Ben Hill is a reporter for The New Zealand Herald

Ex-judge snaps at restaurant over lack of snapper

Former judge David Harvey was unhappy with the service he received at Auckland restaurant Mikano. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Former judge David Harvey was unhappy with the service he received at Auckland restaurant Mikano. Photo / Jason Oxenham

A high profile former judge has lashed out at an upmarket Auckland restaurant in an online review.

Former District Court judge David Harvey left a one-star rating on online review website Yelp after a disappointing experience at Mikano, located on the city's waterfront.

Mains at the restaurant will set diners back around $40 each and it boasts of its "stunning selection of fresh seafood, fine meats and local produce, perfectly complemented by an extensive wine list".

Harvey told the Herald "all I have to say is in the review", and that he would never eat at the restaurant again.

Mikano restaurant at Mechanics Bay where Judge Harvey ate. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Mikano restaurant at Mechanics Bay where Judge Harvey ate. Photo / Sarah Ivey

He began his recount of his evening at Mikano with compliments based on previous visits to the restaurant.

"It is the place to take overseas guests or for that special occasion - birthday, anniversary, celebration and the like. Specialising in seafood, this was the place to go."

However from there the review takes a sour turn.

"The service was appalling. I can't comment on the food because we received none and I doubt we would have had a complete meal by the end of the evening."

Harvey said he wasn't told before he ordered that he would have to wait 25 minutes for an entree and between 35 and 45 minutes for a main, a fact that is disputed by restaurant management who declined to be named.

In his review Harvey said he was annoyed that "a restaurant that specialises in seafood... didn't have any seafood" after he was told the snapper and hapuka had sold out, but a spokesman for the restaurant said other seafood options had been available.

Restaurant management told the Herald they offered Harvey's party free bread and drinks, but Harvey said they were only offered complimentary bread.

Harvey said he left the restaurant after waiting for 30 minutes and still not receiving any food.

A restaurant manager told the Herald the restaurant was particularly busy the night Harvey visited.

"He just needed to be a bit patient, we had a lot of customers."

The manager was disappointed he had lost Harvey's patronage.

The judge's harsh write-up is a rare blight on the respected eatery's record. Mikano has an average rating of 3.5 out of five on Yelp, and a 3.9 out of five rating on Zomato .

Canvas magazine reviewed Mikano in 2014, giving the food a seven out of 10 and the service the same rating.

The verdict was that Mikano used a "well-tried and trusted formula, particularly good for the larger group but appealing for the romantic couple who want to look at a great Auckland view".

"This restaurant's approach to food has a certain appropriate nature - solid and matter of fact if, perhaps, a little old-fashioned. It has succeeded in drawing customers in large numbers with this act for a decade, so it's certainly doing something right and, on our midweek evening visit, business was brisk," wrote John Gardner.

Harvey was the judge who was originally assigned to oversee the Kim Dotcom extradition case in 2012, but stepped down after making comments suggesting the United States was the "enemy".

He made the comments at NetHui during a conference discussion on copyright and trade talks with the US.

Harvey now works as the director of the New Zealand Centre for ICT Law at the University of Auckland, which studies the implications of information and communications technology within a legal context.

- NZ Herald

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