Jack Tar

A great gastropub with excellent food as well as a reasonable price tag is quite hard to find. Especially if you want a place that has a cozy and comfortable environment, friendly staff and most importantly, a place that don’t have their stereo system on full blast. So when I found out that Jack Tar opened on Jellicoe Street before the Rugby World Cup 2011, I’ve was excited to give this place a try. However, this restaurant didn’t get off on the right foot during it’s first couple of months and this is confirmed from the amount of bad reviews that is available online from fellow foodies as well as a ‘need improvement’ rating in the New Zealand Herald. Anyway, let’s get on to the food.

Jack Tar is advertised as a gastropub which means it’s a pub that serves high quality food. The menu has a good variety with starters, dishes to share (i.e. ribs, chicken nibbles, calamari), pizzas, mains and desserts. My friends and I decided to share our starters but get our own main. We were all pretty hungry. We ordered the crusty loaf with homemade dips and half dozen of fresh oysters. The loaf lived up to its name and was indeed very crusty and we made quite a mess! It was served warm alongside slices of butter, garlic and beetroot hummus. It was very nice, slightly similar to the garlic loaf at Lone Star. The oysters were rather small and I didn’t have any so I can’t comment on the taste.

For mains, we decided on the angus pure cheeseburger, lamb cutlets and fish and chips. The cheeseburger was served with homemade tomato relish and a side of fries. Although the burger looks small in the photograph, I can assure you that it is because the plate is huge. The burger, overall, tasted average. The beef patty was slightly dry but the tomato relish was fantastic and tangy. The lamb cutlets, same as the beef, was on the dry side and tough. Although the meat didn’t taste as good as it looked, the side of bacon and potato salad was raved amongst us. The fish and chips was also average.

Nothing on the dessert menu interested us and we decided to skip dessert. Overall, there are pros and cons regarding Jack Tar. The environment and vibe is fantastic. We were lucky to have a lovely waitress that took care of us and she was attentive and friendly. Very different from the reviews online that gave a rather negative rating in terms of service. However, the lack of food quality was disappointing. If you class Jack Tar as a regular bar, then the food is decent but if you consider it as a gastropub then I believe improvements is needed. I guess I am still on a hunt for an excellent gastropub in Auckland.

Date: Friday 6th January, 2012 | Location: 34-47 Jellicoe Street, North Wharf, Auckland CBD | Food: Gastropub

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