Saint Alice (Auckland CBD, New Zealand)
Craving for some seafood and want a good spot overlooking Viaduct Harbour? Well this place is for you located just in the corner of Quay and Lower Hobson Streets, the spot where Kermadec used to be. This laid-back eatery, brasserie and bar specialises in seafood but the offer other great dishes too. The minute you walk into this place you will be welcomed with a nice open bright space, especially during summers where the open the retractable roof. Tuatuas and oysters will also be there to welcome you together with your table attendant.
We came just two days before New Zealand went on a full lockdown, it was our last hurrah before we got used to home cooking for at the last 7 weeks and yes, it was a good last meal. But before we get on to the meal, we had some drinks, and they do have a nice selection of beers and wine. It was like last supper; this should be something really special hence we grabbed a bottle of Rua Akarua 2018 Central Otago Pinot Noir (NZ$90.00) and it was a great selection. This wine is bright cherry in the glass, hints of berries and nice oak flavour, well balanced acidity that did went well with our order. Easy and nice drink.
As we enjoy that nice wine we had these wonderful Artisanal Meats & Cheese Plate (small NZ$45.00) filled with Italian pork & fennel salami, dry aged Italian fatty coppa, French brie cheese, toasted dusty apron baguette, whipped butter & mustard plus house made sesame lavosh crackers. It was a good platter to start with.
Together with that we also had some Chips with Parmesan Cheese & Truffle Mayo (NZ$14.00), yes, we ordered French Fries in a nice place, forgive me with that, sometimes I can’t resist a good chips, I think most Kiwis will agree too. This one specially, it was cooked to perfection, so crispy outside and fluffy soft on the insides, the grated Parmesan and mayo just elevated it further.
Now let’s go to our starters, first was this Woodfired Marinated Prawns (NZ$24.00), it was served with herbaceous green chilli & lime dressing, saffron, rouille dipping sauce on a bed of dusty apron toast. This was great, smoky and the head butter was just amazing on that toast.
We also had some Woodfired Green Beans (NZ$14.00) served with miso, chilli, garlic dressing and fried garlic chips. Again another smoky affair that contrasted with the bean flavour extracting its natural sweetness. It was something nice to munch on, it was so good you forget that you are eating vegetables.
For the mains we grabbed one meat and one seafood, first was this Barbequed Hawkes Bay Lamb Rump (NZ$54.00), another woodfire menu item served with mint and garlic rub, Greek yoghurt, fresh horseradish and pistachio crumb. At first you might be wondering where the lamb is, but you will be surprised how big the cuts are there hidden beneath that Spinach. It was cooked really nicely, medium, with some nice wood burn crust. The yoghurt cuts the meaty fatty meat which makes this dish really stand out. Pistachios and horseradish, gives it a nice texture. This was a well thought dish.
Finally the seafood, we can’t leave this place without trying some, they do specialize on this remember. While we had the prawns earlier, I will never be enough for a seafood lover like me so we also grabbed some Pan Roasted Monkfish with Cloudy bay Tua Tua (NZ$38.00) served with Grey Lynn Butchers Nduja (spicy salami), toasted baguette, burnt leek and herb butter. This was heaven on a plate, the Monkfish, the Tua Tua, they are all perfect. It was seasoned really well, cooked really well, presented really well, it was a well-balanced dish, add to it that toast with that butter, I just want to continuously munch on these ones.
It was a really good meal, enough goodness which kept me sane during the lockdown, it’s a bit pricey for some but you are paying for good quality food with a nice view, what would you expect. Having said that if you compare the price with other nice places within the vicinity, this sits nicely in the middle. With a prime spot plus a good service, you should be paying much more.
Address: Level 1/204 Quay Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010