Gathan Beaga


So Tuesday was R.‘s birthday, and being one of those big ticket ones (like mine was recently) we had to do something special. I had planned to go to work in the morning, pretending like nothing was happening, and then I’d turn up at lunchtime, in synchrony with R.’s parents (who were to take care of the children), and sweep her away into town. But this was perhaps taking a bit of a punt, especially as it turned out that both kids had heavy colds and were home from school. No fun being stuck at home on your birthday with two sick kids, right? So I took the morning off too.

About mid-afternoon, after lunch at home with the family, we took the bus into town, checking into Ohtel, a small but quirky luxury hotel. We got the top floor suite! But more on that later.

We had a bit of a look around town before coming back to get ready for dinner: Martin Bosley’s.

We’d been advised to take the dégustation menu, and this advice was good. Not only were we relieved from the chore of actually having to choose for ourselves, we could be sure of having the best of everything. And we did. I think it may have been the best restaurant meal I’ve ever had in my life. I’d thoroughly recommend it for that big personal occasion:

  • elaborate and intricate dishes of surprising and complex tastes: check!
  • beautiful outlook across water to the city: check!
  • molecular gastronomy: check!
  • fittingly expensive: check!
  • annoying expense-account fuck-wits on the next table: check!

OK, so the latter point was the worst the restaurant had to offer, and that’s really no different from lots of other places. It is, without doubt, the best restaurant in Wellington. Book ahead. NOW.

the ohtel bathroomBut back to Ohtel. After we checked out I was all set to bag the place, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m better to list my small irritations in an email to them, rather than here (these are all irritations that one would forgive if the place were a little cheaper, and all very easily fixed). At the distance of a couple days we can more properly appreciate the things about the place we really liked. And like it we did. Good things about our Ohtel room:

  • the interior design: some amalgam of 1950’s and kiwiana lite, classy and warm. We felt good in there.
  • the location, and as a by-product of that, the outlook over Waitangi Park; open and inviting.
  • the bathroom: big, and open to the rest of the room, which was very interesting.
  • the bath: free-standing and just the right size.

So Ohtel is definitely another local place for the list of Places To Go To Reconnect With One’s Loved One In The Absence Of Distractions (others have suggested to me that the Museum Hotel is also pretty good place for this sort of thing). Check it out.

And, after all that, did R. enjoy her birthday? Yes. (Phewf!) And Sweet Mother’s Kitchen for breakfast the following day was the crowning glory. We love that place.