Published on November 16th, 2011 | by ultimateomnoms


The Long Awaited Taste of New Zealand

As you all know, we had the privilege to go to the Taste of New Zealand 2011. It was such a beautiful day- a hint of the summer days to come. We sure are glad to have missed the rainy Opening Night the day before!

While some people were dressed like they came straight from work, others also went to the effort of getting dressed up for this showcase of Auckland’s best restaurants, wine and food. Don’t know how they felt about having to dig their heels into the muddy grass though!

We were surprised to see Giapo there with the mystery Giapo trolley that was posted online just earlier. Turns out they were making flavours from Kim Crawford wines… some nice samples for starters.

Antipasto with Kim Crawford Pinot Gris & Poached pear in  Kim Crawford Pinot Noir

With so many stalls to visit, which was the first one we walked into? Rick Stein’s Malaysia kitchen: a nice lady teaching everyone how to make mi goreng. We sat there for a while, looking at the menu, seeing what restaurants there were and which famous chefs would be appearing for the evening.

Walking around, lots of wine, lots of food, but lots of chefs too! Every chef had something to show, a dish up their sleeve to impress everyone! Even bakers decided to compete with some of their nice treats.

Omnomnom… Whoopie Pies from, I hope these become the replacements for donuts! They look so perfect!

Here’s our first destination! Cru on Sale Street. Apparently they’re the first restaurant in NZ to offer a degustation only menu! Imagine that… no option to choose from, the chef pretty much chooses for you – I’d definitely trust the chef here though! =D

Cured Big Eye Tuna – Verbena Jelly, Avocado, Lemon Oil Dust, Japanese Style Tomatoes – Cru

Apparently the chef got up at 4am to pick the freshest tuna for that night. What an effort!

In return, we had really fresh tuna – it was a very refreshing taste with the lemon and jelly, too bad the avocado was a bit weak – the lemon and tomato over powered the avocado slightly.

Popcorn pork – Canadian scallop, tete de porc, corn puree, and freeze dried corn – Cru

 A simple dish with repetitive ingredients. I don’t know why, but somehow pork and scallops quite commonly go with each other. The texture of the pork and scallop are quite different, add in corn and that’s even more diverse! One was soft while the other hard. Accompanied with some puree and salad, perfecto!

Tiger prawn and courgette filo tempura, tartare and Worcestershire sauce, Tonburi and Wasabi Tobiko field and sea caviar – Cocoro

Our third course! Tempura wrapped around tiger prawns. The most interesting texture ever, add a bit of the worcestershire sauce, wasabi, and caviar to give it more flavour. Honestly, never had anything like it before. At first I was expecting something juicy under that layer of tempura, but no. Surprisingly the tempura was good enough to be under the limelight with the prawn!

Southern Glory oysters, yuzu ponzu vinegar, kabosu citrus foam, karengo seaweed dust – Cocoro

Look familiar? Ha, no it’s not from Merediths! And that foam isn’t seawater. The oyster was juicccyyyy and fresh, the sourness from the citrus and vinegar pretty much hammered the point that it was a Japanese dish!

Sean Connolly from The Grill

Charcoal grilled sumiyaki grain fed Angus beef eye fillet, garlic teriyaki sauce, carrot and Gobo burdock puree – Cocoro

Our last course. Finishing off with my favourite meat! I’m actually so used to cutting my own steak I was a bit confused when they handed the dish to me. Clearly this dish wasn’t one that was going for the looks. The beef was mid rare but nice and hot. I’d generally have  teriyaki sauce with chicken, but this works too! Still don’t think this was the signature dish of Cocoro though, the prawns seemed better!

Sachie from Sachie’s Kitchen demoing her amazing salmon dish.

Dinner was pretty much a degustation menu combined from different restaurants – The best ones around New Zealand – On top of that, lots of wine and tastings! Definitely worth a visit next year! If you have a passion for not only food, but also cooking – then this is the place to be =)



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