Auckland: French Café

I love when friends come visit, especially when I know they enjoy good food as much as I do. So whenever they head to Auckland, one of our must do activities is dine out. This time, we decided to enjoy a contemporary French dinner at the French Cafe. Recently voted #4 in Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Best Restaurant of 2014, we came with high expectations. It’s not our first time at French Cafe, we’ve had their degustation menu over the years, but this time, we decided to pick our dishes through a la carte.

My entree of Akaroa salmon and langoustine was a good start. The langoustine has a delicate sweet flavour and was exceptionally fresh. The salmon was flaky and wrapped in a thin piece of kombu. The final addition of dashi provided an aromatic umami flavour but was too savoury for my liking. I would have preferred this dish without the broth.

For my main, I tried the crispy roast duck which was highly recommended by reviews online. The duck leg coated with a thin layer of sweet spice has a crispy outer skin but the inside lacked the same amount of flavour. Creamy kumara mash paired with a steamed brocollini and mandarin puree, a typical accompaniment, tasty but not exceptional.

After a quick fruity palate cleanser, we were ready for our desserts. The poached rhubarb with white chocolate gelato, meringue and fresh raspberries was a stunner. The tartness of the raspberries neutralised the sweetness from the meringue and white chocolate and the poached rhubarb was exquisite. The Textured Chocolate dessert is a staple in the French Cafe menu. Incorporating various textures in the same dish, the flavours of caramelised milk, hazelnut, malt powder and mandarin is a typical creation.

 Being seated at 8:45PM, we knew it was going to be a long night. Yet, the service throughout was immaculate. Our waiter was always smiling, even when we got a little rowdy. Our water was constantly topped up and our table was cleared in a timely manner. You can see why they won the Metro Best Service Award this year and the three years before that. However, my friends and I were disappointed in the food. Although the meal is of high quality, we expected so much more from this award winning restaurant. I expected something creative and witty; food that makes you want to come back for more. It was a good meal but not an unforgettable experience. Maybe I should try my luck here again next year!

French Cafe | Location: 210 Symonds Street, Auckland CBD

The French Cafe on Urbanspoon

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