Published on February 7th, 2013 | by Ultimate OmNoms0
Every time we cross the bridge from the Shore, we're greeted by this first restaurant on “the other side”. If you've been following us on Twitter and Facebook, you'll notice that we've been obsessed with something recently. From waking up at 4am to run to Marsden Point, fishing up a monster octopus (we're on 4 now since Jan!), to the Auckland Seafood Festival – we just can't get enough of seafood!
Sails Restaurant really captures the essence of Auckland is – from the name, to the gorgeous panoramic view of the Auckland Harbour, and it wouldn't be complete without a nod of approval for the food.
I couldn't get enough of the cauliflower soup -this photo was taken before I sank my hungry fangs into it so the crumbed scallops was really teaser for everything ahead.
Salt and pepper squid, cucumber, coriander and mint, sweet chilli caramel, peanut nam jim
I really would've thought this dish as a shared platter rather than an elegant entree dish. Why? There was too much salt! I found myself downing glasses of water half way through the dish – which was a great pity, the coriander and mint worked really well with the calamari. Salt aside, this dish does represent Auckland quite well with the salted calamari, while dusted off with refreshing herbs.
Having seen “rare” on the menu, I was expecting thinly sliced pedantic pieces of venison carpaccio to come. Not to complain though, the two chunky venison pieces were more than enough for a normal entree. The cherries and cocoa gives the meat a dark touch and intensifies the flavour on the palate.
Entering Sails Restaurant, it makes sense to order something seafood oriented and I chided myself a little for giving into the temptation of a juicy steak. But when I saw that perfection on the plate, that feeling was all gone. And don't worry, that was not a blood bath on the plate. Even though we also ordered a side of beans, it wasn't n
ecessary at all. I'm not a complete meat monster so I thoroughly enjoyed the truffle onion flan which was the other highlight on the dish. There's nothing worse than dining out and thinking “I could have cooked this…better” and with this, there was no way I could have done it at home.
I was actually very happy with this dish, the only thing a bit off was that I saw a lot of prawn, but not much king crab. The terakihi wasn't too oily, skin was crisp – this chef clearly wasn't sloppy. Risotto wasn't undercooked, working well with the prawn and crab. Though my biggest impression off this dish was the scent of lemon – instead of smelling something greasy and heavy for a main, the lemon gave the whole dish a sense of refreshment – it really opened up the appetite for the dish itself.
Dark Chocolate – raspberry gel, honeycomb and toffee snow
Well somebody had to order the chocolate option on the dessert menu! I've recently been in love with Valrohna chocolate, having tasted a spectacular Violet and Valrohna creation from Nick Honeyman at The Commons. This is great for chocoholics like me but I found that it melted so quick in the summer heat that I was sent scooping the chocolate dish up way too quick. And it wasn't too long before it got too overwhelming and sweet. It would be a great delight if we were able to enjoy it slowly while watching the summer sun disappear on us.
Chilled Coconut Rice – mango sorbet, compressed pineapple, star anise & pepper
This is one of those dishes where you desperately want to see what it's like but no one has the guts in case it's something so out of the comfort zone. I've been inspired lately by the sudden interest in adding herbs to desserts. This is of no exception. Star anise is used widely in my kitchen for making one of my favourite comfort foods – beef noodles. Seeing it hand in hand with mango and pineapple is something out of the ordinary. This is a beautiful dessert – your tongue is slightly numbed by the mango sorbet but the fragrant rice gently nudges away. The addition of the coconut and star anise is the winning combo in the dish that gives it the stand out flavours.
Sails restaurant is a great overall restaurant. There's a couch area for drinks after dinner if you like, and the decor was posh enough to make it an occasion. The location is also secluded enough if a quiet evening is on your agenda. As a seafood restaurant, it didn't disappoint, almost all the dishes were close to perfection. We'll definitely be back for more.
Westhaven Marina, 79 Westhaven Dr, Westhaven, Auckland