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Old 04-12-2009, 10:16 PM
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Default Kermadec

It’s a bizzare feeling coming away from a restaurant and thinking of it as simultaneously the most expensive and best value dining experience on offer, but that is exactly what I felt like after walking out of Kermadec. Expensive in that it has prices that parallel or even slightly exceed that found in other high end Auckland eateries ($42 mains) but great value when it comes to the dessert tasting menu. The menu is the work of pastry chef Brian Campbell’s team in the recently revamped kitchen, their hard work and creativity can be sampled over 5 courses for $55.

We started out the night with some starters so as to not completely overlook the savoury Kermadec experience, the tuna was beautifully seasoned and presented, the caramelised olive superb and the compressed apples along with the lime adding a delicate acidity to the dish. While I would have appreciated more for my $23 it was the best Tuna dish I have ever had. My wife chose the Faux Foie Gras at my insistence (she was happy to wait and tackle the desserts) and enjoyed it despite not being a huge fan of Pate. I tried it (read, stole half of the portion) as any good husband does, and was impressed at the likeness to real Foie, the banana and salted caramel brittle added nicely to the dish without over powering the star of the show. Enjoyable, but I wouldn’t order it if I had to choose between it and the Tuna.

Then came the desserts, one after the other, lovingly crafted and each one presented with extreme care and precision.  The exploding strawberry, memorable for it’s novelty factor, the taste was fresh and echoed the season that was approaching and the new availability of berries. As with all of the desserts there were multiple components, each adding textures and flavours to the whole dish.

Not to bore you by explaining every dish here are some highlights. The Crémeux in the final dish was sinfully rich and silky smooth, the oak chips added a wonderful setting with the scent carrying very well to enhance the taste of the dish. White chocolate shells and raspberry, wonderful! Grapefruit and vanilla, great! The yogurt cake, light and became a sweet way of mopping up the remainder of the plate. There weren’t many things that don’t deserve mention in an extremely positive manner.

Only two or three components made me think they could be replaced by something else or left off with the result being a stronger dish. The sorrel ice cream was one of these, the savoury (almost meaty) milk component of the workshop dish was another. Neither of these tasted “bad” but I found myself analysing every component more and more as the night went on, something that Claire noticed and commented on that I was obviously enjoying myself a little too much. She also enjoyed the experience and stated that she found the food both delicious and incredibly fun.

A great view coupled with friendly and knowledgeable waiting staff only complemented the experience. At a price of $55 per person, the tasting menu is true value. Be prepared to make a meal of it, there are plenty of tasty options that you could use as a preamble, they are not needed to fill up your stomach, the desserts are more than capable of that.

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Old 10-12-2009, 07:20 AM
FaceAche FaceAche is offline
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I've been to Kermadec a few times in the past - great place.

We had bluff oysters there once, and they had these little ice cubes, not so much ice cubes, more like snow-cone style ice formed into cubes, and they'd like been injected with this minty type stuff; was one of the most incredible flavours i've ever tasted, still remember it like it was yesterday.
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