They managed to grab a few hours away from the motel on Sunday afternoon and we met at their favourite restaurant Ten Twenty Four at, well, 1024 Pakowhai Road, Hastings for lunch.
I believe this used to be the restaurant area for the Hettinga Estate Vineyard but I think the vineyard has now leased the kitchen, dining rooms & courtyard to the owners of Ten Twenty Four.
The dining area, bar and open kitchen are light and airy, I love the chandeliers but I’m not so sure on the stag’s head.
But the pièce de résistance, in my opinion, is the courtyard, and especially on yet another hot Hawkes Bay summer afternoon. Ten Twenty Four would make a lovely wedding venue, the bride & groom could get married at the end of the courtyard with the vines as a backdrop.
I thought this was a great way to make a feature of the old fountain pool in the centre of the courtyard. And if a wedding was taking place perhaps they could resurrect the fountain to flow champagne…….or maybe make a chocolate fountain!
Tony recommended we have the Chef’s Choice for lunch and even though it wasn't on this particular day’s menu (which is printed and changed daily), the chef was happy to oblige. Small but visually appealing portions are the norm here, we love this style of casual fine dining where you leave the table replete but not feeling over stuffed.
I’m afraid I can’t give you a blow by blow account of what we had although each course was explained in full to us- my memory just isn’t that good. But I can give you an rough idea; the complimentary glass of plum juice had an interesting arrangement of firm bubbles and dry ice. I loved the glass and saucer set. Next was salmon, a cockle, roasted black garlic, a chicken spring roll and a flavoured foam.
A lamb rack, purple carrot, potato croquette, half a baked stuffed apricot and two different sauces were our main followed by a delicious dessert of panna cotta, chocolate mousse, an edible white basket with a marinated cherry and what looked like a scoop of icecream. It actually broke in half to reveal a few tiny hidden treasures.
Ten Twenty Four might not be everyone’s cup of tea (or glass of plum juice, as the case may be) but if you’re looking for a completely different dining experience in a wonderful setting with great ambience then this just might be for you. But be sure to book, I hear that most evenings they are fully booked. This doesn’t surprise me as Ten Twenty Four is the number one restaurant (out of 56) for Hawkes Bay on Trip Advisor, the travelling public’s on-line ‘bible’. And just in case you’re a little worried at the size of the meals, I see from photos on TA that they are a bit more substantial for dinner.