Will Charlie pay your bill?
Charlie Bill’s Fine Food Bistro is in one of Welly’s upmarket suburbs of Thorndon. My husband chose this venue and it was definitely a surprise, as I was expecting to eat somewhere in the CBD. We tend to (not intentionally), neglect places that are nestled in the ‘burbs. We have been only once before and really enjoyed it but it just kinda slipped off our radar.
We were the first to arrive at 630pm (as we are old and eat early!), and we were warmly welcomed by Leigh Thornett, partner of award winning chef Hemi Tahu. Hemi has worked with some top notch chefs and has won ‘Chef of the Nation” and “Chef of the Capital”, plus a 2013 Lamb and Beef Award. He had had a long career yet his menu remains fresh, wholesome and contemporary.
Leigh let us choose our own table, tucked up nicely against the wall. This is intimate, quaint dining at its best. The ambiance was further enhanced by some lovely French music. Leigh was friendly but not intrusive, and chose the right moment to take our order . She exuded passion and was a natural hostess with the mostest.
All wines were from NZ except for a cheeky bottle of Aussie red thrown in for good measure, which we couldn’t resist.
I chose the Goat Cheese Souffle as my entrée and hubby, the chicken liver pate with red wine and port jelly. Delishimo. This was followed by the beef fillet with mushroom ravioli and truffled mushroom sauce, but I got a serious case of food envy as I preferred hubby’s Asian Pork Belly with shoyu and ginger dressing. The flavours were sublime. We also had a side of yummy steamed veges. We never have room for dessert but the menu offered dark choc kaffir leaf pannacotta, pavlova, or a lemon crème pot for the sweet tooth, or a fabulous cheese board for the savoury tooth. We finished with a delicious Irish (Caffe L’affare) coffee.
So where does the name “Charlie Bill” come from? It was Hemi’s nickname given to him by his grandfather, so he chose to honour him by naming his restaurant, just that. Family and food is everything to Hemi. We so get that Hemi, as we are Italian!
BTW, my husband (name not Charlie) did pay the bill!