One of the first things we notice upon entering UV9 is the TV playing reruns of Mr Bean. In the background, the voice of a young Britney Spears bounces gently off the vines hanging on the rustic chic walls, teasing us that oops, she did it again.
As the wave of 90s nostalgia washes over us and we take our seats, one thing becomes clear: UV9 is all about the fusion and they're not afraid to flaunt it.
Perhaps an apt reflection of the ambience, UV9's colourful (in all senses of the word) menu boasts bold, contemporary European and Asian influences. It can be a challenge trying to nail down a central theme here, but what isn't in doubt is that you're spoilt for choice.
According to management, the jerk chicken panko ($25) is their signature dish, so it's a no brainer on our order list. The portions at UV9 are certainly generous, and three hefty, deep-fried pieces of crumbed chicken land at our table. The chicken is delicious, served piping hot with a crispy skin doused in a jerk sauce that packs a perfectly balanced kick. This is complemented well by the chunky, golden beer-battered fries and a side salad drizzled in a superb, tangy dressing.
As we work our way enthusiastically through our meals, Michael Jackson's 'The Way You Make Me Feel' rings around the spacious interior. By now, we're feeling quietly impressed.
The seafood risotto with scallops ($26) vies for our attention, and its beautiful presentation definitely catches our eye. The risotto had a bit more bite than we're used to, and while textured well, it could have been a bit creamier. Overall it's a solid dish though, infused with a rich garlic and white wine sauce and peppered with a generous serving of fresh seafood.
That classic love song, Pitbull's 'Hotel Room', is the last track to grace our ears as we polish off our last bites and head home, bellies happy and full and senses pleasantly overwhelmed.
Standing defiantly at the heart of Blair Street among some of Wellington's most established eateries, UV9 is out to make a statement and it's already making its mark. From the logo to the menu and fit-out, the place abounds with colour and character, to somewhat interesting effect. Some might say it's having an identity crisis, but we'd like to think it's just finessing its best self.