A spontaneous dinner with a friend travelling from overseas lead us to The White Rabbit, a new establishment opened near Fort Street which is only a few months old. Spanning two levels at what used to be The Crown, White Rabbit is a cafe by day, cosy bistro and bar by night.
For starters, we ordered two appetizers to share. The steak tartare had a lovely texture but lacks the distinctive tartare taste and this could be because there was not enough mustard and pickle. The chicken liver parfait was superb. The red peppercorn gave a crunch and burst of spice to the smooth and creamy parfait. Served with pickled cherries on a piece of brioche toast. I could eat this everyday!
For mains, we shared the ricotto bianco and the duck burger with potato chips. The risotto lacked the al dente bite but the flavours were spot on. A variety of different mushrooms include shiitake and enokitake, it was served with ricotta which gave the dish a superb cheesy finish. The duck in the burger came in the form of a patty and it was topped with apple, celeriac and a hearty lavish of parfait which kept the burger moist. The crispy exterior of the accompanying house chips with its fluffy center made the side very satisfying. For dessert, we had the creamed bomba rice which I do not recommend. It has an odd texture and the use of the same red peppercorn from the appetizer is baffling. The apricot in sorbet attempted to rescue the dish, but it did little help.
Despite the sad finish to our meal, we had a great night at White Rabbit. I have to applaud the staff that served us. They were lovely, attentive and friendly. Truly service with a smile. They checked up on us throughout the meal and our water was frequently topped it despite being a busy night as the evening progressed.
White Rabbit | 69 Customs Street East, Auckland Central