Let’s start this off with a post about one of Auckland’s Top 50 Restaurants. Next week I’ll be starting the adventure of the World’s Top 50. Before I left Auckland, New Zealand I wanted to visit Pasture one more time. I went there about six months ago and absolutely loved it, so it was on my list of things to do before I left.
We arrived at Pasture at 5.50pm for our 6pm reservation. The door was locked and after knocking we were told that they weren’t quite ready and to give them five minutes. Shortly after we were let in. We had booked our table for the Chefs Pass and I really like the way they’ve laid it out. All of the staff were incredibly welcoming and humble.
To begin I had a glass of bubbles while we perused the nine course degustation. We had the option of adding on ‘Ziggy Stardust’ which was an additional two courses, which we totally went with, as well as the alcoholic drinks pairing. Here’s the menu that we had.
Our first ‘snack’ was the squid and raspberry which I thoroughly enjoyed the raspberry had a surprising depth of flavor which a really liked.
Next up was the melon and ham; the melon was soaked in Buddha’s hand and vodka. I liked this dish however I’m also a super fan of melon and ham and personally didn’t think it needed the extra touches.
From there was had the wheat and rye sourdough, I’m a massive fan of Pasture’s sourdough, you can pick some up to takeaway during the week and I’ve been known to do this when having dinner parties. This was served hot in a bag with their fresh butter and 90 day aged butter. The aged butter was the standout and delicious.
Cucumber, fennel pollen, gazpacho was next and packed some real flavor. This was probably the favourite dish of the night.
The vine tomato, hung over the fire had that real smoky flavor and burst in your mouth.
We had the cos lettuce next and it was put together with such precision that my dining companion had to ask them how it was done. We really enjoyed this one with the burnt butter on top.
My second favourite dish of the night was the red perch, goats whey and green elderberry. I watched them plate this one and was excited when it came over to us. The sauce was incredible.
The sweet corn cooked in cherry leaves was nice, not outstanding.
New Zealand Wagyu, raw beef and karengo dashi was all right however something about the flavours wasn’t quite right. It almost felt like it was trying too hard.
I really enjoyed the piece of Rosanna, sake kasu and garum. The beef had certain sweetness and was cooked perfectly.
Our second ‘Ziggy Stardust’ addition was buttermilk, toasted kelp and saltwater gose. The buttermilk was yum however the toasted kelp and saltwater gose a little too sour and acidic for my palate.
I liked the fresh peach however again the flavours were just a little bit too much. It was a complex dish and I appreciate where they were trying to go with it.
When your menu’s main focus is on fermentation and acidity you need to remember to keep that balance. It was perfect for the first half; something went a little out for the second part of our experience. The drink pairings were great and really complemented the dishes.
Our least favourite and final dish of the night was probably the Woodfired Peach, as my dining companion said “the 15 year old scotch purified through bees wax they matched it with made me feel like I was eating a warm peach, marzipan flavoured candle“. He also compared our overall experience to a sporting match where your favourite team drops the ball during the second half.
Overall I agree with the sporting analogy. It felt like they got busy later in the night and started to forget where they were at in the game. There was also a little tension in the kitchen, which I understand can happen however it’s not super cool for diners to see. I want to see cohesion and the whole crew working together as a team.
Would I go back? Probably not tomorrow, I’d like to give them time to work out the kinks. I love what Pasture is doing as a concept and I’m sure with a little work they’ll go back to being their glorious selves.