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“My heart sank when I saw a squiggle of ubiquitous brown sauce”

Kingsgate Restaurant
Ranked #65 of 89 Restaurants in Whanganui
Cuisines: New Zealand
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Scotland and New Zealand
Level Contributor
70 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“My heart sank when I saw a squiggle of ubiquitous brown sauce”
Reviewed 29 January 2014

The food at the Kingsgate restaurant is very well cooked. In fact, beautifully cooked with great care. So why this ubiquitous brown sauce poured from a bottle which is found all over the world? It had nothing to do with the chicken on my plate nor with the lamb on my partner's. The plaques on the wall show how well thought of the food is here - and rightly so, but have the catering schools and food inspectors no experience of making an individual sauce from the pan juices either?
I started with delicious and well cooked tiger prawns and scallops in a gingery cream sauce. Just about top marks for that but I could have done with a little bread or salad just to cut through the extreme richness and I really didn't need that squiggle of 'brown sauce' across the plate.
The main course chicken was again wonderfully cooked and tasty. It was already rich, wrapped in parma ham with camembert stuffing but that brown, salty, sticky sauce on both our plates made it a bit too rich.

The restaurant is attractive with tables well separated but there was a conflict with the attached cafe from which there was a lot of echoing noise of people talking. Their pop music conflicted with the musak being played in the restaurant. Poor Ella Fitzgerald or who ever it was singing to us.
The staff were very good. We arrived late (we did let them know) and later, on request stopped spraying strong smelling cleaning fluids to clean the glass-topped tables around us. Along with unidentifiable brown sauces these spray cleaners are another bete noir of mine. The strong smell (in this case lemon) from some cleaning fluids destroys the sense of smell - which is so closely tuned to the sense of taste. So why use them when people are eating? - it destroys the flavour of the food the chef has so carefully prepared.

So, to summarise, the service was good, the food was good and I would recommend others to his restaurant with no hesitation but by trying to accommodate many different types of business the management seem to have a few things just a bit wrong.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank alhcookboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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33 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    11
    9
    4
    6
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Spokane, Washington
Level Contributor
50 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Good dinner”
Reviewed 15 December 2013

Across the street from the Aotea Motor Lodge, this restaurant has a very nice menu with gf options. The service was very nice and friendly. The food was as good as the service.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Dryside
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
57 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Worth the wait”
Reviewed 7 June 2013 via mobile

Our meals were beautiful there was nothing left on any of our plates all 8 of them. Front of house service by Maryanne was an exemplar for this industry. Only disappointment was the time it took for our meals to arrive. The decor is dated but good company makes up for that.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank T3urumana0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bognor Regis, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
50 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Good choice, well cooked”
Reviewed 30 May 2013

You will not go hungry with the amount of food served! Good choice, and quickly served by very friendly staff.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Ian5982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Open hearted hospitality; delicious meal prepared with TLC”
Reviewed 20 February 2013

I arrived at 8:30 (i.e. late) on a Wednesday evening - to a warm welcome by Maryanne despite the hour.

I cannot praise enough what happened next. I was guided through the dinner menu ( I have a dairy allergy) - Maryanne asked about my preferences and then suggested options that suited me, and then when I had made my choice, made sure that she knew exactly how I wanted my meal. When we turned to drinks - Maryanne so-diplomatically guided me to the perfect match for my meal.

When my meal arrived, I was happily surprised to find the lamb perfectly caramelised under a crisp, light and flavoursome herb crust. The rack of lamb was tender and juicy; the vegetables were perfectly steamed; the jus was beautifully sticky and with a balanced depth of flavour.

Next - dessert. Having a dairy allergy, dessert is often not an option, or something that throws the kitchen well out of joint. After some consultation between Maryanne and chef, I was offered either sorbet or fruit salad. Yes - not spectacular.. but what follows next is special.

Firstly, Maryanne saw my slight hesitation between the two, and wonderfully, intuitively suggested perhaps sorbet with a bit of fruit salad? It's been a while since I've experienced such intuitive and natural care from front of house staff ! I travel a lot , for business & pleasure, and go out often (from the simple local, to say Gordon Ramsay in London, St John's, Longrain, Vue de Monde etc, Intercontinental, Shangri La, etc) even when not traveling, as I love good food..so have been hosted by many professionals. So, I attest from experience that this experience was truly special.

Secondly, I know that sorbet and fruit salad might be boring for a chef to prepare. But when it came - I was impressed by the professionalism shown. It spoke volumes about the attitude in the kitchen - the fruit was beautifully cut with every slice evenly sized and arranged, the fruit presented respecting / showing off its natural shape (much like the Japanese style), and again, the fruit selected for balance of flavour and stage of ripeness / texture. Effort had been made to garnish the plate, and though the sorbet was simple, it was perfectly smooth and creamy - no iciness.

To finish - I wanted to give a tip as a small sign of appreciation for a great job. But it didn't turn out to be possible as I needed to charge back to a different hotel. Maryanne explained this and then, smiled and said - thank you for the gesture though, and we would just like for you to come back again. Well! If I'd only had NZ currency on me!

So thank you to both Maryanne and Chef. It had been a long two days this trip and tonight was just the balm and highlight that soothed the cares away. As I said to Maryanne, I wish I'd come to the Kingsgate for my other meal here in Wanganui. The Angora didn't hold a candle to the Kingsgate. I'll be back the next chance I get.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank MsianFoodFan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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