lately, not driving on the opposite side of the road with ease, that wasn’t a good option, although if I had to I certainly could and would.

My entrée (or main as referred to on the menu), steak filet, broccoli, flourless au jus. I ate both mine and Tom’s Bernaise butter with my steak. I ordered a small side salad of fresh greens without dressing.

Our total bill for the lovely meal was only NZ $86, US $57. It was hard for us to believe how reasonable it was.  Then again, without ordering “starters,” an entrée, (we ordered from the “mains” choices), alcohol or desserts, our bill didn’t add up as it may for others.

Back home slightly before dark (its summer here in the South Pacific) we spotted Trish and Neil outside by the mating paddock. They’d been to an alpaca show and had won several awards for some of their herd they’d brought along. We chatted at length sharing the stories of our “babysitting” over the past few days and the joy we’d experienced in doing so.

Tom’s side order of beer-battered fries.

Having moved the alpacas to a side paddock, we won’t have easy access to them as we’ve had these past many days. The paddock had to be vacated to allow the grass to regrow especially with a lack of rain over these past weeks. We’ll miss them being that close at hand. But, a 50 meter walk out the front door brings us back in close proximity. No doubt, we’ll be heading out the door many times each day.

As promised in yesterday’s post, we wrote a review on TripAdvisor this morning before posting. Although they’ve acknowledged receipt of our review, its yet to be published on their site as its being approved by their staff, a usual step in the process that may take several hours. As soon as it’s live later today, you’ll be able to find our review at this link. We’ll also re-post it in tomorrow’s post.

For those in the other side of the International Dateline, one day behind us, we wish each of our readers a very Happy Valentine’s Day. 

Photo from one year ago today, February 15, 2015:

It was one year ago today, we posted this video of the amazing albatross in Kauai, Hawaii where they nest each year to have one chick. They’d shown in our video celebrating their lives, the hatching of their chicks, practicing for future mating and happy to be together. What an extraordinary experience for us! For more details, please click here.