After a bit of a slow start (the restaurant was really busy when we visited and we were really hungry when we arrived after a long day of walking round Auckland's sights) the dishes started coming out faster and we relaxed and I stopped gnawing my arm off. We were initially greeted by out personal waitress and escorted like royalty to our table, which was ready for us even though we arrived early. We chose wine by the glass ($16 and $21) and waited for our wine order to be taken. That was a bit slow too but the waitress apologised and soon we were sipping on some rather fine reds. The amuse bouche was two wonderful meringue macaroons - one Bloody Mary inspired and the other beetroot and both with a delicate creamy centre. Then came freshly baked sour dough rolls. I loved them both. Course number 1 was my favourite and consisted of salmon in a chorizo broth with cucumber and wasabi cream - a hot and cold contrast, with salty and sweet and smooth and crunchy all working wonderfully together. The next eight courses on the degustation menus came out as works of food art on a plate, special crockery for each dish and suited to the food presented on it, duck, chicken, blue cod, pork belly and two others that evade my memory served with broths and crunchy garnishes of fried herb leaves, and creamy silky vegetable purees, and powders of olive oil (that's what the waitress said) and several things with a Japanese inspired ingredient. I was to so fussed on some of the flavours but my partner loved it all. Dessert was the last two courses, the first being a palate cleanser with a wonderful icy granita of grapefruit sprinkled over a sago pudding with mandarine and something else like biscuit crumbs which I couldn't identify and wished was not part of the dish. The second was a Vahlrona chocolate mousse (ore of a panda cotta texture) with a berry ice cream and rhubarb syrup to,add tang. It was really good. The service was impeccable and we were treated like special guests. Improbably would have enjoyed the meal more if we had eaten more before the two glasses of wine, but my partner really enjoyed everything and that was what counted as I was shouting him a special birthday treat and it cost an arm and five legs ($345 approx for two with five glasses of wine between us and a bottle of sparkling mineral water). We didn't stay to have coffee, but got that at our hotel later on. All in all it was a fabulous night out. Great food, atmosphere, and service.
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