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Wellington Restaurant Review – The Ancestral Courtney Place

Updated on December 27, 2014

A modern take on traditional Chinese cuisine, the food was simple, elegant and well-cooked. I had Pork Belly with Cucumber and Soy Sauce for entrée and my partner had Deep Fried Squid with Crispy Garlic. For mains I chose the Sichauan Duck while he opted for the Aged Beef Tenderloin with Empire Sauce. The dishes were simple and elegant though at times over-spiced for my palate. We did appreciate the focus on clean, fresh ingredients and fat, juicy proteins.

Dark wooden floors, upholstered bench seats and formal table dressings give The Ancestral a contemporary upmarket feel. The service was attentive and efficient. We were seated promptly and got everything we ordered in a timely manner. The staff were confident, knowledgeable about the food and the wine and generally gave the impression they enjoyed their work and cared about their customers’ experience. Delicious small plates of spicy peanuts and pickled vegetables to nibble on while we read the menus, a palate cleanser in between courses and hot towels after the mains all added to the high-end ambience.

The surprising highlight of The Ancestral for me was the extensive wine list with bottles from France, Spain, Portugal and Hungary and varieties I’ve never even heard of before. We chose the Pyramid Pinot Blanc from North Canterbury and it was one of the nicest wines I’ve had for a while. I liked it so much I went and looked them up on the Internet so I could join the mailing list.

At around $200 for the two of us this meal wasn’t quite the cheap feed we’d been planning on but we came out pretty satisfied. We didn’t have room for desert so will have to go back another time to try the Ginger and Milk Pudding, Caramilized Rice Pudding and one (or even 2) of the many boutique Desert Wines they have on offer.

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