Eating Out – Capone’s
Since the earthquake Rangiora, north of Christchurch, has had a wave of ‘migrants’ into town to get out of the city in search of relaxation. Well personally I would have said in the past to carry on north if you were after something to eat, but after dining out at Capone’s on Thursday to celebrate a mate’s 60th, I can safely say that the city-folk now have a place as good as anything in town. Turning up on a cold night, the first thing you notice about Capone’s is that it doesn’t advertise itself into the street, looking more like a boutique shop rather than a restaurant until you notice the tables with the Italian-style tablecloths draped over them. And as you step inside, it seems as small on the inside as outside, but cosy.
We were seated as a group of eight towards the back near the bar (always useful) and as you chat and read through the menus, you can glance around at the large framed black and whites of Capone himself and his arch-rivals in 1930s Chicago – no, I didn’t see any panoramas of the Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Ordering drinks first, this is where I suddenly didn’t hold much hope for the place – I ordered a 500ml Emersons Pilsner and a tomato juice (a perennial fave). The juice turned up, unspiced! OK, I didn’t make it clear, but everywhere else asks if I would like it seasoned, not this place. And when I finished that one, I asked for another spiced, and this one came loaded to the brim with tabasco…only tabasco! I wasnt impressed to say the least. Also having to go and order Katie’s wine which they ‘missed’ in ordering – $9 for a Waipara Pinot Gris.
However, with the meals, there was no such repeat. me and Katie ordered the bread and seafood selection as starters – the bread was a foot long, in half with pesto, cheese, olives and other niceties, and it was divine! The seafood was served like a chowder with prawns, fish, scallops in a tomato base soup with vegetables, and despite tasting like the canned variety of Bolognese base, it was very nice. I felt that the price was a bit high for these – $11 for the bread, $16 for the seafood.
Katie ordered the fish of the day which was Gurnard which was served with a seafood cake and some veggies. She didn’t let me sample hers, but she loved it. I had the roast pork with mash (although I asked for the steak fries instead) and apple. I did let her sample mine, and I loved it, although I thought it was cooked a little too well done and pork becomes dry overcooked – the apples which were caramelised were a stunning complement as I don’t normally have apple, instead just a sprinkling of salt. Both dishes were in the $35 range, but unlike other restaurants, you got more than an ample serving – in fact no one at the table complained they hadn’t had enough and there was plenty of belt loosening!
All in all I thought the place was very good, as good as many I have eaten at recently if a little expensive ($125 for me and Katie). The service was good, if not startling, and it was nice being able to pay our bills separately instead of a table bill. I would have thought being based on an Italian/Mafia theme, it would have more Italian dishes, but only the vegetarian pasta was on offer. Definitely worth a visit if out and about.
Setting: 3.5 out of 5
Staff: 2.5 out of 5
Food: 4 out of 5
Value: 4 out of 5
Overall Score: 3.5 out of 5
257 High St, Rangiora, 03 313 9161