Hippopotamus, Wellington, NZ

Words that come to mind: Devine. Mouth-watering. Incredible service. Wonderful atmosphere. 
From our French speaking, music humming, trivia engaging waiter to the gorgeous view, luxurious interior and magnificent art the scene was set and my expectations were high. 

We began with cocktails. My Mother would say that I aptly chose mine. It was simply named, the Rogue. It was sweet and (just like me, let’s be honest) delicious. 

Once we were seated our fantastic waiter joined us, and he was just bursting with personality. He was professional to the tee but still managed to engage and entertain us. He gave us the daily specials, checked our drinks, ran through the menu and challenged us to some musical trivia.

The amuse Bouche arrived – an arancini mushroom risotto with a duck confit shot to wash it down. Very different and very nice. I loved the presentation.  

The waiter even managed to guess my entree and my mains. Touché Monsieur. Sashimi salmon and oysters to start. Followed by the venison with sides to share. Am I seriously that predictable or is he seriously that good? I still can’t decide.

The oysters were succulent and the sashimi some of the best I have tasted. Maybe because I am from NZ, perhaps I am just biased. Or maybe it was the cocktails. 

The venison was to start with, just gorgeous on the plate and then, marvellous on the palette. It was beautifully rare, the pickled beetroot, drunken prawns, salted caramel ganache, red wine jus and chilli and chocolate crumble (yeah, you read that right) just topped it all off. I cannot compliment it highly enough. 

We shared sides. Simple but with twists. Beans with bacon and Kikorangi cheese. Potato gratin with Gruyere. There was none left at the end. 

The kicker? All our mains were delightfully delicious. Not one bad egg among all of them. No complaints from my family of (picky) fine taste. All happy, all content and all full. 

My expectations were not only I’m met, they were surpassed. Hippopotamus is a must visit if you are in Wellington. Take the time to explore at the Art Museum hotel which hosts the restaurant while you are there – you’ll find treasures hidden in every corner and it is unlike any other hotel I’ve ever stayed in. 

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