Cod and Lobster

300 Trafalgar Street, Nelson, 7010, New Zealand

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This restaurant was set up a couple of years ago by an Englishman called Nick Widley, who grew up in Torquay but settled in New Zealand seven years ago. The restaurant specialises in seafood and is located in the central business district of Nelson. It seats about seventy customers and has both outside seating and a conservatory area. The carpeted room had pleasantly low noise levels, despite the completely full dining room. 

The wine list featured labels such as Fromm La Strada Sauvignon Blanc 2017 at NZ$54 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for NZ$25, Nautilus Estate Chardonnay 2015 at NZ$70 compared to its retail price of NZ$38, and Clearview Enigma Merlot 2013 at NZ$90 for a wine that will set you back NZ$43 in a shop. We drank the excellent Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2016, which was quite fairly priced at NZ$120 considering its retail price at the time was NZ$85.

Big eye tuna was served in two ways: as seared strips and deep fried in panko breadcrumbs and served with aioli. This was an enjoyable dish, the tuna lightly cooked, the aioli going nicely with the fish (13/20). Ora king salmon was cured and came with dill creme fraiche, with picked cucumber and seed crackers. This was pleasant enough, though the salmon had limited flavour and the pickled cucumber was quite vinegary (12/20). A special of the day of snapper was carefully cooked, with crisp skin and a bed of peas, beans and pasta, which were cold. I think this would have worked better if the pasta and vegetables had been hot, though the fish was certainly nice (13/20).

On the side, chips were bought in and unnecessarily topped with cheese and flavoured with truffle oil, which in reality is a chemical called 2-4 diapenthene and has nothing to do with actual truffles. The chips themselves were fine and would have been better without the garnishes (12/20). Broccoli was undercooked verging on raw (10/20) though to be fair it was removed from the bill without us asking. 

For dessert, chocolate with pistachio ice cream also came with local cherries from Nelson. The chocolate was reasonable, from a local supplier, but while not grainy was not perfectly silky either. The pistachio ice cream was bought in and needed more pistachio flavour and the cherries were a little disappointing, not having much flavour (11/20). Mocha cheesecake came with Italian meringue, salted caramel sauce, crystallised coffee and marscapone. The cheesecake had quite good coffee flavour but for me there were too many flavours competing for attention (12/20). Coffee was Allpress and was excellent.

Service was very good indeed, led by the owner himself. The bill came to NZ$139 (£73) per person, but this was with an expensive wine. If you shared a modest bottle then a more typical cost per person would be around £50. Overall, I would return to the Cod and Lobster if in the area. It is a pleasant restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere, and although the cooking was rather uneven it was a nice enough experience.


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