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.


Auckland’s new Wynyard Quarter is a star

My turn on the sea egg!

The old tank farm has been spruced up down on North Wharf and Aucklanders have found a new urban playground. Quite literally.

At $7 each, that's not bad

The kid’s playground has kiwiana-themed objects like sea eggs and big iron shells filled with sand to crawl through. Things spin and swing and can be climbed on and instead of that dreadful black rubber or sawdust chip that so many playgrounds are covered in, this one is sand. Genious.

There’s a basketball court – well more like a single hoop and several colourful lines painted on to the concrete, ala American cool kids style.

Wynyard Quarter
The windcharm thingy

Walk past the steel windcharm thingy to the old fish market which on a sunny day was serving a queue of people $7 fish n chips or squid n chips in a little paper funnel. I thought this was good value, but heard from friends at one of the other, new and fancy cafes opposite that indeed food prices are set at RWC standards. In other words, unless you’re bringing your Euros, bring a picnic.

The tram from Melbourne is a pretty touch although completely pointless to my mind. For $10 per adult it goes around the block. That’s it. A 1.5km circuit down Jellicoe St, Halsey, Gaunt and Daldy in 15 minutes.

If it went over the bridge (which is now down) to Te Wero Island and therefore opened up the Viaduct and even made an attempt to get punters nearer to Britomart, I could see the benefit.

Cars, trams, people, pushchairs and bikes. Get rid of the cars!

But aside from that silliness, the cobblestoned street it tootles down (which, by the way should be pedestrianised and ban all cars that are only driving along to be nosey) is lovely and that opens onto the new Viaduct Events Centre which went off during the Rugby World Cup. Huge wooden loungers are rolled into place and new steps have been built down to the water beside Emirates Team New Zealand’s yacht base which make a perfect lunch spot in the sun.

The Viaduct Events Centre

The new restaurants were still being frantically completed when I was there, but look to be ethnic in origin – a curry house (Urban Turban), Japanese (I Sushi & Yakitori) and by the looks of the round tables with white cloths and lazy Susans, a Chinese restaurant is on its way. There’s 10 new restaurants in all, including a gelato cafe (Gelatiamo) and bars including one in the Old Red Shed with views over the fishing boats and the new promenade.

The whole project was started 7 years ago and this promises to be the next great hot spot in Auckland.

Check out more info here on Waterfront Auckland >>>