Atop the marble staircase in the brand new Doubletree is an oasis situated in the heart of Wellington. Oozing art deco delight, Spring Kitchen transports you back to the 30s with its cool and subdued style. Although not entirely shaking that 'hotel' vibe, Spring Kitchen's corporate shell is quickly cracked when you indulge in the gorgeous gastronomy. With a menu paying homage to the tastes of India and Southeast Asia, expect the unexpected.
Set yourself up for success and begin with a cocktail (Spring Kitchen has changing cocktail specials). We ordered a tangy and refreshing cucumber and gin concoction: muddled cucumber, Lighthouse gin, elderflower syrup and a frothy head. Pucker up.
When it comes to ordering, you'll find that the menu has all tastes accounted for. The bread selection is impressive with the likes of caramelised onion and brie naan or garlic and herb flatbread making appearances. We opted for an assortment of tandoori bread ($15.50) with a spicy tomato chutney ($5) to accompany. Fresh and delicious, the bread is made onsite in a tandoori clay oven.
Kaffir lime malai paneer tikka ($18) announced the arrival of our entrees. This was the star of the night. Delicate slabs of soft, almost-melted paneer topped with a tangy beetroot and vanilla relish sat seductively. Served with cumin crackers, this dish tantalised each tastebud. More complicated than you'd think, enjoy notes of smokiness, creaminess and crunchiness.
Next up: charcoal, saffron and sheep curd chicken tikka ($20) — this is Indian soul food. Creamy wild rice and lentils serve as a savoury bed for the succulent chicken. Absolutely moreish, this extraordinary chicken tikka was cluckin' good.
The mains demanded the same attention to detail and flavour. With every protein ticked off the list from venison to freshly caught fish — no one is going home hungry. We had grilled char sui pork and spiced venison. The pork belly was served with a sticky and sweet honey, soy and ginger drizzle. Pools of the gooey liquid collected on the creamy coriander mash while the venison was rolled in every herb and spice known to humankind. You'll find some interesting fusions on the menu such as tandoori chicken cannelloni and lamb shank rogan josh — certainly an ode to the "modern fusion" label. Don't fret if you're after a classic steak, an Angus tenderloin steak is here to satisfy (it also comes with smoked eel).
The desserts showcased a standard array to choose from with your classic creme brulee and cheese board as well as a more exotic coconut rice pudding for those after something a little different.
Spring Kitchen spectacularly showcases how food has no boundaries. The freshness, preparation and presentation of the food was superb. Different cuisines and experimental flavours have transformed what could have been ordinary dishes into a decadent taste of the globe.