Saturday, October 8, 2011

Number 5 is alive!! - Restaurant Review

Number 5
5 City Rd (behind the Langham)
Auckland City

Ph: 09 309 9273


I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling frustrated by the sudden influx of group buying sites infiltrating the market.  Frustrating they are because they promise to deliver you something cheap.  The bargain hunter in me cannot ignore the potential opportunity to pick up a bargain.

Signed up to nigh on nine million emails a day it seems I am forever deleting promises of amazing deals, days after they've even expired.

However, every now and then a golden nugget comes along.  A reputable business with a name you can trust offering a true deal which cannot be missed.  Such it was with Number 5 restaurant in City Rd.  The deal was 2 for 1 on the $99, five course, degustation menu.

Number 5 was appealing in two ways.  Firstly it has a reputation as being a provider of fine food in an elegant setting.  Secondly it's name is shared by my favorite of movie characters.  Yes I am a big kid at heart and any reference to the Short Circuit movies has me weak at the knees:

We excitedly booked ourselves in for a Tuesday night.  5 course Tuesday?  Yep.  A bit wild.  No Shortland St this evening!

We were welcomed into a quiet dining room by the lovely waiting staff.  It's a really inviting space to dine.  Intimately sized but not too crowded.  An ornate fireplace and chandeliers combine with well chosen fabrics and colors to make the place feel fancy, but inviting.  There is a sense that they are trying to create a feel of opulence and it does seem a little like the type of place where you may have to question which fork to use.  However the friendly staff counter this with their warm persona.

We're quickly shown through the five course menu and my mouth is watering.  I feel like I'm going to have to make excuses when we pull out our 2 for 1 voucher because it truly is a bargain.


Matching wines are available for $55 extra per person and as the restaurant is quite noted for it's wine list it is definitely worth considering that extra embellishment.  However as we're both driving home we decide to go with just a couple of the recommendations.

As it's a school night we quickly tuck in and the first course arrives.  The flavors are adequate and I'm quickly asking for some bread to sop up the bisque.  The tempura batter is more like a beer batter although I think the dish is better for it.  It's matched wonderfully with the 36 bottles Central Otago Pinot Gris.  A quite strong drop that shows that NZ Pinot Gris does not have to always be the light bodied variety.

Following this is the venison loin tartare.  It's topped with a raw egg yolk.  A hen's yolk to be as precise as the menu.  Sometimes clarification can go overboard but I am thrilled they've chosen the hen's yolk as opposed to....?  It's perfectly seasoned with juniper salt and capers and served with crispy toast.  It's yum. Perfectly seasoned to highlight the beautifully tender venison.  It is fresh and invigorating.  Again it is wonderfully paired with a very fruity Pinot Noir.

Our third 'course' is a limoncello sorbet.  Not so much a course as a menu filler, however they could give me a tub of the stuff to take home if they like!  It possessed a beautiful balance of tart and sweet.

By this time the fact it was Tuesday was starting to hit home.  We're going to have a full belly after this lot!

Fourth course was one I was very much looking forward to.  Seared duck breast and confit leg served on a fricassee of broad beans and peas with potato fondant.  It screamed French Bistro and is the type of food I love to cook.  The duck was cooked well, with the confit leg shredded and incorporated into the fricassee.  As it happens the potato fondant was cut so small that its flavor got lost in the fricassee and it became merely a texture.  It was a well constructed dish however it needed maybe one extra flavor or one extra piece of wow to bring it up to fine dining standards.

Our we can't eat anymore but we will dish was the dessert.  Raspberry Chocolate Fondant served with Raspberry Ripple ice cream and a chocolate chip tuille.  It's one of those moments of undeniable dining room joy when you slice through a hot chocolate fondant to see a slowly exuding richness of goo flowing onto the plate.  And this dish didn't disappoint.  It became a pleasurable pain as we paused for minutes between each mouthful hoping our tummies would work overtime to make a little extra space for another go at the joyful offering.

The chef had managed to infuse the fondant with a fantastic raspberry flavour, yet the texture of the pudding was smooth and delectable.  Not wanting to miss a possible technique I find out from the staff that freeze dried raspberries are ground up into a powder and then incorporated into the fondant batter. 

I briefly encountered freeze dried fruits in the Masterchef kitchen.  You can purchase them from Sous Chef.  Quite pricey for the home kitchen but if you want to give a dinner party dish a real wow factor they're worth considering.

All in all Number 5 was a very pleasurable dining experience.  I really enjoyed the setting and the food.  Three dishes out of the five were standouts.  It seems like a dependable place.  Really good food and a fantastic wine list in a fine dining setting with warm and friendly waiting staff.  What more could you ask for?

Another 2 for 1 voucher perhaps?  Yes Please!

No comments:

Post a Comment