Kermadec Restaurant Review· Restaurant Reviews
Jun 18th, 2012 | By Jayson Bryant | Category: Restaurant Reviews
Kermadec Restaurant Review
It has been a while since I last ventured down to the viaduct to fine dine. It has been far too long, to be exact. I last visited Kermadec restaurant some 5 years ago. Well it’s that time of year when the tourists have gone home and too early in the week and night to witness the RTD crowd. So tonight is perfect. The weather is fine, no wind and the lights glisten off the harbour.
The Viaduct Harbour has seen its fair share of changes, it almost looks tired. Difficult to compete against neighbouring Wynyard Quarter and Britomart. Challenges lay ahead for the area. If it were not for the Summer and mainstayers Kermadec and Soul Bar, this place would have been dead a long time ago.
Devoid of Bankers and empty suits, they’ve all gone to Britomart and Fort Lane,
Tourists are what keep the viaduct alive. The revelers that compete on states of intoxication are intoxicating. Drunken egocentric pre-loaded beer drinking revelers. It’s hard to compete against that. Compete is what Kermadec does though. Coupled with Sould Bar, Kermadec raises the bar. With its premium view, across the harbour to the bridge, and new rejigged menu, Kermadec comes alive.
Kermadec Ocean Fresh Restaurant, name needs changing to just Kermadec, simply smells of why you want to eat here rather than home. The kitchen aromas let you in for what treats are ahead. The service does also.
Kermadec is a grownups restaurant. The decor is very staid, the art is in the view and the food. There simply is no point competing with either. Kermadec ain’t cheap, nor is the view, and the ingredients they chose to use. Quality comes at a cost, but the cost is no greater than most fine dining restaurants in Auckland these days.
The menu reads like two halves. The first half is all about the sea, weighted heavily in favour of seafood, as the name of the restaurant would suggest. The second half of the menu takes you in land. Gone are the days when the whole menu kept you in saline. The new menu is a deliberate attempt to balance and please the seafood diners whilst attracting those of us that like to eat land based creatures.
The new menu is the creation of head chef Anton Leyland. With plenty of years experience as chef in various highly prized establishments such as Tetsuya in Sydney.
There are definite influences from his previous posts. The Asian influence is most notable, as is the use of pure ingredients. The subtle textures, colours and aromas make each dish a visual feast.
I liked the sound of the scallops, fresh from the Atlantic as they are larger and more sustainable than anything Pacific. When they arrive they look like they’ve seen more steroids than Lance Armstrong. They’re huge, but cooked perfectly with duck ham, crackling, eggplant, Smoked yoghurt, blackcurrant, foie gras, that all bases were covered.
All of the flavour profiles merged seemlessly. It’s hard to ever imagine cooking that at home. That’s exactly the reason why one would eat at Kermadec. There’s nothing on the menu that you would cook at home, and if you tried it wouldn’t taste nearly as nice.
Mains were an easier choice. I went for something from the land. Something so Kiwi. Something that intrigued me. Something that included the word dirt in its explanation of the dish. It was a must have. And so I did.
The Lamb, and Southland lamb at that, was accompanied with earth baked urenika. I had no idea what it was, so given my inquisitive nature I had to have it. It turns out they are Maori potatoes.
Once again everything on the plate complemented one another, like the dinner guests on arrival. The sorrel and cranberries added some flavour to an earthy delight.
Next up was dessert. Who could resist the Riesling foam, any wine lovers sense would be over loaded at this point. The foam accompanied the Coconut Velvet of biscuit au potiron, basil & coconut cream, Kaffir lime jelly, lime & ginger caviar, banana ice cream.
Riesling has a hold over many wine professionals, me excluded, so I had to try it out. The chocolate zig zag on the plate was slightly unnecessary but complimented. The dish just worked.
Actually all the dishes that I tasted that night worked. There wasn’t a highlight, the whole dining experience was like a highlight reel. I could’ve, and probably did, eat most of the menu. I left sated of good food and company.
After all the excellent service, surrounds, and most definitely food, I still came away feeling that it was a bit last year in style. But given the quality of all of these components to a great night out, it ranks as one of the better dining experiences I’ve had in Auckland.Kermadec Fine Restaurant 204 Quay St
(Level 1, Viaduct Quay Building)