As Auckland’s Restaurant Month comes to an end, it’s time to look back on the amazing food deals our restaurants had to offer. For those of you lucky enough to try from the wide range of menus at varying prices, our top picks of this year for creativity and value went as follows:

$25 Menu

Daikoku Victoria Street3 Course Lunch or Dinner

Options include salmon & tuna sashimi, teriyaki chicken served with rice & miso and green tea ice cream.

Indochine3 Course Dinner

Options include fresh rice rolls with black tiger prawns, charcoal BBQ pork belly & pork mince with noodles & Vietnamese herbs and coconut panna cotta with mixed berry sauce.

Ortolana2 Course Lunch or Dinner Lunch

Options include beef short rib with agnolotti & mustard, organic chicken cotoletta with lemon & kale and your choice of gelato on a stick.

$40 Menu

Gusto At The Grand – 2 Course Lunch or Dinner

Includes garlic rosemary pizzetta, housemade ricotta with honey & pinenuts, rigatoni with beef, lamb & tomato ragù, grilled snapper with pistachio & capers and beef brisket with salsa verde.

Soul Bar and Bistro2 Course Dinner

Includes Te Matuku Bay oysters, Wagyu oxtail, celeriac and rosemary ragù, hand rolled garganelli, Goats’ cheese & lemon ravioli and a Dark Chocolate Tart.

Ima3 Course Dinner

Includes a Middle Eastern mezze and options such as braised Lebanese lamb with fragrant spices and chocolate hazelnut delight.

$55+ Menu

The Sugar Club$59 for a 3 Course Lunch or Dinner

Options include spiny crayfish & Marlborough saffron linguini, Hiramasa kingfish with wasabi meringue & edamame and peanut butter parfait & blackberry jelly with chocolate soil.

The Grove$75 for a 5 Course Lunch or Dinner

An option for the risk takers – A five course Chef’s seasonal changing menu presented by Ben Bayly.

Clooney$80 for a 7 Course Vegetarian Dinner

Includes silken buffalo curd with ginger, gnudi with sweet & sour carrot, rye with shiitake & sweetcorn and burnt buffalo milk with Valhrona.

These restaurants set the bar high with their range of ingredients and value, be on the look out for what they offer up next year! See our Ultimate Restaurant Guide for 2016 here for more ideas on where to go!

Botswana Butchery

I’ll end on a review from Botswana Butchery, the last restaurant I went to for this year’s event. With its Queenstown branch being a One Hat restaurant, it was time to see what its Auckland counterpart was doing to catch up.

Located in the historic Ferry Building on Quay Street, Botswana Butchery first catches your eye with its quirky butcher knives as the door handles to the establishment. They offer premium local and Central Otago produce, and an extensive selection of wine; all in plush, luxurious surroundings.

As you walk in, you first notice the oversized lamp decorations, elegant seating, and how unexpectedly large the restaurant actually is: each area of the restaurant seems to have its own atmosphere. Some areas were more like private rooms and even the closer dining quarters were separate enough that you didn’t feel like your conversation was being overheard by the neighbours. Upstairs has a sitting area overlooking the wine cellar and further dining sections. We were seated quickly at the centre of the restaurant, and the waitress for our table was very attentive and welcoming – it was a busy night with patrons quickly filling up the tables nearby.

We all went in with the intention of trying out various items from the 2 Course $55 Menu option put together for Restaurant Month. Here’s a breakdown of our picks and what we thought: 

I chose the ‘Classic Venison Tartare’ as I have recently developed a love of Tartare related goods and had yet to try Venison in its rawer form. It was the most popular choice among our table (and rightly so). The flavour of the venison was perfectly complimented by the sharpness of the pickled onions and radish, and the rice crisp (similar to shrimp crackers offered at Chinese restaurants) was a perfect texture combination. I must admit, the size of this entree was smaller than I expected and presented very differently to the traditional tartare form. The egg had been mixed in already which I was a bit disappointed in as I have always found that part of the fun of eating this dish. While it was delicious, for an entree it left me wanting more than the few exquisite mouthfuls I received.


Classic Venison Tartare – with pickled onions, radish, horseradish, free range egg and rice crisps

The other two options were ‘French Onion Soup’ and ‘Chicken & Shiitake Mushroom Dumplings’. While the French Onion Soup gave me an intense amount of food envy since it was exactly what I felt like on that particular cold winter night, the dumplings left a bit to be desired in terms of quantity. At its normal price of $23.95 on the Autumn Dinner Menu, I personally would have been devastated at the amount of food presented in front of me, even if the quality was incredible. It was at that point of the night I was glad for my four mouthfuls of tartare instead of three.

Next we moved onto the mains – our group ended up choosing the ‘Ostrich Fillet’ and ‘Cardrona Lamb Rump’ but in case anyone was interested, the fish option was ‘Grilled Salmon Fillet & New Season Potato Salad (GF) with Witloof & Radicchio Lettuce, Peas, Mint and Mustard Salad Cream Dressing’. The only time I’ve tried ostrich was at a French restaurant many years ago and it did not thrill me. I decided to give it another go and I’m truly glad I did. Visually, this bird looks like it’s more from the red meat family than its winged counterparts, but in terms of texture, it was a delight to eat. The Date Labneh and Ginger Puree was the highlight for me, a perfect combination with the meat. The portion size was reasonable but you’d hope so as you’d be quite hungry with such a small entree. The lamb also received many compliments, the beetroot fondant and cumin crumble being the highlight of that dish.


I feel like you couldn’t fault the quality, taste and ambience of this restaurant but I’d be lying if I said this two course meal manged to satiate my hunger completely. We still had plenty of room for dessert elsewhere which rounded off the meal well, portion wise however, this was an unexpected surprise for all of us. I would still come back but would likely prepare for a few more courses or have a small meal earlier beforehand. Nothing worse than still being hungry at the end of your meal.


Ferry Building

99 Quay Street


Phone: 09 307 6966

Opening Hours: 11am-11pm 7 Days



About The Author

Nancy Yang

Known to love food a bit too much, Nancy now fuels her obsession through writing about those dining experiences she has for 'research purposes only'.

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