Coene’s Bar and Eatery
103 Oriental Parade, Wellington
Reviewed by: Madelaine Empson
For Burger Wellington, one of my favourite restaurants not only devised a mouthwatering lobster and groper burger, but put on a special sea-to-plate menu. In the era of the great seafood takeover, I was lucky enough to be invited to Coene’s Bar and Eatery by Sealord for a bespoke menu designed especially for a special event: a chat about their new campaign, Seas Matter.
We sat down with Sealord’s general manager of operations Rui Ventura and public affairs and communications manager Annabel Scaife, plus BlacklandPR consultant Fiann Blackham, to a pesce crudo entrée and market-fish main. The pesce crudo – thin slices of raw tarakihi, served with beetroot aguachile (ceviche’s favourite cousin), pickled tamarillo, and wild rice cracker – was light and fresh, adorned with ruby-red bursts of colour from the beetroot and tamarillo, which added a zesty kick that elevated the dish. The market tarakihi was pan fried to perfection and bathed in creamy buttered leek, green peas, and basil velouté. The grilled fennel was a particularly lovely touch, but the crispy chorizo was the unexpected hero of the dish. Think of it like smoky, salty bacon bits and you’ll forgive me for salivating while I write this.
It was fascinating learning about Seas Matter, a campaign launched by Sealord to educate Kiwis about not just the health, but the sustainability of seafood. I learned that to get to our plates, fish produces the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any meat protein because selectively fishing from the ocean requires no land clearance, pesticides, fertilisers, antibiotics, and virtually no freshwater. I didn’t know that, but it now makes sense! Additionally, a study conducted by Dr Ray Hilborn and the Sustainable Fisheries team at the University of Washington found that one serving of wild-caught New Zealand fish provides 20 times more key nutrients per unit of CO2 than a serving of beef or lamb. Staggering!
Thank you, Sealord, for enlightening me over a feast of impossibly fresh fish. Sipping prosecco in the sun by the sea? Sometimes my job is really hard.