She is the one ex that I get the pity stare for. “How is she?” they ask me, and “are you still in touch with…?”. The reply is always the same. She’s terrific. In Sydney and in love, with a genuinely great man who loves her back. She’s happy, healthy, in married harmony.

Then it comes. The ‘You screwed up there’ look, accompanied by the ‘You idiot’ head shake. I didn’t screw up, she’s happy. O’Connell St Bistro didn’t screw up either, they were just unlucky.

Before it’s devastating kitchen fire O’Connell St Bistro was Auckland CBD’s finest business dining. Consistent excellence. It’s been a few months and I think the crew are getting jumpy, so they are doing a pop-up. This week and for one week only, O’Connell St Bistro is at Vivace.

Climb the well-trodden steps from High St and hook a right to enter and choose two ($45) or three courses ($60) from their degustation menu, of classic steak tartare, the main of pappardelle of wild Bendigo rabbit then their equally noted, Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée.

I’ll order by the bottle, because I want to relax. No decisions please, it’s degustation so one wine pick only, a bottle of Fiorini Chianti ‘Superiore’ 2013 ($45), bargain.

If you’re tempted by the glass, go the Craggy Range, Te Muna 2014 Sauvignon Blanc ($12). Now pay attention, this is important; it is from Martinborough NOT Marlborough. So it’s Sav (Jim) but not as we know it. Playful rather than pungent, more rippled than racy, nicely food-friendly.  For more heft, I’d stick with Craggy and specifically the Gimblett Hawkes Bay – Chardonnay 2014 ($14.50). I had it at Winetopia, this weekend, terrific chardonnay. It is like a hug from your favourite relative, big and warm, but not at all hot.

Rabbit, screams for Pinot doesn’t it? Bugger you, this is a pop-up so I’m breaking rules. If you won’t join me for the Chianti, then splurge $18 on the Destiny Bay Cab Sauv/Merlot/Malbec/Cab Franc/Petit Verdot 2008. Yes, oh Eight! I know, you lucky little sod, savour the goodness.

It’ll partner the tartare nicely too, but then what doesn’t? This was after all, the ex’s favourite dish. And she did have excellent taste, in food and men. Especially her husband, he’s a good man. I wish them and O’Connell St Bistro every future happiness.

You’ve only got a week, get up there.


What: O’Connell Street Bistro – one week pop-up at Vivace
When: May 23 – 27, 12pm – 2.30pm
Where: Level 1, 50 High Street, Auckland

Contact: View website

About The Author

Timothy Giles

Timothy known as Giles, drinks. He does other things, runs, swims and rides unfeasibly long distances, probably to make up for the drinking. Oh and he's a gardener. He's into permaculture which reflects what he drinks most, which is organic, biodynamic and natural wines and craft brews. Giles eats too, but always has a drink to start.

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