Review: Grill Meats Beer

LAURA VINCENT
Last updated 15:50 25/05/2014
Grill Meats Beer
CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ

GRILL MEATS BEER: You could have a good time from the starters alone - venison salami, romesco dip with grilled bread and Spanish meatballs with smoked tomato sauce.

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Just moments from Logan Brown there is now Grill Meats Beer, from the same team, with food made to the same high level and attention to detail, but in a more casual, relaxed setting.

Despite my tolerance - over-reliance even - on puns, the name of the place doesn't appeal to me, but everything else is rather faultless. A breezy menu of starters and share plates, salads, plus steaks, burgers and ribs from the grill.

You could have a good time from the starters alone - venison salami, romesco dip with grilled bread, albondigas (Spanish meatballs) with smoked tomato sauce. My friend Kim and I share the popcorn monkfish and the JFC - Japanese Fried Chicken.

The popcorn fish consists of crunchily fried morsels of tender monkfish, livened up by the accompanying orange aioli, and is, one assumes entirely without judgment, inspired by KFC's popcorn chicken. Similarly the JFC is evidently modelled on the Japanese dish, karaage - and excellently so, with lusciously fried pieces of chicken and spicy sriracha mayo for dipping.

What's very cool is that GMB offers smaller versions of most dishes, which is why I felt confident about inhaling all that animal protein before even getting started on my main: A "mini me" version of GMB's chicken burger, with brined and grilled chicken thigh, bacon aioli, lettuce, onion knots and a brioche bun.

It's completely spectacular - the chicken so juicy and tender and full of rich flavour, the bhaji- style onions adding crunch and the salty, smoky tint of bacon in the aioli just plain fun. And why aren't all burgers served on brioche? Soft, sweet, a delicious component of the whole.

Kim orders GMB's Pulled Pork Banh Mi, which is a Vietnamese baguette with the delightful combination of said pulled pork, plus chicken liver parfait, lettuce, pickled carrot, cucumber, coriander, mayo and hot sauce.

You'd think it would be impossibly rich but somehow the light-textured parfait and the soft-sweet strands of slow- roasted pork create something very moreish without being too intense.

It's worth noting that if you're a vegetarian there's not a lot for you here - one of the restaurant's two "not meat" items contains salmon.

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