Marlborough Magazine August 18 - Page 31

DEGUSTATION STORY BY KAT PICKFORD | SUSIE WILLIAMS Eight months after opening its doors to the public, Kat Pickford finds The Good Home is living up to its name, providing a home away from home where people can enjoy their favourite wines, creative cocktails and share delicious food in a relaxed and cosy atmosphere. Owned by Blenheim restaurateurs John and Hayley Derry, Blenheim gastropub The Good Home is a result of demand for great food, drinks and service with a casual vibe - a playground for adults as John describes it. “It’s a place where people can come, any time of day and discover a cosy corner for a quiet drink, gather with a group to share some food and a bit of a laugh, or wind down at the end of the night with dessert or a cocktail,” John says. The menu, which was created by executive chef Maree Connolly, features “really good, hearty dishes” and plates designed for groups to share, incorporating some of the best local ingredients they can find that results in a combination of interesting flavours and innovative ideas. The seafood chowder, for example, with a hint of coconut, makes for a tropical twist on the classic Kiwi dish. Served with grilled salmon, mussels, prawns and snapper, crunchy shaved fennel, fennel cream, and a fresh pop of gravlax, it is a comforting, refreshing and filling dish. The small plates, which have been designed to share, feature succulent morsels of perfectly prepared gourmet treats such as Marlborough black garlic, goats’ curd, chives and Ras El Hanout vinaigrette, bruschetta with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and balsamic and a chilled prawn salad with chilli, pineapple, bean sprouts, coconut and a red curry dressing. Front-of-house manager Sheryl Nielsen says people come back time and again for their miniature Yorkshire puddings, and it’s easy to see why. The soft, moreish pastry cases filled with tender beef, jus, onion jam and a bernaise sauce were delicious. More substantial fare is available for people who don’t like to share - the Mt Fish (tail) Fish N Chips is as good a rendition of the ‘pub favourite’ as you’re likely to find. With a perfect crispy, golden ‘soda’ batter, mushy peas and rustic fries, the generously portioned dish definitely hits the spot. A crispy- skinned snapper meal served with local seasonal produce provides a lighter seafood alternative, while meat-lovers will not be disappointed with a prime Hereford beef fillet on offer, served with crispy onion rings and a range of decadent sauces to choose from. If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, the lip-smacking sticky barbecue ribs are a good pick, as is the range of sandwiches and burgers, including the New York classic Reuben or a slow braised pork belly burger with slaw, creamy crushed cashew dressing, mild chilli and honey soy caramel. With so much great food on the menu, it’s difficult to know where to begin - and finding room to squeeze in dessert is even more of a challenge. But with delectable sweet treats such as chocolate mousse, red berry sorbet, citrus trifle and ginger kiss (warm gingerbread cake, gingernut ice cream, brandy snap bark and burnt butter sauce), it was a challenge I was more than happy to accept. The wine list largely comprises award- winning Marlborough wines, including Jules Taylor’s The Ned and Te Whare Ra, while craft beers from Emersons Mon-Sun 10am - late • p: (03) 5776495 • 70 Queen Street, Blenheim • - Panhead and Little Creatures - sit alongside a wide range of popular brews. A couple of young, talented and enthusiastic bartenders put together a creative list of tantalising cocktails each month, which are very popular with the after-work drinks crowd and as an after- dinner treat. After getting into the swing of things over the first six months, they’ve recently introduced a breakfast menu and cakes and slices for people looking for something to go with their morning coffees. John says the pair decided to open the gastropub after five years at Speights Ale House showed them there was demand for great food, drinks and service with a casual vibe. The Speights Ale House is booked out weeks in advance, making The Good Home a not too shabby second home option. The building was shut for a year for earthquake strengthening and a significant refit inside and out carried out by Hamish Ryan Construction. While John managed the project, Hayley focussed on the interior decorating, creating a modern, commercial chic vibe with a juxtaposition of exposed painted concrete beams, exposed timber, gorgeous light fittings, monochromatic flooring and plenty of greenery. The place is bathed in natural light thanks to generous east- and north- facing windows, and at night becomes a welcoming, twinkly orb of good cheer and contented customers all making themselves at home. /thegoodhomemarlborough • 31