Sometimes all you need in your life is to be spoilt just a little bit. Actually, sometimes all you need in your life is to be spoilt a whole damn lot. And, while it’s no secret that we here at The Urban List love our food, sometimes the overall experience is just as important. With news that one of the best restaurants in Auckland, Ostro, had recently had an overhaul of its menu, our toes curled in anticipation of trialling it.
Already a team fave, Ostro is situated in the Seafarers Building on Tyler St down at Britomart. It opened its doors with much fanfare in 2013 and has quickly established itself on the Auckland scene. Under the watchful eye of Michelin-starred chef Josh Emmett, the menu is seafood-based and has a focus on the fresh and modern.
Our visit was on a gorgeous Friday afternoon. The sun was shining as we were directed to our table that was right next to the floor-to-ceiling windows. There is an option to sit on the balcony, but alas, the day was a bit too chilly for that. The view over the sparkling Waitamata Harbour and the bustle of the port instantly transported us from the working world to holiday mode. There is a sweeping bar and an open kitchen to watch the chefs doing their thing to add to the atmosphere.
Peter, one of the head waiters, assures us that he will look after us—and he does.
What better way to kick off the weekend than with a plate of freshly shucked oysters with lemon and shallot vinegar? Add champagne, of course! The oysters were particularly salty, juicy and very, very moreish.
Ostro’s famous raw bar is filled with fresh, local catches and we also tried the kingfish crudo with 42 Below Bloody Mary sauce. It’s the first time they’ve changed up their much-loved kingfish dish since the restaurant opened and, quite simply, it was divine. The tuna tartare was also popular with the team and both dishes were light with a refreshing bite.
Each dish was expertly paired with a wine. Gone are the days where people have a glass or two of vino and want to fall asleep because it is so rich. Now, wine is all about elegance, and we try some from around the world, including Spain and Australia.
We then trialled the roast butternut squash ravioli and beetroot salad. Both were delicious but the ravioli was melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Vegetarians and vegans rejoice because you will be well looked after at Ostro!
Before we moved on to the main course (I know, you’d think we’d have been full by now), it was time for a palate cleanser—and a strawberry sorbet did exactly that.
Moving onto mains, we had the duck l’orange and Canterbury lamb rump, paired with grilled mushrooms and roasted Brussel sprouts. Ditch that memory of boiled Brussel sprouts your mum used to force down your throat—these are crunchy and filled with flavour. The tamarind-flavoured duck was delicious and the lamb was delightfully tender. An all-time favourite at Ostro is the parmesan beignets with paprika aioli, so it was only natural that we had to try these too.
To round off our epic afternoon, we made the most of the new dessert menu. We devoured the warm gooey goodness of the Turkish delight chocolate fondant, offset with cool coconut ice cream. We finally finished off the meal with cinnamon-dusted doughnuts dipped in boysenberry jam and cream.
All up, Ostro’s new menu takes all of the greats you know and love and makes them even better. One of the best restaurants in Auckland, it’s never one to remain complacent and there’s always something on the go—whether it’s high tea, a ladies’ day out, winter roasts or even a Bloody Mary trolley. Not just great food, Ostro is all about the vibe and the view—as well as the fabulous staff who treat you like a million dollars.
If you’ve never been to Ostro, then just a heads-up: the first time you visit might seem a tad intimidating as it’s not easy to find…it’s one of Auckland’s hidden gems, if you like. You’ll need to walk through coffee shop Supreme Seafarers to the lift on the left. Make your way to the second level where you’ll be greeted with timber floors and a light and spacious area—and all the fabulous food you’re now craving since reading this article!
Want to know the location, opening hours and all the deets? Find Ostro in the Directory.
Image credit: Andrew Wilson