Taste of Auckland always means good eating and after my initial squiz (quick look) at the menu, I stuck to my guns. I have remarkable discipline.
Here’s a run down of the dishes we ate and a whole lot of food porn…
Depot’s Raw Bar
Depot’s Raw Bar was a cool set up. The menu was Oysters, Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters and Tuatuas (clams). When we arrived, the chefs were standing around, proud as punch and with nothing to do. All the hard work already done. Smart move!
Just a squirt of the vinaigrette and the dish is served.
I was in the company of The Bivalve Haters Club* so got all 4 clams to myself. Note to self, get clams, oysters or mussels if you don’t want to share. The clams were lovely and fresh, I’d never had them like this, much firmer than scallops and oysters with a springiness to them. In Cantonese we have a word for a springy/crisp bite: “song”. The clams were “song”.
I got the Beef Shortrib with Crayfish and I was not surprised I enjoyed this surf n turf. The shortrib was reminiscent of corned beef, the poached crayfish sweet and delicate.
My portion of cray was a bit mean but my friend’s portion was generous so you might get lucky (or you might not). My friend expected to be wowed but didn’t feel the dish was anything special. I do suppose if we wanted corned beef, we could get a kilo for this price, though it was nice to have a bit of crayfish.
The ladies manning this counter were cheerful and friendly and they convinced my friends to try dishes they might not ordinarily try. Good job ladies!
At Lava Dining, I got the Confit Duck Leg, Dehydrated Eggplant Charcoal, Brie Custard, Iberico Ham, Pickled Grapes. I’m a new eggplant convert and when I fell from hate to love, I fell hard.
The thin charcoal wafers were cool. The charcoal was made from dehydrated eggplant. They tasted sweet and smokey. A culinary novelty. The duck was tender and lovely and the Iberico ham a tasty compliment.
The staff managing the Lava Dining counter were friendly and knowledgeable, answering questions and offering extra foodie tidbits.
One of the limited “icon dishes” was Harbourside’s Smoked Eel & Pork Belly, Brioche Toast, Avocado, Quails Egg, Semi-dried Tomatoes. By limited edition, I mean they made 20 and sold them on a first in, first served basis. I nabbed one.
Surprisingly, this dish included two rows of foie gras. Yes, that’s foie gras as in the controversial un-PC goose liver. That’s kind of an ingredient you tell people about before they order. At 20 crowns, this dish was expensive but there was plenty of foie gras.
The order of ingredients went: foie gras, smoked eel, pork belly, granny smith apple, more pork belly, more smoked eel, more foie gras, topped with avocado mousse, quail egg, semi-dried tomatoes and all on top of brioche toast. Yes, there was a lot going on. Kinda perfect for those with greedy inclinations.
Another one on my list was the Lemon Curd Cheesecake Mousse, Digestive Crumb, Burnt Orange Sorbet. Actually, my friend got this but I got a taste. It was delicious and the burnt orange sorbet was punchy. The Lemon Curd had been replaced with Mandarin which was just as lovely. I would go back for the burnt orange sorbet.
Some other dishes my friends got…
Our favourite dishes were:
- Lava Dining’s Duck Confit.
- Farina’s Pork Saltimbocca Bun
- Farina’s Pasta with Duck, Mushroom and Truffle
Of course, this is by no means the official favourites, just the favourites of us ladies. I’d love to hear what your favourites are and what the crowd favourites are.
*OK, so not a real club.
Read more of my posts about Taste of Auckland here.