As far as we’re concerned: Simon Gault can do no wrong. He’s graced our TV screens on MasterChef, his homewares fill our kitchens and he takes our home cooked meals from zero to hero with his flavoursome spice blends.
However, it’s been awhile since Simon took to the kitchen for our eating pleasure—and we’ve missed the guy! Cry no more, Auckland. Simon’s back and better than ever with the opening of his snazzy new restaurant: Giraffe.
Named by his three-year-old daughter (awh!), the restaurant is—of course—incredible. Located in the heart of The Viaduct, the all-day eatery is a relaxed, intimate space for breakfast, lunch or dinner (and everything in between).
The modern restaurant is decked out with black leather seating, marble counters, soft pendant lights and a decent dose of light wood. The bar’s yellow tiles make us think of giraffes—we see what you did there, Simon! And, when the warmer weather returns, the space opens up to embrace its glorious waterfront view.
Perch yourself on a stool at the bar for a pre-meal bevvy. You’ll find an extensive wine and beer list as well as innovative cocktails—some of which involve liquid nitrogen. The expertly brewed coffee showcases Jack’s Coffee beans and there’s a dedicated latte starring turmeric, matcha and vanilla coconut.
Nicely hydrated, it’s time to dig into Simon Gault’s mouth-watering fare. And, trust us when we say, this is one super scrumptious menu! The ‘chefs snacks’ is the perfect place to start your culinary adventure with the likes of oysters, pigtail lettuce cups and melt-in-your-mouth mussels served with a warm buttery sauce.
Chomp into Giraffe’s unique ‘crackers’, starring succulent beef tendons that are dehydrated until crispy. The moreish morsels boast an intense crunch that quickly dissolves on the palate—it’s like tastier prawn cracker.
The mammoth dollop of smoked kahawai butter is also not to be missed. Infused with vibrant yellow turmeric and served on a stone, the tasty ‘butter’ is paired with freshly baked charcoal ciabatta. Not only does it look delightful, but it tastes equally delightful!
Move on to the ‘cool’ or ‘hot’ menus for heartier mains. The trevally crudo flies out of the kitchen—the sign of an emerging crowd-fave—with the steak tartare hot on its heels.
Start with the fish fillet wrapped in a taro leaf and baked until tender. Served with garden greens and herbs, the dish is drizzled with pickled ginger and radish dressing like no other.
If you love a perfectly cooked steak (don’t we all?), Simon’s your man. The divine eye fillet is topped with crispy pork, sherried shiitake and an oozing quail egg. With horseradish added for good measure, it’s a bold assortment of flavours but comes together like a dream.
Too often, chicken breast is underwhelming and dry—but there’s no such thing at Giraffe! As a top contender for the best chicken dish in town, the oh-so tender breast is served with carrot puree, grape, lemon and capers—what a combo!
Stick around for dessert because things get turned up a notch with Simon’s decadent chocolate fondant. Mr Gault joined forces with Hogarth Chocolates to create a rose and vanilla tea chocolate, especially for the dessert. Served piping hot from the oven, dig in and watch the molten chocolate ooze out—total #foodporn.
If you’re after something lighter, the orange almond cake has got your name written all over it. The deconstructed dish comes with lime cheesecake bites, candied pistachio, caviar olive oil (it’s a thing) and a dollop of house-made almond ice-cream.
Phwoar! What an absolute feast. Welcome back to the kitchen, Simon. We’re glad to have you (and Giraffe!) in our lives.
Image credit: Jaiden Bhaga