I was stoked to be invited to a Zomato Foodie Meetup at One Tree Grill last week. As much as I love food and wine (like, HEAPS), I have never experienced a tasting menu with matched wines. I was in for a treat. I was annoyingly early for our 6.30pm start. When I arrived I was greeted by Charlotte who I know from what feels like another era. About 8 years back we lived and breathed a restaurant and bar in Parnell called Blowfish. It was a funny time. Charlotte took my coat and set me up with a delicious Xanadu Shiraz on a comfy couch. We chatted about old times and One Tree Grill. There were 8 of us and it was a pleasure to dine with other foodies and we had plenty to talk about food-wise and about our experience. Bloggers at the dinner were Cecilia from Ultimate Om Noms, Amy from My Dining Journey, Tiffany from Heartshrooms, Jen from Mango and Beans. The decor is inviting with dark wood furniture, white tablecloths, neutral colours, a large fish tank, fireplaces, comfy couches and ambient lighting. We’ve had a cold snap in Auckland but the dining room was warm. We had our own private dining area which was was nice and intimate. They have banquet seating too for those that would like privacy without being in a separate room. The dug out cellar with see-through ceiling (the bar floor) was a delight and said to me that they take their wine seriously. They have a great wine list with wines by the glass, bottle or half bottle. We enjoyed a 5 course tasting menu with matching wines. They were the best wine and food pairings I’ve had. Ever. The pairings all made so much sense. Some had similar characteristics to the dishes so were an extension of the flavours, while others were contrast matches to bring out the differences. I am not usually a white wine drinker, but all 3 whites we tried were delicious. I tried two completely different chardonnays and loved them both. Their menus are on iPad minis. They have descriptions, prices and dietary info on first view, you can also select each dish to view a photo and drink pairings with every item. iPads are their own light which solves the problem of ambient dining rooms and hard to read menus. A pleasure to use rather than a gimmick. This really appealed to the foodie/techies in us.
First course soup
Second course fish
Tea-dusted seared Tuna with umeboshi (pickled plum), miso and cucumber was served with a sweet Riesling. This was a contrast match. The tuna was an umami hit (savour) with miso and pickled plum sauce compared to the sweet wine. The chef, Eiji Ota is Japanese and this dish is beautifully inspired by Japanese cuisine.
Third course venison
Venison carpaccio with pecorino, capers, truffle oil and fuchsia flowers. This dish was a flavour hit. From the moment it reached the table, we could smell the aromas of the pecorino cheese and the truffle oil. The fresh flowers were interesting but not everyone wanted to eat fuschia, I found them mild with a little pepper bite. Matched with a Primitivo (Zinfandel).
Fourth course main
Choice of 4 mains (eye fillet, lamb rack, snapper or vege dish). I picked the Black Angus eye fillet which I requested to be served rare. This was served with sweetcorn, herbed mash and black garlic. The black garlic was intriguing, tangy sweet and umami with caramelisation, it reminded me of something I’d eaten in Asian/Chinese cuisine before. The meat was perfectly cooked, although maybe I could have ordered somewhere between rare and medium rare. So often I find medium rare is overdone to my taste so I ordered rare this time. With this chef’s skill, I could have ordered medium rare. The portion was huge considering this was the 4th course but I ate every morsel.
Fifth course dessert
Strawberry bavarois with meringue, mint gel, strawberry balsamic and pepper sorbet. Served with a late harvest chardonnay. The chardonnay smelled like honey and green tea and was very sweet. This wine was actually sweeter than the dessert.
My favourites were the tea-dusted tuna and the venison carpaccio, but all dishes were excellent. They were small(ish) but perfect, especially with the wines. The main of eye fillet was a bit too generous with not enough other parts to balance it, though I wouldn’t want to say that there was too much eye fillet on my plate.
The service was perfect and extremely knowledgeable. Dishes and restaurant tidbits were offered and all our questions were answered easily. Service was never intrusive, always double checking our dishes visually that each dish was perfect before serving and discreetly checking if everything was OK once served. We had one vegetarian with us and she was happy with the meat-free choices. They certainly sounded great to the rest of us too. While this isn’t the kind of place I would usually eat at (even though I would love to), this would be a great one to show off our local cuisines or for a intimate celebration or treat. I would highly recommend One Tree Grill. Amazing. This post is part of Our Growing Edge, a monthly blogging event to encourage bloggers to try new food related things. Nikki from Everyday Life Mother and Wife is the host for this month’s event. If you have a blog and you are eating or cooking something new this month, click below to join. More information here.
Disclaimer: I dined as a guest of One Tree Grill and Zomato.