Last Friday, my friend Miss A and I devoted ourselves to an indulgent evening of wining and dining. There was a wine tasting marathon, a 7 course seafood dinner, cocktails and the night ended at what is easily regarded as the best dessert restaurant in Auckland.
We began at 5pm sharp at Wine AKL, a celebration of New Zealand’s wine from 80 vineyards across 2 levels down at Shed 10, Queen’s Wharf a special for Restaurant Month. This was followed by a 7-course dinner of sustainable seafood at Scarecrow on High. There we met a couple of foodies from out of town so we (well, actually Miss A was the instigator) decided to accompany them to Milse for dessert.
Wine AKL started off with a performance by Java Dance Company and with a bang as Bob Campbell (Master of Wine) and wine maker Daniel Le Brun
dangerously ceremoniously opened a couple of bottles of the new No. 1 Assemblé (pronounced: a-SOM-blay) which we got to sample. This was absolutely delicious.
We headed upstairs area which was dedicated to South Island vineyards. I tried Huia Pinot Noir 2012 and Huia Brut 2009. We had a chat to Pegasus Bay and admired their lovely photography and Pinot Noir. Next we tried an award winning Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay from Domain Road Vineyard. We chatted to owners Graeme and Gillian Crosbie about their vineyard, submitting to wine awards, organic farming and their adorable Jack Russell and Spoodle cross Lucy. The chance to talk to winemakers about their wines is such a treat.
I was initially worried that 2 hours at Wine AKL wouldn’t be enough time. While we could have stayed longer, sampling more wines and chatting to more vineyards, we certainly enough to get through our 10 complimentary tokens (and then some).
The event was catered for by Euro who had a great looking menu but we skipped that as we were heading off to…
Scarecrow’s 7 course sustainable seafood dinner
We raced off to High Street where a chef Ben Barton and his team were serving our dinner as a special event just for Restaurant Month. The space use to be Wagamamas and there is a communal vibe going with large tables of strangers to chat to. We were particularly chatty too 🙂
To begin, we had sourdough with miso butter. Yum. I must try and make miso butter at home.
Highlights of the 7 course dinner were:
Pickled Pilchard on toast. Known more commonly as sardines, this was robustly flavoursome. Apparently
sardines pilchards don’t keep very well, which is why this fresh dish was quite unusual.
Trevally crudo was beautifully presented, both delicate and ethereal. Trevally is one of those fish that will become more popular, especially eaten raw. It is affordable and versatile and a few Auckland restaurants are already using Trevally for ceviche.
The grilled octopus was the dish I was most looking forward to. Cooking a fresh octopus is on my bucket list though I was hesitant to cook it without knowing what the texture should be like. I was pleasantly surprised. The texture was very tender. I could have eaten another 7 tentacles. Easily.
Clam risotto with saffron, mascarpone and chives was delicious. The clams were sweet and the rice had a little bite to it. Even my mollusc-disliking friend enjoyed it.
The crispy skinned Porae fillet served with a lemon wedge was similar to snapper in flavour and texture and the perfect way to end the meal.
Being a bit let down by the dessert, we turned to our new dining companions and it was decided that we would go for cocktails or dessert. We marched off with purpose but when we got to Milse (pronounced: mil-SAY) there was a wait list. No worries we had already talked up Tyler St Garage for espresso martinis so we headed up to the rooftop area and wolfed down some espresso martinis. Not before being summoned by Milse.
Just a note, I have eaten takeaway desserts from Milse, but always avoided the queue so never tried the a la carte menu. Milse only seat 14 diners at a time and do not take bookings. This was such a treat!
Once we arrived at Milse, they were surprisingly empty. The staff were fantastic and talked us through every step of the way. We ordered 4 of the 6 items on the a la carte menu: Jivara 40%, Rhubarb, Carrot and Kalingo 65%. They were all good but I think I liked my Rhubarb a little more as I love tart and caramel flavours. Each of the desserts featured 9 distinct flavours and it was impressive to listen to our server recite each of the 36 flavours at our table…though I didn’t personally memorise any of them.
We left feeling happy, a little spoilt and with full bellies.
This post is part of Our Growing Edge, a monthly blogging event to encourage bloggers to try new food related things.
Caroline from Shrinking Single is the host for this month’s event and the theme is TREAT YOURSELF.
If you have a blog and you are eating or cooking something new this month, click below to join. More information here.