In an Ambassador Series first, we were warmly welcomed to Nero Restaurant in Palmerston North by children from the local Kapa Haka group. Scott Kennedy was celebrating his third year as a Beef and Lamb Ambassador Chef and says he wanted something special to open the evening and what better way to celebrate our amazing home grown beef and lamb than with a true Kiwi welcome!
Scott is renowned for combining international flavours with New Zealand product and his menu was a reflection of this as he paired New Zealand beef and lamb with inspiration from his travels.
The first course was a light dish of beef bresaola, cheese soufflé and pickled vegetables
, the wafer thin slices of cured beef were delicately arranged alongside a colourful variety of pickled vegetables atop. The tanginess of the vegetables offset the saltiness of the bresaola and the creamy soufflé added a rich and savoury depth of flavour. Inspiration from this dish came from a trip to Italy and was topped off with a beautiful lemon infused olive oil.
The second course was a Thai inspired dish of Coastal Spring Lamb shoulder with lambs fry and bacon bonbon.
This dish was full of delicious lamb flavour which comes from marinating and slowly braising the shoulder which Scott then pressed and served in slices. A salad of cucumber, coriander, chilli and mint was a fresh flavour hit which cut through the spicy kick from the Thai marinade. The bonbon was a crisp rice wafer infused with ginger, lime leaves and a touch of black sesame which encased a smooth and creamy serve of lambs fry and bacon pate with a peanut and sesame brittle on top.
Time for the main course and the big beefy flavours of Taupo Beef eye fillet, ash charred with BBQ beef short rib, caponata, fromage de chevre.
The beautiful tender eye fillet was ash charred. This was achieved by roasting a mire poix, which is a mixture of roughly chopped vegetables such as onions, carrots and celery until it is burnt and crushed into an ash. The fillet is then coated in the ash before cooking. Scott prepared his fillet in this way before bagging ready to be sous vide and then charred before serving. This added a lovely subtle char flavour which matched perfectly to the rich beefy flavour of the fillet. The short rib was marinated and smoked in Scott’s wine barrel smoker which sits out the back of his restaurant. This infused an intense rich charcoal flavour into the short rib which just fell off the bone and melted in the mouth. The potato was crispy and golden and the caponata added a acid component to cut through the richness of this dish.
Dessert was an amazing alternate drop of Tiramisu cigar or a passionfruit mousse with sherbet meringue.
Both desserts were a feast for the eyes and an equally delicious feast for the palate rounding off an amazing night of superb cuisine matched with excellent wines. Scott and Yvette were amazing hosts and their passion for creating a memorable experience for their guests was truly evident at their Beef and Lamb Ambassador Series dinner at Nero’s.
Check out the Nero website here