WHERE: 5 Clark St, New Lynn. Ph (09) 826-3654
OUR MEAL: $119.40 for a shared entree, two mains, two glasses of wine, two beers and a hot chocolate.
WINE LIST: Chosen from a short list of Australian and New Zealand regulars, with few surprises.
VERDICT: It's a nice enough place, and the food is well presented. More care in the kitchen is required.
OUT OF 10
Wysiwyg is geek speak for "what you see is what you get". In real life, this is not always the case. Bricklane bar and restaurant is in the old Georgie Pie building in New Lynn, an apparently safe haven in a light industrial area of West Auckland.
The building has been totally renovated and it looks good, all dark grey and smart. The interior is neatly divided into a substantial bar area, reportedly well patronised by locals and known as "the Brickie". It is sufficiently far from the dining room so as not to be intrusive, and so is the outdoor smoking area.
You dine in a big warm room, with a fairly bland decor and gas fires. It's comfortable and the tables are sufficiently separated so as to make conversation possible, although at times punctuated by shrieks of laughter from a nearby bunch of diners. Drinks are briskly served, a glass of Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc for me and a Guinness for Bill.
The beer, bottled, had travelled well from Dublin, he reported. On to the menu. Pork and pistachio terrine with roast peach chutney and crostini ($17.50) sounded like a good way to begin, while we decided on mains. And it was good, although the terrine was cold and very solid and the crostini looked like the ones you buy in a packet. But they were not necessarily any the worse for that.
The chef's fish special was terakihi on a crab and crayfish mash with lime hollandaise. At $32 it seemed like a good deal. As did my eye fillet with oxtail baklava, creamed watercress, kumara rosti and cabernet jus ($34.90).
The price was right up there for a suburban restaurant, but it was eye fillet. Well, I think it was. It arrived medium rare, as ordered, but in my experience eye fillet is so tender it barely needs cutting, let alone chewing.
This was tough, probably because it still had its layer of silverskin attached, which tends to shrink during cooking, making the meat distort and become tough. But the food was plated neatly, the rosti was crisp, and the baklava had some acquaintance with the rear end of an ox. Bill's terakihi was beautifully cooked, but the mash was not made with fresh crustacea but with the processed fish product we know as surimi.
We knew this because we could see the red colouring most often associated with crabsticks. Oh, and the taste of course. Chef Steve Weston has reportedly had more than 28 years of "creating culinary delights", according to Bricklane's website. He has cooked for David Bowie and Elton John, and last year won an award for his outstanding food innovations.
A little more care with the ingredients wouldn't be too difficult for a man with this much experience, I'd have thought.