First impressions count. The décor and surroundings are splendid and take full advantage of sweeping vistas across the Viaduct. The lighting is abundant from the large floor-to-ceiling windows, the seating is comfortable and the well-placed tables are something of a novelty giving a smart feel.
Wine List 7
Value for Money 8.5
And to the menu. Brent Martin, executive chef of international fame, shows his technical skills in starter dishes as fish ceviche ($18), served with coconut cream, tomato and lime, freshly shucked oysters ($23) with red wine mignonette and lemon. From the salad selection roasted beetroot ($19) with goat’s cheese, raw honeycomb and toasted pumpkin seeds, prawn caesar ($23) served garlic crostini and seared tuna nicoise ($23) with tomatoes, olives, potatoes and beans are theatrically presented with unstinting attention to detail.
The kitchen also works magic with a lesson in how to be big and bold with large highly worked plates as open steak sandwich ($24) served with roasted tomatoes, rocket and onion rings, salmon bruschetta ($22) with salted buffalo, curd, pickled onion, apple and frisee salad, kumara gnocchi and lamb ragout ($24), grilled ham and mozzarella ($19) with chunky fries and dijonnaise sauce, stir-fry noodles ($21) with fresh vegetables and tofu. And for those wanting to reel in something simple fish and chips ($23) with mushy peas and tartare sauce are a must do.
And don’t leave without trying desserts ($13). The expertly prepared sweet pleasures are notable for not only freshness but proof that good food never goes out of style. Included is ricotta cheese cake with whipped ganache and mango sorbet, raspberry and coconut chocolate bar with honeycomb ice cream and chocolate fudge with caramelised popcorn and passion fruit curd designed to appeal for those not watching their waistlines.
For such a first class act the wine list is limited but who’s complaining?
And the verdict? The message is subtle but consistent and as a consequence it’s popular as ever leaving the locals smiling. The menu is about how it manages to effortlessly engage all the senses. Confident and professional staff are efficient and knowledgeable. Bang for buck, it’s hard to beat.