On the menu:

Latitude 37 Restaurant and Bar is a contemporary eatery that has a wide ranging menu, catering to every taste. Whether you're after sliders and fries, sharing plates, seafood, salads or a more substantial main such as gnocchi, pork belly, salmon or steak to name a few options, Latitude has it all. There is also local fish in a Monteiths beer batter, fries and garden salad if you're feeling traditional and for dessert, you'll be able to choose an individual item or if you struggle to make your mind up you can indulge in a selection of the chef's favourites and share with your fellow diners. The tapas and small plates ranged in price between $8-$19.50 while the dinner plates, offered from 5.30pm till late, cost between $26-$42 and sharing platters for between two to four people will cost $46. There are also plenty of gluten free, dairy-free and vegetarian options available.

The buzz:
We were booked in on a Friday evening and the place was packed by the time we left. The bar area, at the front of the restaurant, was buzzing with people enjoying after work drinks and happy hour and the dining area started filling up from about 6.30pm with clientele which ranged from families, couples of all ages, to larger groups of friends.
Latitude 37 Restaurant and Bar is located in the heart of downtown Mount Maunganui offering a relaxed but sophisticated vibe, outdoor tables under flaming torches and an indoor area that boasts open fires as well as timber and stone decor, which is the ideal setting for the cooler months.

I'll have:
To start with we had the scallops - the best tasting and best cooked scallops I have ever had ($19) and the Panko Calamari served with garlic aioli ($16.50). Both dishes were full of flavour, cooked to perfection, sizeable and excellent value for money.
For the main, I had the Otago High Country Venison, as recommended by the owner, which was served with chai spiced pumpkin, vanilla parsnip puree, fondant baby beets, blackberry and plum reduction, gingernut crumb and a port wine demi glaze - and it tasted just as good as it sounded, and looked.
To finish off the night I had the Chocolate Terrine - a decadent dark chocolate dessert served with coconut white chocolate mousse, cacao and hazelnut dentelle and rice ice cream. It may sound a little indulgent but the combinations of the mousse and icecream countered the richness of the chocolate, resulting in a lighter and enjoyable treat.

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They had:
As reccommended by the owner, the main was the NZ Lamb Rack. This was roasted lamb cutlets, smoked poblanochimichurri, harissa spiced baby carrots, brulee baby onion and cotija with a carrot and Manuka honey puree. So many flavours taken in by a very happy diner. After raving about the meal, I couldn't not have a taste myself.
For dessert, it was the Berry Apple Crumble that took their fancy. It was stewed spiced berry and apple compote, creme anglaise, coconut vanilla icecream with a pecan and macadamia crumb. Again, this was a winner. They loved how it wasn't your traditional crumble, which made it more enjoyable and easier to eat.

To drink:

As reccomended by the owner, we ordered a Plum Margarita and a Coconut Espresso Martini - both were divine and tasted just as amazing as they looked. The margarita had the perfect amount of salt on the rim of the glass that worked perfectly with the sweetness of the plum flavours. It's a perfect choice for someone who enjoys a sweet cocktail but not too sweet that it can't be enjoyed by anyone else. Who doesn't love an espresso martini? The flavour and crunch offered by the coconut gave this classic favourite extra appeal.

The staff:
Friendly and attentive while also allowing space. Our waiter, Jordan, was happy to make reccommendations when asked and assuring us of the choices we made without him were good ones. He was knowledgeable and polite and genuinely seemed to enjoy his job, which is exactly what you want in a waiter. Overall, service was fast with the perfect amount of time given between each meal.

The verdict:
Latitude 37 Restaurant and Bar is a spot that is equal amounts perfect to enjoy after-work drinks, network with industry colleagues, book for date night and have a night out with friends. Presentation of not just the meals but the drinks as well are quality and everything is as tasty as it it presented. Whether it's cocktails and drinks, snacks, meals or all of the above that you're after, Latitude has plenty to offer - and I'm looking forward to returning there in the near future.