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30 Nov 2018
The Hudson is the newest addition to what is a growing line-up of new eateries and bars in Chews Lane – and one that will leave no one wanting for anything.
The old saying goes something along the lines of, “Pick one thing and do it well”. Hudson completely turns that adage on its head, and makes an art form of picking many things, and executing them all to a very high degree of quality and success. It does a bit of everything and does it well.
Whether you’re in the mood for beers, cheese and charcuterie; a sandwich filled with freshly carved slow-cooked brisket and crisp cos; an evening tipple (take your pick from the specialty gin, whisky, cocktail and craft beer bars – Hudson has one of each) or a dining experience (casual or I-need-to-impress-someone) Hudson does all across breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Housed in the historic Colonial Carrying Company building on the corner of Chews Lane and Victoria Street, the interior is a mix of modern and old, plush and distressed. Within the high-ceilinged, worn-in interior, which showcases the building’s original bones (built in 1927) are a series of bars tucked away into the space’s various nooks and corners.
Move past the main bar with its 16 taps, pouring a satisfying range of local craft beers, and you’ll find a specialty gin bar next to the charcuterie station; where, against a backdrop of cured meats hanging in dry-aging fridges, the chefs will carve delicate slices of house-cured prosciutto and salami for your platter or the most sumptuous, moist (yes, we hate that word too, but there is really is no other way to describe it) brisket for your lunchtime sandwich.
Upstairs to Hudson’s luxe, velvet lounge is the whiskey and cocktail bar, sporting more than 50 whiskeys from Scotland, Ireland and Japan (and a few more, beyond – including a brandy, which has been calculated at $1000 per shot if you’re feeling baller). This space, says General Manager, Ciaran Duffy, is a den to settle into and tell long stories over for a gentlemen/women’s club round of drinks or a more formal dining backdrop.
We decided to stick with the more casual downstairs area for dinner, and left the selections to chef, Adam Brack Sinnot, who wooed us with a variety of Hudson’s small and large plates. Again, there is something for everyone, and whilst Hudson obviously knows how to properly treat a quality cut of meat, special mention must go to their vegetarian and vegan dishes, which go beyond the standard goat cheese and feta tarts.
The gnocchi with tomato consommé, black garlic, baby carrot and Kalamata olive crumb were hands down the lightest and fluffiest gnocchi I have ever had. The tomato consommé, made from crushed roasted tomatoes and the juices collected overnight through cheese cloth, had soft, sweet and savoury flavours, acutely reminiscent of the freshest ingredients of a Margherita pizza.
Also stand out were the two beef dishes: beef tartar with capers, confit egg yolk and house-made lavosh, and the beef cheek served with jus on a layer of roasted root vegetables. The simple descriptor of the latter does nothing to illustrate how beautifully, the gelatinous cut of cheek melts in your mouth; soft, juicy and textural, all at once.
Foolishly, we considered skipping dessert, having been so spoiled by the previous course. But Adam wouldn’t have any of our prudence, bringing out a selection of sweet plates – all a bit cheeky and very clever - for us to try. No regrets were had.
The highlight was What A Mess – Adam’s take on the classic Eton Mess. With soft, chewy, cloud-like Italian meringue, alongside little crunchy, bite-sized meringues, strawberry pink gin sorbet, walnut praline, lemon curd, berry coulis and – a stroke of genius – finished off with scattering of dried prosciutto. Adam said he wanted the dessert to look as though a carefully constructed dessert had been dropped from a height onto the plate. This is a Sid Vicious take on a traditional favourite.
Special mention must also go to the clever flavours of Hudson’s vegan dessert: a coconut foam, with chocolate and raspberry, tahini ice cream and Whittaker’s 72% dark chocolate. Close your eyes and the tahini ice cream tastes uncannily like peanut butter, and it’s a dish that will have any carnivore sneaking a spoonful or more from their vegan dining partner.
With Hudson’s carefully curated combination of everything – fresh produce, innovative ingredients, the playful treatment of its dishes and quality drops of beer, gin and whiskies, we have a sneaking suspicion the old building on the corner of Chews Lane will be seeing a lot of Wellingtonians through its new doors.
A mix of the old and new, the lived-in and the luxurious.