Clooney – Revisited

Walking into Clooney is like entering into a secret location. Tucked away on the quiet end of Sale Street, the front door is hidden amongst dark walls and tinted windows; it’s a place that you can easily miss if you weren’t looking for it. The first time I dined at Clooney in 2010, I recall being mesmerised by the stunning interior. Dim lighting, round tan leather banquettes, black fringe curtains and high ceilings; the place screams out sophistication, and three years down the line, Clooney still has the same WHOA factor.

My friends recently got engaged, so we decided to celebrate their engagement with a lovely dinner at Clooney. As we were a big group, we were seated in the intimate private dining room and ordered from their three course set menu ($95 per person) with three options for entrée, four for main and three for dessert.

My quail and duck ham entrée was served with foie gras, celeriac puree and pieces of toasted hazelnut; it was utterly phenomenal. First and foremost, quail is not a meat that I eat very often, restaurants that I have come across rarely serve quail; this is quite a shame as quail is such a delicious meat and in my mind, a better choice compared to chicken as it has a subtle hint of gaminess. The quail was moist, tender and flavourful and although I enjoyed the duck ham, I wished that there were more quail on the plate. The luscious foie gras presented inside a delicate crispy shell and pieces of toasted hazelnut made this dish complete and the perfect course to start our meal.

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For main, I decided to try something different and ordered the razorback pork. I seldom order pork at restaurants because more often than not, the meat is dry, tough and overcooked. So, to my pleasant surprise, Clooney’s version of pork is delectable. Served slightly pink, the meat was moist and slightly undercooked. The pieces of crackling were light and airy and the creamy artichoke puree was a good compliment to the flavours of the pork. Our mains were served with several complimentary sides.

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My night ended with a deconstructed feijoa crumble with salted apple, rosemary and ginger. In terms of taste and aroma, feijoa is distinctive and strong, and because of this, the other flavours were not very evident in the dessert. The feijoa was prepared in different ways; the smooth feijoa puree hidden at the bottom was tart and added a soft sour kick to the pannacotta and the slices of freeze-dried feijoa provided a distinctive texture without introducing more ingredients. I have to admit, the dessert looked rather chaotic on the plate and the dust-like crumble was hard to eat without flying everywhere.

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To say that I was impressed with Clooney is an understatement. All aspects of my dining experience, including atmosphere, food and service, were superb and it was a great way to celebrate this special occasion.

Date: Friday 14th June 2013 | Location: 33 Sale Street, Freemans Bay | Food: Contemporary Fine Dining

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3 thoughts on “Clooney – Revisited

  1. Though you covered only 3 dishes, this account captured my interest – you have a knack for covering the dish descriptions without sounding tedious. I have Clooney on my list, but after experiencing French Cafe, Meredith’s, Sidart and Kazuya and being wowed by them only on a few occasions I am not sure what more Clooney can add – their presentation seems rather ho-hum, in keeping with current Auckland fads and their website lists a maximum course menu of 7 dishes offered at $140 overall – which makes them the most costly tasting menu in Auckland when calculated per course. Are they really leading the market?!

    • Honestly, I think consistency is something that some of these restaurants are lacking. I’m tried Sidart and French Cafe a few times and the dishes are mostly good but can seldom justify the price tag.

      However, with that being said, I really like Clooneys. The place has excellent vibe and the space you get is unbelievable considering the tiny dining rooms at Sidart and French Cafe (its hard not to listen to other people’s conversation). I believe it is worth a try!

      And thank you for your kind words. My reviews are just my honest opinions so I’m glad that you spend the time to read them 🙂

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