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Hippopotamus Celebrates Matariki With Te Reo Māori Menu

June 25, 2019 Dining No Comments Email Email

QT Wellington’s signature French restaurant Hippopotamus is celebrating Matariki, Māori New Year, with its first ever bilingual menu in English and te reo Māori.

The three-course set menu, which runs from 21 June to 7 July, was devised by Executive Chef Jiwon Do, who was inspired to create his huakitanga (entrée) of Tuna mini-auahi, Kīnaki rimurapa tuna aripako (Smoked eel and Albacore tuna pastrami tartare) after learning of Matariki’s association with the end of the harvest season when of food stores are laid down for winter.

This time of year was particularly known for its plentiful runs of tuna (eels) which were caught in streams such as Kaiwharawhara in Zealandia, then smoked and dried before storing.

The menu’s te kai matua (main course) is Waewae pārera huahua (Confit duck leg) served with hua rākau pēpi, te kirīmi o te pīni carīni, tamariro tunutunu, hinu kawakawa (baby vegetables, cream of cannellini beans, grilled tamarillo, kawakawa oil); to finish, te purini (dessert) is Kūmara ‘Mont Blanc’ with pōhā kirīmi Miraka Pāmu Tia, taetini tote tai o Marlborough (Pamu Deer Milk crème patisserie and Marlborough sea salt opaline).

Locally sourced, native ingredients are a passion for Korean-born, French-trained Do, who has been the Executive Chef at Hippopotamus since late 2018.

“For me, feeling the local connection with the ingredients I cook with is really important when I create a new dish in the Hippopotamus kitchen,” Do says. “I found the idea of looking to our New Zealand ancestors irresistible when the opportunity came to create a menu for Matariki – they knew this land and they absolutely knew what ingredients to cook with, when to cook with them and when to store them away to use later on. Why wouldn’t I use the knowledge of those who came before me?”

Do uses many native ingredients in his innovative dishes at Hippopotamus such as horopito, kawakawa and pikopiko, and is exploring his interest in foraging during this year’s Wellington on a Plate festival in August.

The highly anticipated Foragers Feast event at Hippopotamus, on 14 and 15 August, will see Do head out into the wilds of Wellington with former Wellington chef Bob Piechniczek, currently head chef of QT Melbourne, to source ingredients from land and sea for a six-course fine dining meal.

The Matariki menu is $85 la tangata (per person) or $120 me te wāina (with wine match), while tickets for the Visa Wellington on a Plate Foragers Feast are $190/$250.

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