District Dining, opened by Kiwi restaurateurs Warren Turnbull and Mimi Gilmour, is located in the new hip place in town (Britomart) and is the sister restaurant to the popular Assiette in Sydney. The concept of District Dining is a laid-back but sophisticated bistro style eatery where the dishes display multiple international influences. The interior design of the restaurant is fantastic. The design is sleek and clean with ample spacing between tables allowing for comfortable seating as well as beautiful big white shutters that separate the busy traffic on Custom Street from the relaxing dining area.
My partner and I went to District Dining a few weeks ago for a lunch date and the restaurant was surprisingly quiet. I’ve been wanting to give this place a try since its opening but never had the chance and because they serve the same menu for lunch and dinner, we decided to visit for lunch. They serve a variety of food and some components are rather adventurous such as the ox tongue and wasabi panna cotta.
We order three dishes to share between the two of us and the portion size is smaller than desired. The chili caramel chicken wings were very tasty. The combination of the sweet and spicy flavours was delightful and for $12, the portion was good. The steak tartare served with french fries and sour dough was average. The sour dough was extremely tough to cut/chew and the tartare lacked something in terms of taste that I can not pinpoint. The smoked salmon was standard and not very memorable.
Overall, I’m slightly disappointed with District Dining. Maybe my expectation was too high because of the hype in newspapers and reviews. The taste on the dishes that we tried were decent but not spectacular. However, I love how they presented each dish and the use of wood blocks instead of plates is charming. I would definitely give this place a second chance as there are many dishes that I want to try such as the chicken liver, smoked fish pate and the peanut butter parfait. Hopefully my next meal at District Dining will be better.
Date: Saturday 17th December, 2011 | Location: 50 Custom Street East, Auckland CBD | Food: Bistro Dining