Last weekend, mum and I popped down to Dunedin to visit my sister and get our first taste of Otago student life. The long drive from the airport through all that greenery reminded me we were no longer in the big smoke, and the hodge podge of dingy looking cottages reminded me we were definitely in studentville. I’m sure there are lots of lovely, probably palatial homes in Dunedin but that was not the hot spot I was hanging out in. My sister’s flat with all its windows and doors in place is probably one of the better in the neighbourhood, but I was pretty glad I booked a hotel room…
Friday night dinner at Etrusco at the Savoy. I hear this place is a local legend; elaborate décor, inviting atmosphere, and able to cater for large energetic groups to romantic dinners for two. We showed up quite late and the place was still buzzing, but to be honest, I’m not sure why- the food was nice enough but nothing special. I really enjoyed the bruschetta- the usual tomato and pesto, and salmon mousse were delicious, and although I don’t love olives, I didn’t hate the tapenade. I was hoping for amazing pasta but was bitterly disappointed- my ravioli was not much better than that mass produced stuff you get from supermarkets, mum’s seafood spaghetti actually looked good even though the seafood was clearly from a prepackaged mix. I think my sister chose the best off the menu- a nicely done ragu with bow tie pasta. Best part for me was the generous glass of Yalumba shiraz for $6.50- you wouldn’t get that in Wellington. For Saturday lunch we took a gamble with Chopsticks 101 which paid off- nothing flashy, true to the name, they do the basics right. There was tofu and roast pork belly hot pot, there was a huge serving of roast duck, there was char sui pork and crispy pork belly… all with a huge side of rice or noodles. We left full and happy, and the bank balance virtually unscathed.
After that massive lunch, Saturday dinner was a late one at Del Sol, a pretty new mexican place down the road from our hotel. This place was pumping and extremely loud. Not the place you want to go for romance or alone time- it’s the kinda place you want to go with a group of friends who are keen to keep the food and margaritas coming! We got a couple of tacos, some exceptionally crispy fried chicken (perfect use of polenta), pulled pork sliders (bigger that your usual), blacked prawns with red rice, and some delicious potato skins- I know it’s hard to get those wrong but when they are done right… mmm. All washed down with a jug of sangria whilst modeling the sombreros they have handy. I think this place will do just fine.Sunday brunch was a relaxed affair at Crustys Corner– this place reminded me of the grungy but somehow effortlessly cool cafes of Cuba St. We cut right to the chase and got our fill of pancakes and french toast- can anyone say sugar high…?!
A special mention for the sweet treats we picked up at the market on Saturday morning- they were so good, they disappeared before I even remembered to take a snap! All in all- it was a wonderful weekend away- definitely no risk of going hungry in Dunedin.