One of the biggest mistake I make when I go out for dinner at a restaurant is having high expectations because it often leads to disappointment and sadly, this was the case of my dinner at The Commons.
Opened by Pack and Company Limited – the group responsible for Roxy, Everybody’s and Matterhorn – The Commons has been on my dining wish list since it’s opening in August 2012. I’ve come across several reviews in Cuisine, Metro and Viva praising the exceptional food created by chef Nick Honeyman and the stunning dining space that expands over two stories and flows over to an outdoor dining area; so I was looking forward to finally have a meal there.
My dinner started with a wagyu tartare which was elegantly presented with diced daikon, tarragon snow and a béarnaise ice cream quenelle. Steak tartare is one of my favourite dish as I enjoy the combination of raw meat with diced gherkins, shallots, raw egg yolk and mustard. Personally, I did not like The Common’s modern take on the steak tartare. The daikon, although added a crunchy texture, did not provide any enhancements on the taste and the use of béarnaise covered the richness of the beef rather than intensify the taste of the meat, which in my eyes, wastes the purpose of using wagyu.
The ‘smoked fish pie’ – my choice for main – was surprisingly good despite my disappointing start. It’s made up of the regular components of a fish pie but presented in a different way. The smoked snapper had a nice flaky texture and the smokey flavour was intense and utterly divine. The combination of the crispy garlic beignets, baby sweet potato, parmesan custard and panko worked well together. I liked this version of a fish pie because it is not overly sauced which could essentially overpower the smokiness of the fish.
Now, before I start talking about dessert, I would first like to declare my dislike for foam/froth. Although its purpose is to add flavour without overloading the dish with too much ingredients, I loathe the texture of these tiny air bubbles. So imagine my reaction when my dessert was served with a mountain of bubbles; this was visually unappealing and because of the amount, it was hard to avoid. My pina colada dessert also included a coconut brulee, freeze-dried pineapple, hard coconut meringue, rum, colada sorbet and soft coconut meringue; there were clearly too many things going on in this dessert. All the different components mixed and melted together which was rather disappointing, but I did enjoy the pieces of freeze-dried pineapple and meringue.
I was slightly sadden that The Commons was not all it’s cracked up to be, but despite the average meal, I would come back again to give this place another go. The dining area is stunningly beautiful and modern, making this a lovely spot to relax and catch up with friends over a drink or two. Hopefully their breakfast (which is available from 8am to 2pm) would be much more pleasant.
Date: Saturday 27th April, 2013 | Location: 21 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna | Food: Contemporary NZ