Prepare to drool! Dining at Lava

It’s August and that means Auckland Restaurant Month!

I love this month. I save up all my dining envy from my Facebook feed (pun intended) and roll it out in August when I can make huge savings at the city’s best restaurants.

Last week I kicked off the month in Sofitel style at Lava Dining in the Auckland viaduct. An award-winning chef, a new innovative winter menu AND a restaurant month deal!

Here it is for your drooling edification:

Sofitel lava dining auckland
Our view from our table at Lava Dining across the viaduct
Sofitel Auckland
Ora King Salmon

I started with this dish of fresh salmon served with halved grapes, ribbons of cucumber, fresh wasabi (which didn’t blow my head off like I find it usually does), shiso and rice crackers matched with a crisp Nautilus Estate Marlborough Sauvignon. Happy place.

Sofitel Auckland scallops
Scallop entree

My husband did not do the tasting menu, preferring to go for three courses a la carte. He started with these delicious, warm seared scallops with proscuitto, red onion jam, cauliflower puree and decorated with little beet leaves. Yes I had a taste and yes it was great! *plateenvy

Sofitel Auckland ox cheek
Braised ox cheek

Then he waited while I tucked into this generous serve of melt-in-your-mouth braised ox cheek with crispy beet chips, beet puree, black garlic and parsley and scattered with nuts for some good crunch. Pierre paired it with the only Australian on my menu, Yalumba Coonawarra Cigare Cabernet Sauvignon. I was excited now.

Sofitel Auckland degustation
Gnocchi with mushrooms

Then it was time for the gnocchi course. Pillows of potato gnocchi on a pumpkin puree with smoky mushrooms, sliced truffle and kale chips. The smokiness was amazing and it came paired with the Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay which was so good. And I’m not normally a Chardy girl!

Sofitel Auckland restaurant month
Venison with leeks

Then back together we came with me having this little Raukumara wild venison dish – which was plenty generous for course number four! Hubby had a larger version, served medium rare with parsnip puree, sauteed leeks, red cabbage gel, hazelnuts and cocoa nibs on a rich jus. But the Nautilus Pinot Noir made the whole thing come together on a romantic rainy Auckland night!

Sofitel restaurant month
A little palate cleanser!

This carrot and orange sorbet served on Greek yoghurt was a sneaky little dish in and of itself! One you should definitely serve at home – but for pudding not just a pause 🙂

Sofitel Auckland restaurant month
Chocolate upon chocolate!

No I didn’t have room for this dish so we shared it! Valrhona chocolate mousse with salted caramel, macarons, and peanut butter ice cream paired with the delicious Greywacke Marlbough Late Harvest Riesling. I managed the sticky all by myself 🙂

Sofitel dessert auckland
Coconut panacotta

And just to be sure we were absolutely satiated, hubby ordered this yummy coconut panacotta with poached rhubarb, berry sorbet and pistachio.

So there you have it. Hungry?

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Thanks to the great team at the Sofitel for hosting us! Jump here to book in for your turn at Lava Dining >>

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Dinner at Auckland’s Sofitel

I recently spent some pillow time at the Sofitel in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter in a room with a fabulous view of the harbour – and I am now an evangelist!

I also did the sabrage. What on earth is sabrage, you ask? Why, it’s only whipping the cork off the top of a bottle of champagne with a sabre! Here’s my video here >>>

But before we did that, we ate at Lava Dining. The restaurant has a unique interior design with marble walls that are lit yellow/gold at night like molten lava – and the food! Scott Brown, ex chef from Huka Lodge is in the kitchen so I was expecting great things:

Sofitel lobby
The watery lobby with fresh flowers that change each week. Just on dusk 125 candles are lit in the lobby each night too.
Sofitel Auckland
The junior suite with apartment and marina views
Sofitel Lava Dining
Loving the fresh flowers! Note the marble wall above the bar by day…
Sofitel lava kitchen
Lava kitchen – by night
Sofitel entree
This was my entree: clams and crispy chicken in a creamy garlic broth served on basmati rice with crisp chili toast. I would definitely have it again. The pic doesn’t do it justice.
Sofitel entree
The Bloke ordered this: Pig’s Head. What possessed him I have no idea because the name had me screaming. However it was pressed cheeks slow cooked with kimchi, tomato, garlic, pickle and kewpie (Japanese mayonaise). He loved it.
Sofitel hapuka dinner
My main was this hapuka dish. I nearly didn’t order it as I don’t usually go for fish when I’m out, but thanks to our waiter, Khoi’s recommendation, this is probably the best fish I’ve ever tasted. Hapuka on pureed mash with chorizo and a rich red wine viniagarette. I dream about this meal!
Sofitel lamb
The Bloke had this tender and juicy lamb rump with Jerusalem artichoke, soy bean, pine nuts and olives.
Sofitel dessert
This was a yummy way to end the night: cold coconut rice pudding with rhubarb, yoghurt and digestive biscuits
Sofitel dessert
The quirkily named Fruit and Nut Bar is a deconstructed ice cream dessert with chocolate crackle, black doris sorbet and soft Manjari chocolate. The Bloke had this – and I helped!
Sofitel breakfast
While we’re on food, I thought I’d also show you my breakfast the next day: these crunchy corn fritters with bacon and chipotle sour cream. Gooood!
Sofitel jacuzzi
The Sofitel also has a gym and lap pool, but I decided to include the jacuzzi for your viewing pleasure
Sofitel view
The view from my harbour-view corner room the next morning.

Disclaimer: while I was hosted by Sofitel, my opinions about dinner and the views are entirely my own.