October 2, 2023|In News, Puneet's Corner, Wines

Puneet of Ponsonby: Modern Chic at Atelier on K’ Road

To be ‘chic’, you have to be glamorous, but with simplicity at the core.

Article written for and originally published by Ponsonby News: http://www.ponsonbynews.co.nz/article-detail/show/3927/

Your offering must seem effortless but, in truth, fastidious attention to detail underpins this sense of ease. Marilyn Monroe was always ‘chic’.

Michael Jordan taking flight for a slam dunk is ‘chic’. Indeed, Mahatma Gandhi was and the Dalai Lama is ‘chic’.

When it comes to hospitality, K’ Road has always been ‘chic’. Every operator has their own unique style and offering, and between all the operators there is a genuine feeling of collective good will towards each other – a true community.

At Atelier on K’ Road, owners Matt Gossett, Julian Albe and Kelian Monteil have brought French modern chic to our doorstep. Kelian, the chef, hails from Montpellier and for many years specialised in patisserie in some of the best restaurants in the region including the iconic Lido in Corsica, a Michelin restaurant perched on a rock with magnificent views to sea and a new menu daily.

The team strives to bring out classic French dishes, but with their own unconventional and delicious twist in a modern, convivial and shared-plate setting. The result is magnificent. Kelian presents to me his latest creation, chicken cordon bleu with mushroom ketchup and creamy dill sauce. The chicken breast is cut ‘portefeuille’ (French term for ‘opening the wallet’) making it flat and long. This is then rolled with the raclette cheese and cooked sous vide for one hour and then deep fried with a slight crumb.

Finally, the dish is garnished with the creamy dill sauce and the most incredible mushroom ketchup. I spoke about attention to detail while looking effortless, and this completely fits the bill. Thirty ingredients go into this ketchup, including five mushrooms – oyster, button, shitake, portobello and enoki, then a number of Asian sauces and light spices. Chef tinkered for weeks to find the perfect blend merely for this garnish, in an eternal search for beauty, deliciousness, umami, style – ’chic’.

And so for the wine match, I turn to the enigmatic Easthope Family Winegrowers from Hawke’s Bay and their 2021 chenin blanc. I love the pairing. The chenin is grown around the alluvial basalts of the Tuki Tuki River giving the wine vibrancy, beautiful texture and length. This strikes well against the powerful raclette cheese. The tropical fruit notes with slight mealiness of the wine also contrasts beautifully with the mushroom, spice, cream and dill of the dish.

From the team that brought you beef bourguignon in a croquette and eclair with black pudding, it just goes to show that a sprinkling of the ‘old’ with a dash of the ‘new’, mixing up the savoury where once there was sweet, leads us to new and delightful places. It is only with an open, knowledgeable, curious and free mind that we can achieve the heady heights of being ‘trés chic’.