Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Abbey

Photos are less shiny than usual today, as I foolishly forgot the camera, so was running on phone photography.  The lighting inside The Abbey is not bright, so... I hope you can see enough.

The plan was a casual snacky dinner with J, who was in town for the night while headed south.  We decided on The Abbey because their beer is good, and a pot of mussels seemed about right.

It was.  We chose the chili coriander broth for them, and it worked a treat.  Nicely presented in a solid round pot, lid for the shells, tasty, flavoursome broth.  $18 for a kilogram pot.  Frites on the side came with mayonnaise and gravy (picture below). ($5 more - $23 for moules-frites)

Of course, moules-frites isn't complete without  beer, and they have a good range of (surprise!) Belgian beers, both on tap and bottled.  I opened with a Leffe Brune (500ml).  It came in the traditional Leffe glass, which at 500ml sizing, looks just a little bit absurd.  The beer within, however, tastes just as good as it should.  Which is, not the best Belgian you will have, but definitely worthwhile.  Expensive, at $15.

Sharing a pot of mussels and some fries wasn't quite enough, and as the mussels had been good, we went back to the menu, and picked out a couple small dishes.  Mussel fritters ($14) and Pork Belly ($14).  The Mussel fritters were well spiced, well cooked, and very tasty.  I would have liked a bit more of the aioli along with them, but the fritters were good enough without that this wasn't a big blow.

The pork belly was exactly as described on the menu.  Crispy sticky pork, mustard sauce, creamy mashed potatoes, and a rich gravy lurking in the bottom of the dish.  This especially seemed pretty good value at $14.

I couldn't sneak away without having another beer, either, so I went for a bottle of the Forbidden Fruit, a tasty tasty strong ale (clocks in at 8.5%, I believe).  I didn't enjoy this as much as I have in the past. Not sure exactly why not, but it has been a while since I had one, and I have been leaning ever more towards the heavier/stronger beers, so maybe this just lacks that really deep,  punchy flavour for me now?

The service was friendly and attentive, the food was good, and the fitout of the place is nice.  Food prices, too, are reasonable, although the beer could stand to be a couple dollars cheaper all around.  The other places in town which sell interesting Belgian beers (Gothenburg, for one), have the Abbey beaten on price.  Still, worth a meal, especially if your drinking budget isn't that tight.  I hear a rumour that Sunday afternoons offer very cheap mussel pots and small tap beers, at $5 each, which sounds like a tremendous idea to me.

The Abbey
186 Victoria St, Hamilton
(07) 839 5152

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