Andres (no, I haven't dropped an apostrophe) is the new kid on the Parnell block. Situated in the premises until recently occupied by St Tropez, it is the baby of Jason Andres, formerly of Toto and Non Solo Pizza. He is joined in his venture by Vern Samu, who learned his trade at Iguacu, also now defunct. So I guess the boys are back in town.
It's a pretty small space, appearing larger by the judicious use of mirrors, especially the large one in the ceiling. The walls are adorned with bright paintings, some of which are for sale, and the napery is white linen. All very chic.
So, with such assured surroundings, we expected service to match. Sadly, it was, like the curate's egg, good only in parts.
Our drinks arrived promptly, as did the platter we chose to share so as not to prevent enjoyment of the enticing mains. The antipasto was a disappointment - the bread was insufficient although of excellent quality (more was provided on request), there was an overabundance of blue cheese, no olive oil or balsamic, and a paucity of olives.
A second beer for Bill arrived quickly, but a refill of the water glasses was slower and required a reminder. The wine was poured at table rather than at the bar, which was a nice touch.
Regrettably, the service did not improve with the presentation of our main courses.
Sally's eye fillet steak arrived in an acceptable time, as did Bill's lamb rack. The steak was perfectly cooked, medium rare, and the accompanying kumara dauphinoise and bearnaise sauce were well judged and well made.
Bill's herb-encrusted lamb was perfectly pink inside, and came with crushed potatoes and a few (very few) sauteed vegetables.
I watched as plates and bowls were delivered to other tables, with nary a sign of my fish. I urged the others to start before their meals went cold. Still no fish.
Then Jose, our delightful Italian waiter, sidled up and whispered that the fish was only a minute or two away. So it transpired, although by this time Sally and Bill had almost finished.
The hapuku, when it did arrive, was the best I have ever had in a restaurant. The large, fat fillet was cooked just past translucent, which rendered it moist and flavoursome, and it was not overshadowed by the lemon caper sauce. The grilled vegetables were tasty but arranged in a somewhat haphazard way, which detracted from the presentation.
A very good kahlua and ginger brulee with mixed berries rounded off a meal of variable quality.
Because of the delay in service, the cost of one glass of wine was deducted from the bill.
At the time of visiting, Andres had only been open a month or so. It is clear that Andres and Samu are keen to make a go of their new venture, and with the appropriate tweaking of the service issues, I feel sure they will.
Rating out of 10
Our meal: $223 for a shared platter, three mains, one dessert, two beers, two glasses of wine and two glasses of calvados.
Wine list: Brief, with one of each type by the glass. Sally enjoyed her Tohu pinot noir, and my sauvignon blanc from the same Marlborough vineyard was
Verdict: Mostly excellent food in stylish surroundings, let down by uneven, albeit friendly, service.