One of the daily things that I do before I go to work is scout for dining bargains at sites such as grabone and groupon. The advantages for these sites allow patrons – such as myself – to try new places without hurting the wallet. The latest coupon find was on groupon, where they were offering -for $49 – tapas and a tasting flight of five wines for two at Jax Wine Bar in New Market.
The voucher gave us three options based on the wine tasters – red, white or mixed. Each option included five generous glasses of different wines. We were served by the friendly manager on duty who gave us a description on where the wine came from and the taste to expect. Out of the five wines, my favourite was the Coney rosé which was slightly sweet and easy on the palate.
The groupon voucher included five assorted tapas and these vary depending on the flight you chose. Our five included the following tapas. The cold smoked salmon with honey and spring onions which was fresh and not overly sweet. The adorable and fantastic baby red bell peppers stuffed with just the right amount of feta and served with basil pesto. The perfect combinaton of moist duck breast with caramelised onions. A deep-fried chunky potato with cherry tomatoes and aioli and last but not least, the phenomenal and perfectly cooked miso beef crusted with sesame seeds which was served with a mung bean salad.
Being hungry and adventerous diners, we could not resist the temptation and order a few more tapas. The blue cheese and almond mousse stuffed mushrooms was slightly too intense for my liking due to my dislike for blue cheese, but my friends loved it. The peppered lamb with rocket mayonaise was superb, considering that lamb is usually my last choice in meats. It was tender and moist and the mayonaise covered the gamey taste. The pate, which changes every week, was a delicious mushroom and eggplant pate served with slices of bacon. It was nice and different, however, the stuffed prawns with breadcrumbs did not meet up to expectation.
The best and most surprising dish of the night was the white anchovies with strawberries in a sherry reduction. Anchovies, in my mind, is salty and intense. I eat it frequently in salads, but I have never had anchovies this way nor have I ever thought of matching it with strawberries. Yet, this dish was exceptional. It was tart and actually reminded us of cornichons which we have an addiction to. The strawberry, surprisingly worked with the dish, and offered a faint sweetness that countered the acidity. This is a must try for anyone visiting Jax.
My friends and I left room for dessert and decided to order one each rather than share. The gin and lime mousse was refreshing with a lovely strong taste of lime. The red wine poached pear served with a side of ice cream was sweet and soft, however, it lacked the ‘whoa’ factor and was not memorable. The filo pastry with creme fraiche, in my opinion, was the best. It was crispy and light and the strawberry sauce and creme fraiche was a great combination.
My friends and I had a great meal at Jax Wine Bar. The place has great ambience and the staff was entertaining and friendly. Prices for the tapas were decent with most dishes being $7 to $9 and they were delightful. I think the way they plated their food is fantastic and smart because often, when eating tapas, our table is overcrowded with countless small dishes. But in this instance, everything is neat and uncluttered which gave us ample room for fifteen wine glasses! Without a doubt, I would re-visit Jax.
Date: Sunday 11th March, 2012 | Location: 40 Remuera Road, New Market | Food: Spanish Tapas