Restaurant review: The French Café, Auckland
Winner: Negociants New Zealand Best Wine Experience
Cuisine rating: 18.5/20 (three chef's hats)
Outstanding, benchmark service consistently underpins any dining experience at The French Café, from a warm, gracious welcome through to the smooth delivery of your coat and umbrella as you leave. Pass through the understated street frontage and you enter a calming world of clean lines, modern forms and great artwork. Clearly chef-owner Simon Wright's dishes are the star of the show here, with the dining areas providing a stylish stage. And what food. A shallow bowl of Akaroa salmon, crayfish, wakame butter and dehydrated brassica leaves is brought to life at the table with hot dashi stock poured over it, while an autumnal "risotto" of lentils and root vegetables is imbued with flavour thanks to a porcini broth. The storied wine list is enormous and staff can flawlessly discuss the dishes and wines at any level you want to dial in. Dining here is always an exquisite, special and very memorable experience.