Saturday, 30 May 2009

Clooney: My new favourite restaurant

This evening we went to Clooney in Freemans Bay, Auckland for the first time. I had heard great things about this restaurant so went in with high expectations and was not disappointed. I would even go far to say it is one of the best (if not the best) meals I have ever had.

Situated in a bizarre location with a non-assuming entrance, the internal decor is equally “different” (but in a good way) with curtains of floor-to-ceiling tassels segmenting the restaurant, individual spotlights for each table and beautiful hand-blown light globes.

The wait staff were very knowledgeable about the menu, efficient and professional, yet with a nice relaxed nature.

The restaurant was very busy this evening, yet we were attentively waited on as if the restaurant was empty. It did get a little noisy at times but this just added to a nice relaxed upbeat ambience.

We started with Ciabatta that came with three different spreads; an olive oil, a herb mascorpone and a parmesan butter. They were all good, but I particularly enjoyed the herb butter.

I then followed this with a superb Kawau Blue Soufflé that just melted in my mouth whilst Jane had the Scallops. Whilst Jane enjoyed her entree, she felt the Scallops weren’t anything special.

I had the Venison for my main course whilst Jane had the Pork. The Venison was lovely and tender and the tastes of red wine, chocolate and cherries worked well. Jane found her Pork to be nice and tender although didn’t think it was rave-worthy; the creamed Celeriac was in fact her favourite part.

We accompanied our mains with a Radicchio and Wild Arugula salad which had lovely samplings of Roquefort dispersed within, and marinated Portabello mushrooms. Both of these were good.

I finished with a Creme Caramel that was excellent and had a great consistency and Jane had a couple of lovely French cheeses.

For drinks this evening we went with the advice of our waiter. I had a TerraVin Omaka Valley Pinot Noir 2004 from Marlborough and Jane had a Onyx Merlot Cabernet. Both of these were excellent matches for our main courses.

Whilst not a cheap night out (~$270 for 2 people tonight) it was an excellent experience and I will happily return.