Sean Marshall’s (former head chef of Wellington’s Matterhorn) latest venture is Roxy, a contemporary fine dining restaurant in the redeveloped four level Imperial Building that is accessible from both Fort Street and Queen Street. The restaurant has an impressive high ceiling, dangling lights, contrasting bare concrete walls, and comfortable soft wing chairs – creating an overall modern and trendy vibe.
Our lovely meal started with an amuse bouche which consisted of Jerusalem artichokes prepared in three different ways – creamed, diced and fried. I think that all fine dining restaurants should incorporate amuse bouche in their practice because it allows the chef to showcase their talents in a free bite-sized hor d’oeuvre and allows the patrons to try something that they usually would not order. In this case, this was the first time I tried Jerusalem artichokes. I enjoyed combination of the different textures of the artichoke and it must be eaten in the same mouthful in order to truly appreciate this course. A delightful start to our meal.
For entrees, we decided to try their two famous dish which the waiter kindly and enthusiastically explained to us. Their “fish soup” which won the 2012 Metro Audi Restaurant of the Year for Best Dish was a great take on the traditional seafood soup. There are many components in this dish and it includes butter poached crayfish, smoked octopus, paua, clam, creamed scallop and bouillon broth jelly. My favourite part was the fresh kingfish wrapped in a thin layer of cucumber that was both refreshing and crisp. The “whole duck”, although not award winning, was just as phenomenal. Duck is prepared and served in five different ways and this consist of a duck liver and cognac parfait, served with a side of soft toasted brioche (not pictured), duck confit sandwiched between crispy wafers cooked in duck fat, a slice of duck sausage, crispy duck, and an amazing duck egg custard (not pictured). I could not name a fault in this dish as everything was well executed.
The arrival of our mains took a little long, but it was worth the wait. The Razorback pork served with caramalised celeriac, wild greens and crispy pork skin was very tender and was surprisingly good. I find that pork can be a hit or miss, and more often than not, the meat can be dry and tough. But this was not the case. My perfectly cooked venison was seared on the outside and bloody on the inside – just how I like it. This was accompanied with a buttery potato pave, baby turnip and a chestnut puree. The slow cooked aged beef was artisically presented with maxim potatoes, beef cheeks and a red wine sauce. The steak, like the pork and venison, was moist, tender and flavoursome.
Of course, a fine dining meal will not be complete without dessert. Their delicate and light passionfruit souffle is hands down, one of the best souffles in town. It is not overly sweet and the tart passionfruit sorbet acted as a pleasant contrast. The “apples and pears”(like the entree), is one of their signature dish which the waiter encouraged us to try. The main component was a light baked custard with a contrasting layer of thin crunchy caramel, this was served alongside thin layers of pear, granny smith apple sorbet, and pieces of honeycomb. Overall, a superb dessert.
Roxy exceeded my high expectations. Their dishes were flawless, the staff was helpful and friendly and the whole meal (from start to finish) was incredible. However, be prepared to pay a little more for such exceptional food. Their prices for the entrees, mains and dessert is $27, $42 and $18 respectively, but it is worth every cent. A must try for any foodies!
Date: Saturday 21st July, 2012 | Location: 7 Fort Street / 44 Queen Street, Auckland CBD | Food: Contemporary Fine Dining