This is a short summary of our great dining experiences in Auckland a fortnight back (I’ve already posted a review of brunch spots we’d tried).
We decided on Mudbrick for our lunch on Waiheke Island and it was a fantastic decision! We hired a car which we picked up from the ferry terminal so that we could drive around the island as we wanted. The winery is in a gorgeous spot with lovely views and grounds. It is definitely worth allowing time to walk up the hill at the back of the property and to have a look in their glass house where they grow their micro herbs. We had booked a leisurely late lunch and took our time over the 3 courses. Service was excellent. We started with island oysters and then went a la carte. My favourite course was my entrée, Atlantic King Scallops & Kataifi Prawns. I had the fish special for main, which was delicious and fresh and very summery (gazpacho, beans etc). Dessert was a deconstructed rhubarb tart. The view from the restaurant was lovely too. After lunch we had time to continue our wine tasting in the next building.
Our favourite dinner was Clooney. This place is so classy. Service was attentive but not too formal. Food was outstanding. Again, we went a la carte. The stand out dish was the duck with black pudding and cherries soaked in pinot noir. My partner had sugar cured ostrich for entre which was divine. We shared the dessert that incorporated mandarin, pumpkin, sweet spice & brown butter. I have to admit the combination didn’t appeal to me at all but it was delicious and I could have gone another serving! The wine list was interesting, with ample wines by the glass.
Before dinner at Clooney we walked to the Victoria Market precinct for a drink at Tom Tom, a bar on the 2nd level of the complex with great views back on to the tower (which was lit up rather well). It was definitely a great spot for a pre-dinner drink (good wine list too).
A more casual option we tried was Everybody’s Izakaya. This is next to Roxy (in the same complex) and has a super cool fit out. Service and food was casual but fun. There is a large list of sake. We shared a number of dishes, most were great. We didn’t have a booking and turned up around 9pm on a Thursday evening to find that they were taking last orders (despite them being open “until late”). The bar next door (in Roxy) was nice for a post dinner drink.
Dinner on the last night was in The Sugar Club (at the top of sky tower). We had booked dinner for 8pm which meant that we missed sunset (apparently fantastic) but we did have a quick drink in their bar, which has a good view of the main dock area of Auckland, before being seated at our table. Service was friendly enough but a bit mixed and not up to the standard we were expecting, with not enough assistance with the menu offered, despite our questions. Food was good, as was the wine list. We had previously eaten at Dine, before its closure, and were expecting a restaurant with service at about the same level.
I would have liked to have gone back for brunch (only on weekends). If you don't want to spend the money on dinner here, but still want to take the time to enjoy the view, perhaps try the bar or brunch.