Greek restaurant to open at old Iguacu site in Parnell
A new Auckland restaurant has big shoes to fill.
Gerome Restaurant opens on Wednesday in a space in Parnell once occupied by the iconic Iguacu Restaurant at 269 Parnell Rd.
Iguacu was a popular destination for Auckland diners for many years before sinking into rent arrears and closing in 2013.
In its time it was twice voted Best New Zealand Restaurant and winner of Best Auckland Restaurant for four consecutive years.
Restaurateurs Andrew Akaya and Ramiz Malik were counting on their modern Greek cuisine eatery becoming the next favoured Parnell destination.
Malik said the food, service, interior, location and the pricing were key elements in making sure Gerome Restaurant was a memorable venue guests would want to return to.
"We want to to establish a restaurant that is different from any other in Auckland," he said.
He said Gerome would offer a relaxed, informal environment, "offering seven stars in a casual way".
Gerome will open with James Kenny leading the kitchen.
"We are proud to have James as head chef - he is exceptional and passionate," Malik said.
"For two years he worked for Gordon Ramsey in his Knightsbridge restaurant in London."
Kenny said he would take Greek cuisine and present it in a fun, contemporary way.
The menu will feature seasonal and flavoursome small and large shared plates, Kenny said.
"All the cooking is light, no heavy sauces, everything is really fresh, with citrus," he said.
A 4.2 metre charcoal wood fire grill and rotisserie would be the driving force of the kitchen, custom made in Perth to Kenny's specifications.
He said the kitchen needed to have a wood fire grill that was "big and grunty" to grill meat.
"Char-grilling means flavour is second to none every time," Kenny said.
The restaurant occupies two levels, with an upper deck and courtyard at the back.
At the entry, large glass filled doors open into the lower level, where there are velvet plush covered dining booths at one end of the extended bar.
Next to the bar is the open kitchen.