What a treat last Sunday night. Those clever people over Gather & Hunt teamed up with Auckland Art Week & the Next Crew to put on a spectacular food & art filled evening at the Nathan Club in Britomart. Five artists & five chefs, a collaboration, a celebration of creativity in art & food. Each course was an experience.
The artists’ works featured for one night only as we enjoyed, not only beautiful but, wonderful & exciting food. On arriving cocktails from Cameron Timmins of Mea Culpa. The second for me the stand out, a little sharp & a little zesty like a classic Italian aperitif. From memory rum with a little marmalade syrup & lemon zest. I would certainly like the recipe for that one.
Canapes came from Ed Verner at Sidart & were quite the spectacle, spectacular even, well spectacular doesn’t really cover it. They involved a pig’s head, emulsions & textures that you scooped up, not to mention a concoction that included crackly squid ink tapioca, wasabi, jelly & water melon sorbet.
We were certainly starting things off pretty as a picture. Bonita paste arrived in a tube, beside a brush for us to mix together different flavours on our very own little tile palette, before adding them to the the salmon, coconut panacotta & spring salad. Fresh, sweet & matched with “Artist’s Turpentine 2009”, that arrived in a plastic squirty bottle. A wonderfully oily white it was a great start to the evening.
What We Think We Have Become
Possibly the best carrots I have ever eaten. Tiffany’s art focuses on ritual ceremony & the sacred, & this was a take on halva & prasad. Halva is a popular sweet dish in India that is made on religious occasions as an offering to God & given to devotees after prayers as a blessing. Carrot, chilli, turmeric & almond arrived on a wax coated puka leaf, the wax honey theme continuing as we were served Warkworth Clover Honey Mead in little wax cups. Discussion ensued as to who had the prettiest cup, those with an abundance of flowers being designated the prettiest. The flavours & textures really did make these the best carrots I have ever tasted.
This Little Piggy Went Fishing
Tough acts to follow but the evening continued to surprise & delight. And how did the little piggy go fishing? That would be a little surf & turf with John Dory, cured pig’s cheek, squid crisps & a caviar butter sauce. A wonderful crunch and the caviar butter sauce rich & a little decadent. I would just have liked more cured pig’s cheek.
Pacific Coast Highway
Hayden McMillan, TriBeCa & Elliot Collins
Pre our main course arriving on white wooden blocks,we were treated to poetry from Courtney Sina Meredith. Each beef short rib hid a couple of words, different for everyone. Mine were conscious & praiseworthy. The main itself was a meltingly tender beef short rib topped with a little prawn blanket. Radish, wasabi & golden mustard adding a little freshness & heat, another stand out dish....but then really they all were in their own unique.
And then dessert....wow!
“Excuse me Waiter, there’s a key in my dessert”
Brian Campbell & artist Alex Bartleet.
Valrohna chocolate, beetroot raspberry & heilala vanilla matched with a Pedro Ximinez sherry. Let’s be honest they had me at Valrohna. The Pedro Ximinez was rich, dark & raisiny, so far removed from the the Bristol Cream my Gran used to drink & perfect partner for the chocolate & raspberry flavours & textures. Brian is opening a dessert restaurant down at Britomart this summer & if this dessert is any indication of the delights that may be on offer then success is guaranteed, I for one will be checking it out as soon as it opens.
And in our goodie bags, our little paint palette tile, our honey mead cup & our block with our very own words. All reminders of a unique evening, a feast for the eyes, the senses & the belly.
For more hidden treasures in & around Auckland & upcoming events I recommend heading over to Gather & Hunt, it is quite a little treasure trove.