Culinary Adventures, Eats, Events
Comments 24

Everything is too delicious – Taste 2012

It’s my birthday week and I’ll go to a bunch of awesome foodie events if I want to.

I love this shiz. Food, wine, good music and the best company. Yes please! My friends Coco and Livvy went with me to opening night tonight. Taste of Auckland started today at Victoria Park, Auckland City and boy what a treat. Coco is a seasoned Taste veteran like me and it was Livvy’s first time. We are all pretty adventurous eaters so it was fun to share our dishes. We arrived keen as beans, just after 5.30pm and stayed until the 9.30pm closing. I would recommend the full 4 hours to get a well paced walk through and a class or two of your choice. The weather was perfect with only a the tiniest hint of drizzle later in the evening. Not enough for us to head to shelter or pull out umbrellas.

From the 11 restaurants represented, we tried 9 dishes from 9 restaurants. Not bad, maybe with an extra person we could have made it to all 11 restaurants.

One of the first things we tasted was the sausage sizzle demonstration at the Fisher and Paykel kitchen. Just like at their Urbis steak station, you cook the meat yourself (to your liking) then pile on the sauces and garnish.

Fisher & Paykel Social Kitchen

We ended the night by trying our luck at a fun booze sniffing / booze identification game. Livvy sped through it like champ with 5 out of 5. I passed, but failed at sniffing out Bacardi. Turns out I don’t know what Bacardi smells like, incorrectly calling it rum or Appletons.

The Mix Cocktail Class

Passing the quiz gave us tickets to The Mix cocktail class which included a cocktail made for us of our choice and we also got to keep cocktail that we make in class. Livvy ended up on stage which was fun in itself and took home a sweet Bombay Sapphire prize pack. I would recommend the booze sniffing game and class if cocktails are your thing.

Now, onto the dishes!

Kermedec Fine
Fare Game wild deer, earth baked kowiniwini (a native potato), fern curd, blackberry and malt soil.

The wild deer from Kermedec Fine in the Viaduct was a fine plate of food. With native and earthy flavours like kowiniwini (a native potato) and fern curd (yup, actually blended up ferns), blackberry and malt soil, this was a creative and fun dish.Yes, soil is the new foam.

Slow roasted Savannah short rib with white anchovy, eggplant puree, new season peas, lemon and fior di latte (cow’s mozzarella).

The slow roasted short rib from Molten in Mt Eden was tasty and beautifully cooked, though I was expecting it to be a lot punchier with promise of white anchovy.

The Commons
Duck Penang: Duck leg, panang custard, coconut, micro herbs, peanut lychee.

The Duck Penang from The Commons in Takapuna was unexpected and quite incredible. Expecting a curry or something more rustic looking, this beautiful dish was nothing like that. The coconut crumbs melt on your tongue right on contact like sweet snow and the spices were lovely and warming rather than hot.

The Commons
Carrot Cake Snapper: Snapper, spiced beignets (deep fried doughnut), carrot puree, cream cheese, baby carrots, ginger and lemon olive oil.

The Carrot Cake Snapper from The Commons was the highlight of the evening. The carrot puree sounds like baby food but this was anything but. You know the pained face and sound girls make when they see a cute kitten doing something amazingly cute, well that face and sound was made when eating this dish. I don’t usually get snapper, but this was beautifully cooked and the spiced beignet (deep fried doughnut) was out of this world. I was reluctant to share the beignet but I truly wanted my friends to taste how amazing it was. That’s real friendship.

Roasted lamb rump, pea and mint panacotta, confit garlic, anchovy and baby cos.

The roasted lamb rump from Euro was fancy take on a traditional kiwi roast. The lamb was tender and scrummy and the bright green cube of pea and mint panacotta was a cool touch. The confit garlic and anchovy lended some punchy flavours.

Toto Restaurant
Salmone Bellavista: Marinated salmon, banana prawns, russian salad, lemon asparagus, crayfish sauce, salmon roe.

The Salmone Bellavista from Toto Restaurant. The crayfish sauce made the russian salad decadent, though Livvy wasn’t so keen on cold food. We did point out that a salad general means cold.

Tomatto and Mozzarella stuffed gnocchi with chorizo, sun dried tomato, feta, arbequina olives and parmesan.

Vivace’s Tomato & Mozzarella stuffed gnocchi was cheesy and delicious. Quite filling too.

Pecan Crème brûlée with Pedro xeminez (a Spanish white grape) and earl grey.

Clooney’s Pecan creme brulee with Pedro xeminz (a Spanish white grape) and earl grey was easily my favourite dessert. Every mouthful was a delight from the crunchy sugar top to the smooth and creamy brulee to those white shards that melted in your mouth like candy floss. If there hadn’t been so many eyes and cameras, I would have licked this plate clean.

The Commons
Violet and Valrohna (a French chocolate): Valrohna chocolate delice, almond sandcastle, violet ice-cream, violet meringue shard.

Dessert at The Commons was the Violet and Valrohna, a violet ice cream (yes, that’s flowers) with chocolate, almond and meringue that had cool contransting textures.

Hands down our favourite menu was from newcomer The Commons. We tried all 3 of their dishes and they were stunning.

Aucklanders, go to Taste. You won’t regret it. There are two sessions a day still to go on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I already made the decision to go just once this year, but saw friend who that had tickets for two nights. Swoon.


  1. Love it! This is my favorite way to eat, lots of small tastes. The Food Bloggers Conference was heaven! Great pics, thanks!

    Chef Perry

  2. It is rapidly becoming apparent to me that NZ is the foodie capital of the world. I hate that Sydney thinks that the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House will make up for its terrible food. Rant over.

    • We are spoilt. Every plate of food comes out photo-worthy. They take presentation very seriously at Taste. I guess it helps to keep in mind that many people will take photos of their food and if looks amazing, it will be posted somewhere out there. I can’t imagine putting out thousands of consistently beautiful little plates.

      • We have a show upcoming called Gourmet food and wine expo and it’s far from gourmet. Nothing like your show. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. How much does each dish cost? I have never been since I never worked out what you got for that $30 entrance fee and what you’d have to pay on top.

    • Hi Nom Nom Panda, the 3 dishes I got added up to $32 and I ended up spending $62 total plus $28 for an online ticket. It’s special occasion eating rather than just another meal. An enjoyable evening if you love food. Lots of things to see and eat.

  4. The creme brulee was divine! I loved the meringue shards, they instantly melted in the mouth,my cousin took one home for her husband they were so good. Vivace’s gnocchi & ragu were very good too, better than the other Clooney dishes we tried, but then we like stronger flavours than they offered I guess. Feel sad now that we didn’t try more dishes, should have read this post yesterday!

    • Mmmm…I agree about the creme brulee. I found the Clooney menu very tempting but since I always order pork or salmon, I banned myself from both pork and salmon for the day.

  5. concerningkiwi says

    Oooo. I love your descriptions of the dishes and I’m very jealous you got to try so many. Thank you for checking out my post and I’ll be back to see what other culinary adventures you’ve been up to.

I love your comments! Your comments are like extra melted cheese on top.

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