Encore at Kermadec

As I was saying in my first post about Kermadec, we chose it for a special dinner based on reviews and menus we viewed online before flying over to Auckland. And seems like our instincts were correct, because 3 days later, we were brought back there for dinner by a group of Aucklanders. We didn’t mind at all since we enjoyed the food there so much, and, being a much larger group, we would be able to share and try heaps more dishes.

When soy and I looked at the menu, we realised that it had actually changed! Now, part of Kermadec’s mission is to cook only the freshest and in-season produce- they actually acknowledge all their suppliers at the end of the menu (including Dennis the fig man), which is fantastic. But to actually experience first hand chefs that truly embrace using only the freshest seasonal produce was really amazing.

We all shared a number of entrées, and this time I actually have the proper descriptions off the menu.

Grilled Marinated Squid. Walnut, chilli, mint, coriander with whipped tahini yoghurt. Pomegranate and lemon dressing

This squid was divine. Initially, we had no idea what it was when it was put down on the table (too many dishes arriving at once and too many conversations happening) because of the unusual presentation of one large chunk of squid. One might imagine that cooking it in such a manner might result in a tough, rubbery piece of squid, but it was buttery soft and melt-in-your-mouth. And went brilliantly with the tart tahini yoghurt, pomegranate and lemon.

Pan Fried Scallops. Cauliflower, golden raisin purée, morel mushroom and salt roasted shallots, hazelnut and roast chicken jus

I love scallops, especially the large juicy ones I grew up eating in Asia, not the small ones with huge orange roe we tend to get in Australia. These scallops were tender and juicy, exactly like what I had hoped.

Sub-Antartic NZ King Crab Salad. Lime, lemongrass, ginger and tiny herbs with a spicy sweet-sour vinaigrette

I really liked this crab salad too. The flavour I really picked up on was the lemongrass- it just gave the dish a refreshing flavour. Oh, and it was not spicy at all… more like zesty and refreshing. Then again, my threshold of spice and chilli is pretty high.

We also had a Jerusalem artichoke soup, which I’m not posting a photo of cos I actually didn’t get a chance to take a photo of it before we started eating, and more importantly, it really didn’t work for me. The soup was slightly creamy, and the braised lamb shanks in the soup just did not go for me. The meat pieces did not have much flavour- granted, most of it should have been in the soup, but the soup itself had a sort of oiliness that I did not like. Soy and I both thought it was just a weird combination that clashed rather than worked together.

Oven Roasted Hapuku. With fennel, Southern clams and prawns, fresh lemon, thyme and pan juices

Now THIS, was the dish of the night for me- no actually, it was the best dish that we had, I would say, considering both dinners we had there. Hapuku is a white, quite meaty fish with Maori origin, but that we can actually also get here in Australia. I am converted! The flesh of the hapuku doesn’t have much flavour on its own, which is why it’s perfect for roasting and crusting. This hapuku was oven roasted in a tagine, and together with the lemon and thyme, was DELICIOUS! Gosh, we were so glad we had leftover bread to mop up the juices… this is a dish that would make me go back to Kermadec, if only just to have it.

Grilled John Flynn Hereford Prime Beef Rib Eye 35 Day Aged. Whole roasted garlic, wild mushroom ragout, parsley butter and hand cut chips

After all the seafood we were having, I kind of also felt like a juicy steak. I was a bit unsure about ordering this rib eye at first, because I am not a fan of marbling in my steak. I know, that’s what makes the steak tender, flavoursome etc etc, but I really don’t like the gelatinous texture of fat. So I usually stick to eye fillet. But, this rib eye sounded so I good, I just had to give it a shot- and it was amazing, as you can see- wonderfully pink in the middle with crusty sides, and notice the bit of fat just off to one side? Perfect for me, cos I just cut it off and gave it to someone who liked that bit!

Someone at the table also had the Orzo Risotto. “Folded with house-smoked Chatham Island blue cod, slow poached hens egg and snipped chives”. I found it way too salty, and the rice itself had a bit too much bite for a risotto.

Chocovic Tarakan 75% Bitter Chocolate Tart. Wattle seed ice cream, poached Taylors gold pear and spiced coffee sauce

Classic Kermadec Crème Brûlée. With tamarillos, feijoa sorbet and popcorn caramel

And the famed crème brûlée and bitter chocolate tart for dessert! This time, with accompaniments that were more in line with autumn/winter. I’ve discovered a liking for feijoas! They taste sort of like a cross between a guava and a custard apple, if you can imagine it!

We were so extremely full after this dinner, as you can imagine, but it was so good! I’d recommend Kermadec to anyone travelling to Auckland- just stick to the seafood cos well, the seafood is really the highlight, being in Auckland- it was so much fresher than we have had anywhere else.

Kermadec

Viaduct Harbour Level 1/204 Cnr Quay Street And Lower Hobson Street
Auckland City 1010, New Zealand
(09) 304 0454
www.kermadec.co.nz

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