Friday 28 May 2010

Delicious, Grey Lynn, Auckland

At the recommendation of one of my colleagues we went to Delicious in Grey Lynn tonight for dinner.  This is a trattoria-style Italian eatery that has a great vibe, good service and excellent food.

They don’t take bookings, but upon arrival there was one table for two that was available.  The restaurant was busy throughout our meal and for those that came in when tables weren’t available they did not seem to have to wait for long.

We started with two pieces of Brushetta, one with vine ripened tomatoes and another with pesto, pine-nuts and artichoke.  Both were lovely, although we did feel that this was a bit overpriced.

I then followed this with an excellent Zucchini & Provolone Ravioli that had a lovely lemon and sage butter sauce.  Jane also had a lovely dish, the Gnocchi with Porcini mushrooms, tomato, parsley & parmesan.

For dessert I had the Tiramisu and this was deliciously light and flavoursome.

We will happily return.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Domaine Chateau de la Selve Saint Regis Viognier 2006, France

Straw yellow in colour, this Viognier has a very light apricot and white peach nose that has a soft sweetness.

To taste there is a crisp acidity to complement a light apricot and white peach flavour that maintains a medium-long length.  I expect that if the wine was too chilled that it would lack quite a bit of its delicate flavours.  With a light chill however, the crisp acidity was almost non-existent (or maybe it was just that I was onto my 2nd glass by then!).

The flavour has a sense of intrigue about it and I think I like it, although I’m completely sure.  Then again, I think I have been known to say that a bit about Viognier.

Drinking well now although it has enough structure to last a while yet.

Saturday 22 May 2010

Pure, Herne Bay

Last night we dined at Pure in Herne Bay for the first time.

This is not a large restaurant and for a Friday evening they were reasonably quiet (although admittedly the weather was awful).

I had a lovely “Beef fillet and braised cheeks with potato mash and confit vegetables”, and Jane had “Home-made potato gnocchi with roasted beetroot, peas and goats cheese” that she thoroughly enjoyed.

I accompanied my main with the recommended wine for the dish, a Shiraz that was excellent.

We had excellent service, the food was nicely presented, the restaurant had a lovely atmosphere, the food was reasonably priced and we would happily return.

Monday 17 May 2010

Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese Company’s Marin Blue is Nom nom nom

In the weekend we popped up to the Matakana Farmers Market and Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese Company had a stall there.

We tasted their selection of cheeses and ended up purchasing the Marin Blue and the Fresca.  They also had a beautiful brie with the aged one beginning to get engulfed by ammonia.

The Fresca is a bit like a soft cottage cheese with a hint of lemon, however the blue was my highlight and I had a decent taste of it again this evening.  It is nice and creamy, not too strong on the blue and has lots of complexity.  It reminds me of a sheep cheese we purchased in the south of France at Carcassonne that was not blue at all, but the layered flavours of this bring back vivid memories.

Next time we’re at the market I will be buying more.

Sunday 16 May 2010

Ransom Mahurangi Cabernet, Franc, Malbec, Merlot 2004

Deep red in colour, I found this had a magnificent nose with aromas of light leather and red berry.  Jane, on the other hand, picked up creamed sweet corn and red currant jelly!  I could have smelt this all day.

With a touch of acid I found the leather and berry flavours noticeable to taste with a hint of tobacco in this medium bodied wine.

I found this wine was okay, but nothing great.

Sunday 9 May 2010

Sals Authentic New York Pizza

We did a quick Google search for 'best pizza auckland' today to find somewhere for a late and leisurely lunch. We had 3 results, the first 2 of which weren't open until 5pm on a Sunday. Sals Authentic New York Pizza however opened at 2pm, which gave us time to get into town, find a carpark and be there just on opening.

Let me just say for a start, we were both really surprised to have never heard of Sals before - they're on Twitter, they have a fairly active Facebook presence, and from all accounts, they seem to be a bit of 'go to' spot - reminded me a little of Giapo's culture (although no-one does 'creating a place' as well as Giapo!). I'd love to see Sals and Giapo next door to each other, it would be quite something!

Anyways, for a first visit we decided to order a full size pizza rather than choose slices to have reheated from the cabinet. Little did we realise just how enormous an 18" pizza is! (We brought slices home). We chose a half-and-half - pepperoni for one half, meatball for the other. It took about 15 minutes and was served on top of a stand (like a cake stand, but for pizza) - Simon has seen this before in the US, but it was a new experience for me. They had jars of parmesan, herb & chilli flakes available to help yourself to as well. The pizza was great. Simple, tasty, and did I mention enormous? The experience was a hit for both of us as well - the place was already full bar one booth when we arrived (2 minutes after opening time) and there was a constant stream of customers the whole time we were there, plus we saw one delivery go out as well.

I love the passion that Sals is clearly executed with - they import their mozarrella and tomato, they have a secret recipe pizza dough, minimal pizza flavour choices and just one size pizza (which of course you can also buy by the slice). Plus they do 2 specialty products - garlic knots (which we bought and enjoyed) and pepperoni wheels. And they deliver on Segways. Love it!

We will definitely return - although to be fair, we don't often have pizza, but next time we have a hankering for it, Sals will be high on the list of options. We will absolutely be recommending them to others. And I've already 'liked' their Facebook page. Give them a go, I'm confident you too will plan to return!

Want excellent Fusion cuisine in Auckland CBD? Rice Restaurant is worth a go.

We had only been to Rice in Auckland CBD once before and that was a few years ago, we enjoyed it then, and we weren’t disappointed when we returned again last night.

The decor is simple but elegant, and there is a nice classy ambience that is matched by the use of lovely crockery and glasses.

For an entree I had the tasting platter so got to sample a number of the entree dishes.  The salt & pepper squid was lovely and soft, the beef tataki had a lovely bbq flavour and was my highlight.  The rest of the plater was ok although nothing worthy of writing about (so I won’t).

Jane had an excellent salad that comprised of duck, watermelon, scallops, greenery and shoots that she thoroughly enjoyed.  She accompanied this with a Te Mata Zara Viognier (at the recommendation of the waiter) that worked magnificently.

For our mains I had Snapper that then had Tom Yum poured over it that was lovely, and Jane had Chilli-crusted Tuna that tasted great although the Chilli was definitely of a very mild variety.  We accompanied the mains with some beautiful beans (in a tasty sauce that currently escapes me in terms of what was in it) and edamame.  I had a Yalumba Shiraz Viognier with my meal that was nice and Jane had a Central Otago Nevis Bluff Pinot Gris that had nectarine and grapefruit characteristics and went well.

For dessert I had the chocolate platter with sweet corn ice-cream that was nice but not wow-worthy, and Jane had the donuts that were accompanied with a Passionfruit curd and a Salted Peanut ice-cream that she enjoyed.  Jane also had a Yalumba Dessert wine that was lovely and was an excellent companion.

We had excellent service, that we felt was a little over the top at times, and all meals arrived in a timely manner.  Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the wines and for pairing with the food, and was good at keeping our water topped up.  We will happily return again.