Five of the best game restaurants in Auckland

Wild pork, and game meat in general, is a treat for the adventurous omnivore.
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Wild pork, and game meat in general, is a treat for the adventurous omnivore.

Bored of the bog-standard beef, chicken, and pork protein most restaurants buttonhole you into selecting these days? Well, spice up your life with a pheasant!

Not only is game meat a leaner and often more sustainable meat to eat, if it was genuinely wild you may be doing our sensitive native flora and fauna a favour by chowing down on a pest.

1) Cazador, 854 Dominion Rd

Venison - deer meat - is lean and versatile; Cazador serve it  as both terrine and as a char-grilled steak marinated ...
Peter Meecham

Venison - deer meat - is lean and versatile; Cazador serve it as both terrine and as a char-grilled steak marinated with anchovies.

​"Hunt. Gather. Feed." That's the meaty motto of Cazador. With stag heads on wall and venison terrine on the table, it's probably the gamiest joint (serving the gamiest joints) in town.

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We recommend the five course game feast, which can include helpings of wild boar, rabbit, venison, hare, pheasant and .... mouse.

2) The Grove

One of our most delicious yet prolific pests, rabbits are underated as a protein source in New Zealand.
PETER MEECHAM/FAIRFAX NZ

One of our most delicious yet prolific pests, rabbits are underated as a protein source in New Zealand.

Fancy a ballotine of rabbit with coco beans and wheat beer? How about a terrine of game birds and hare with kohlrabi, pear chutney, and toasted brioche? The Grove is home to such mouth-watering fare.

This long, narrow restaurant is faultlessly fancy and gives a French twist to some of New Zealand's wild fauna.

3) The Wine Box

If you fancy bird meat but also want a big juicy steak, ostrich fits the bill.
SUPPLIED

If you fancy bird meat but also want a big juicy steak, ostrich fits the bill.

Further afield, way up in Albany, the game dish of choice is known as The Duo - a marriage between smoked venison with raspberry balsamic reduction and smoked ostrich slathered in creamy, hot, mustard.

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It's served at The Wine Box, a wicker-seated restaurant with a charming country vibe and the occasional jazz performance.

4) Gemmayze St

Pheasant is a pale, subtly flavoured meat that makes a fine dumpling.
Lois Moreland

Pheasant is a pale, subtly flavoured meat that makes a fine dumpling.

​Game meat is just as versatile as any other; the Lebanese bundle pheasant meat into tiny succulent dumplings, served simmered in yoghurt sauce with mint and pinenuts.

The dish - shish barak - is on offer at the atmospheric Gemmayze St. We also recommend trying their knefe dessert - a sweet cheese and filo concoction starring orange blossom and basil. While not in the slightest bit gamey, knefe is a Levantine delicacy seldom seen in Auckland.

5) Buffalo Grill and Bar

Kangaroo loin is, at the very least, novel. Buffalo sear it up and serve it with blue cheese and salsa.
VICKY HUGHSON

Kangaroo loin is, at the very least, novel. Buffalo sear it up and serve it with blue cheese and salsa.

Ostrich and rabbits and deer, oh my! They've got Kangaroo, too. Buffalo, not so much, but the good folk at Buffalo Bar and Grill are no strangers to the meat less trodden. 

For this popular restaurant on the water with a very long list of alcoholic beverages, bookings are mandatory.

 

 - Stuff

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