There are certain Husk lunches that not only make us feel completely spoilt (and we feel that way a lot) but also immensely proud of the Auckland food scene (not that we've contributed to it in any way). Even thinking back to a few years ago, when Pizza Hut and Valentines were king, the foodies of our generation have certainly come a long way.
Today's restaurant is a textbook example of such a feat. Nick McCaw brought the bold personalities and flavours of Southern American fare into the Auckland food scene with Mexico, now boasting 7 branches. He collaborated with head chef, Jacopo Crosti (formerly from Cassia) to produce… this time round? Middle Eastern food in the shape of Beirut.
Beirut don't serve typical doner kebab and hummus dips though. Expect an expansive menu of spices, meat-curing methods and vegetarian dishes. Make sure your phone has enough battery, because if you're lay-people like us, you'll be googling a lot — take “Merguez with fennel, Afghani raisins, green almond tarator, Pedro Ximenez sherry and parsley” for example. We had a lot of fun learning the lingo and imagining the flavours, all the while oogling the handiwork of Nat Cheshire and the fab team at Cheshire Architects. Think dark, heavy drapery and stitched leather seats, lit up with disco-ball-like pendants and copper tableware. For a moment, we forgot we were in Fort Street, it felt so legitimately middle-eastern.
So thank you, Nick, Jacopo and the Mouthful group and all the foodies that continue to broaden our horizons and teach our palates on the intricacies of basturama and the sweetness of black garlic. We owe you.
Louise had the Fattoush and a Raspberry Shrub Mocktail. She "love, love, LOVED" the décor and layout and thought the presentation of her dish, but felt the experience was let down by slow service and undercooked beetroot. It was "a crazy juxtaposition of style and meh."
Katie had the Duck Ras El Hanout and was "Feeling a bit spoilt! I couldn't get over the fact that my plate was pink, though it complimented the plating beautifully, a subtle hint to the rosey-notes too, perhaps? Love it."
Mel had the Monkfish Kibbeh Nayeh and a Ginger & Pear mocktail. She was "a little underwhelmed by the flavours of the place" but did think "the ambience and style of the place was very cool."
Joe had the Merguez and Lemon, Lime & Bitters. He said "Impeccable presentation and original flavours. Quality."