Walking into the restaurant I was pleased with the outdoor setting and was enticed to see more, and well, after reading this over, i’m glad I went in.
I sat and received a menu and drinks menu. I’m easy, Espresso Martinis, Champagne and Chardonnay are my three drinks to live by.
I ordered the Serrano, oregano and parmesan bruschetta, alongside you guessed it, an Espresso Martini, followed by a serving of the Snapper fillet in broth with Asian infused vegetables. I left it at that, as I was already taken aback by how simple yet elegant the menu was, although if you can’t be bothered reading, I did in the end order a French Coffee. Paired with the Snapper I was informed that the Te Mata New Zealand Chardonnay would be the best option, and reasonably priced at that.
Soon after ordering, I was joined by my espresso martini, and according to the French waiter, it was the first he’d made. Impeccable was no other word for it, balanced, strong yet sugary and just how an Espresso Martini should be.
I was then given the complimentary “amuse bouche”, consisting of a skewered ball of pork belly, deep fried and soaked in an aioli of sorts with dill, known as a Croquette. I loved it, nothing else to it, simply brilliant and refreshing before taking on the dinner that was Touquet.
A short wait later, and to my surprise, a beautifully simple dish was presented to me in the form of a bruschetta. The Serrano was fresh, Parmesan light and took the dish to another level. Use of micro herbs and dill added colour and a balance of flavour without having to add conventional seasoning. Not much more on that behalf, oh also they had the typical balsamic overlay, adding yet another taste to the dish. Devine.
I then moved onto the next dish, the winner of all, the Snapper Fillet drowned in creamy broth with Asian infused vegetables. Of which the Te Mata chardonnay paired perfectly, adding the much needed citrus to an otherwise creamy dish. Lovely, but creamy.
Finishing off the evening not with a dessert but a take on French coffee, with whipped cream, Frangelico and a cute little biscuit. I recommend stirring and savouring each and every sip! Not much more to say in that regard, simply amazing.
Overall it brings back memories and a shiver through me, I have eaten at 2 & 3 hatted restaurants and while I have felt that same feeling they are rigid and pedantic. Here it’s homely while refreshing and up market. It reminds me of my venturing through Alsace finding small quaint cafes and restaurants to try proper French food before heading back on my trail through Germany.
Lovely to know that the waiter had never actually made an Espresso Martini, it gives my hope for my future in home cocktail making so I can get drunk and laugh at myself.
The only negative for me, and this is minute is it can be dark in parts of the restaurant, and there at times is somewhat slow service although only one waiter and two in the kitchen. Despite the slowness, when the service is provided it is top notch and topped off with a French accent and a pinstripe t-shirt!
I have always known that New Zealand, much alike Tasmania has fresh produce and can be transformed into a world of wonder after my experiences at Simon Gault’s most illustrious dining rooms, but this homely rustic feel along with the beautiful French finesse really shows the true colours of food these days. A perfect start to a new venture into food reviewing, and I certainly can’t wait for more.
And to end it all after paying the bill and arising from my seat, the beautiful little candle snuffed out, but perhaps that’s just me recognising that a great evening has started and ended right in this little corner of the CBD on a warm Auckland night. Oh and the couple sitting next to me continuously babbling in French and giving that feel of culture, I have a hunch they were paid to be there, although that’s for another day
Now onto my next mission of showing off my German speaking prowess by seeking out a hearty Deutsche Restaurant with starch and beer!