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“Off to a good start”
Review of Duke Carvell's - CLOSED

Duke Carvell's
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed March 6, 2014

After only arriving in NZ for the first time the night before, Duke Carvell's tapas restaurant got us off to a great start of dining around the country. The wines we chose were excellent and choices by the glass are wide, which is usually not the case in restaurants. I find the good wines are mostly only available by the bottle, but not here.

The 5 tapas we chose were so good I had to order another of the cauliflower dish just to experience those flavours again. The smoked chicken wings a close second favourite.

We finished the night off with an Affogato with Amaretto and biscotti, an excellent touch! I really enjoyed the entire evening, including the delightful staff and their bubbly personalities.

Thank Janet A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (143)
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79 - 83 of 143 reviews

Reviewed March 5, 2014

We started by looking for a tapas bar, or similar. That led us Duke Carvell’s fairly quickly. The last couple of TA reviews had not been glowing, but looking past them (either the reviewer or the restaurant had had a bad day), the rest were pretty good.

So, we decided to give it a go. Disappointed we were not. We were made to feel welcome from the moment we walked in the door to the relative warmth compared to a very wet and windy Autumn Wellington day.

After starting with a glass of cava (what else in a tapas restaurant), our hostess Connah explained that tonight was the first night of a new menu (in fact so new it seems the website hasn’t yet been updated), and explained the various elements. We chose 5 “small plates”, rather than one or two of the main meals. Each was delightful, and if I had to choose I’d say the Pan Roasted Fish of the Day with Lentil and Spinach, and the Cauliflower with Preserved Lemon and Pistachio were my favourites, but that’s a really hard call. They were all excellent. (And to balance my comments, my wife chose others to top her list.)

Not knowing the wines we sought guidance. The moustachioed fellow with the hard to define Italian/Kiwi accent who helped us clearly knew his product. He explained the first wine, a 2011 Conde de Valdemar Rioja in great depth, and then for our next wine, later in the evening did the same with the 2008 Babich Syrah. Only much later did we find out that he is Lorenzo Bresolin, a co-owner of Duke Carvell's, and I gather rather a celebrity in NZ. As with Connah, he was engaging and added greatly to the enjoyment of the evening.

So, in summary, great food and lovely wines, all knowledgeably served, and a great atmosphere all round. To the recent reviewers whose experiences did not quite meet their expectations, that’s a shame, as I suspect that something anomalous had happened.

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Thank Peter C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2014

Maybe we need to give Duke Carvell's another go. It promised much: interesting menu, a really good atmosphere inside and a Wellington culinary celebrity front of house (Lorenzo Bresolin from The Great Food Race). But our waitress went from being sweet to just boringly inept. Very pleasant, just not very good. Drinks orders kept being missed (only after they'd been taken very late...) and our shared dinner - a seafood paella - took an eternity to arrive. The kitchen was clearly under pressure because it had been rushed through: over spiced, so that the different seafood tastes were lost, and under cooked (liquid still at the bottom of the dish - a real paella no-no).

To his credit, Lorenzo realised that the service had been a bit shoddy and redeemed a third star in the review with some complimentary drinks at the end of the meal by way of an apology. But we'd be looking for much higher quality food before rating the restaurant any higher.

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Thank Monkey-and-Sprite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2014

We were wandering the streets of Wellington looking for somewhere to eat and nothing seemed to be just right until we found Duke Carvell's just off Cuba st. The guy at the door was enthusiastic about everything being house made and fresh and the menu looked interesting and innovative.

But unfortunately that's where it stopped. I am not sure if the normal chef was having a night off or what but it was a nice idea but VERY poorly executed. The bread may have been house made but it was so badly burnt that we had to scrape the burnt bits and cut off the crust, The Gnocchi with sage and burnt butter again was so badly burnt that you couldn't taste anything other than the bitter burnt bits - although if you scraped it off, the gnocchi itself was very good - light and fluffy and not at all stodgy. The pickled red cabbage gratin actually had a secret ingedient not listed on the menu and that was apple - which did not work and totally overpowered the whole dish. It made something that should have been savoury - sweet and not at all pleasant to eat. Not to mention that the red cabbage (which didn't appear to be "pickled" at all but there wasn't enough of it to tell) was very scarce and definitely not the primary ingredient.

We only ordered 3 small dishes and thought that we would order more if we were still hungry (we were but didn't!).

The so-called Feijoa smoothie was just bottled fruit juice and the cocktail we ordered was 99% ice and almost no drink.

We were only visitors to Wellington but certainly would never go back there. In their defence the staff were enthusiastic and pleasant and the food arrived promptly.

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Thank rockangel007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2014

Eaten here on a number of occasions, the foods and service is always outstanding. definitely recommend the lamb shank-it is exceptional! the service was fantastic, and the vibe made us all feel so at home and relaxed!!

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Thank brent G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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