ADDRESS:   776 Rapaura Rd, Rapaura, Marlborough
MAINS:   $39 – $50
CONTACT:   03 570 5700
SCORE:   16 / 20

The masterful strawberry soufflé rises to the occasion here; it announces itself by standing twice the height of the ramekin, topped with shortbread crumb and cushioning a tidy ball of ice cream. Chef Toby Stuart creates sensational flavour at this grand old dame, where unclothed tables and striking decor make the occasion. The merits of the Mibrasa charcoal oven are reflected in the blackened Middlehurst Station lamb ribs, turning the meat into a tasty, well-seasoned and tender starter. A judicious cooking of the fish dish – linecaught grouper with eggplant caviar – sees the delivery of a sound and pleasant main. An interesting wine list is bolstered by good beers, homemade sodas, a clutch of cocktails and good spirits.

IN BRIEF Well-executed, provenanced dishes