Thursday, 2 April 2009


There are good restaurants and then there is sublime dining.

This afternoon we feasted at Antoines in Parnell.

We adore offal. Sweetbreads, kidneys, hearts, brains, oxtails and ox tongue are simply gastronomic nirvana to us.

And Tony Astle is not scared of offal. He is the master of turning the exotic parts of fauna, often spurned by an uneducated public, into mouth melting delights.

When we were small and dad killed a "mutton" which was normally a two tooth wether, more often than not the neighbours got the chops and roasts and we got the liver, hearts and sweetbreads (if it was a lamb) So we grew up thinking that they were the prized bits.

The experience of dining at Antoines starts at the door. You knock, and the waiter opens the door and you are seated. At once you feel very special and privileged.

So at todays lunch we started with a Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc and 6 Bluff oysters encased in a feather light tempura.

Our good mate had oysters drenched in a cream champagne sauce.

The next dish was a favourite of ours - tripe in a cream peppercorn sauce and one of the signature dishes of this iconic restaurant.

It was sublime, a gentle whiff of sheep, layered with the aromatic green peppercorns.

Then for main we had an extraordinarily rich ox tongue, with sweetbreads, baby sweet onions encased in a rich buttery fall apart pastry. It was accompanied by a lightly oaked Selaks Founders Sauvignon.

Dessert was a bread and butter pudding dressed up as a flouncy creamy Cinderella with shiny shoes of strawberries . It was matched with a stunning De Bortoli semillon.

Antoines remains one of our favourite restaurants in New Zealand.

It is elegant and a touch arrogant, as it should be. And the waiter was as cute as waiters can be.
And the afternoon was all we hoped it would be.


Cactus Kate said...

Antoines rocks.

We heart Antoines.

But I don't order the offal. Disgusting. Fortunately Astle has a "younger persons" selection to dine on.

kehua said...

I bet Tony Astle has never had tirotiros on the menu. Yummmm

Anonymous said...

Tirotiro! That's chitlins do y'all good Southern folk.