Phone: 09 309 9866
Rating out of 10: Food: 8, Service: 8, Value: 7, Ambience: 8
Euro has long been one of Auckland's more prestigious eating venues and we were curious to see how its latest manifestation would fit into the niche. Simon Gault has departed but the new executive chef, Gareth Stewart, also has the television personality allure, being a judge on My Kitchen Rules.
His style is thoroughly contemporary, stressing, as everyone does these days, freshness, local sourcing and seasonality, but the approach and presentation reveal a classic timeless touch. You could bring the most conservative of your country cousins here without their being uncomfortable while your trendy friends, if you have them, are likely to find something to suit too.
The smaller dishes, described as "for the table", feature such delights as asparagus lasagnette with scampi boudin and smoked salmon caviar and wholewheat pizza with cured pork jowl, truffle, mascarpone and rocket. The mains, while imaginative, depend essentially on the mainstream with the rib-eye on the bone coming with seared broccolini and the eye fillet paired with parsnip and ox cheek.
The environment is similarly comfortable, not jarring for those accustomed to Euro in its previous life, but with a fresh feel. It certainly seems to retain its attraction and on our visit on a gloomy Sunday evening we were surrounded by a substantial turnout of customers of all persuasions from couples to family groups with that fair sprinkling of overseas visitors which the Princes Wharf location produces. Most of them seemed to be pretty happy with what they were getting and, as it turned out, so were we.
The trendier side of the menu was reflected in our choice of zephyr courgettes with a courgette flower, delivered tempura style with a slightly acidic note provided by fresh curds, all resting on a pretty array of thinly sliced vegetables and a raisin vinaigrette. My choice of the quail terrine might have come from any French cookery book with its rich chunks of meat, a deliciously sweet shallot tarte tatin and a classic brioche. I loved it.
When it came to the mains, one choice fell on the turbot, with some reservations as it came with octopus, not a favourite. But this version was braised with bacon and wine and was tender rather than chewy and went beautifully with the richness of the turbot. I went for the Hawkes Bay lamb, which came as a couple of medallions, flavoursome and melting, and a terrific little braised shoulder croquette and some sweet little orange beets, heritage as is obligatory.
We had been persuaded by our enthusiastic and efficient waitress into a couple of sides but the salad was mundane and the potatoes with whipped bone marrow were creamed to death. They weren't really necessary and neither was the order of bread - good though it was - with my terrine as it came with brioche but I couldn't fault her for trying and her wine suggestions were considered and apposite. She added to the enjoyment of the evening and certainly earned the approval of our neighbours, her fellow American countrymen.
After bolstering the mains with the side dishes, dessert was an indulgence but this is the sort of place that encourages such behaviour. We went for lighter options with the rhubarb being, as advertised, a selection of textures with little meringues and a good yoghurt sorbet. I reverted to the schoolroom with strawberries, jelly and ice cream given a spin with a delicate elderflower pannacotta.
The food had been good, the surroundings pleasing and spacious and the service efficient. Under its new direction, Euro remains a thoroughly professional and well integrated operation and it seems inevitably destined to enjoy a continuing level of success.
Our meal: $253 for two starters, two mains, three side dishes, two desserts and four glasses of wine.
Wine list: You could spend a long time on this full and varied list which, for example, has 30 different pinot noirs. The recommended 2013 Marc Bredif Vouvray from the Loire was a standout and the 2014 Te Mata Zara Viognier from the Hawkes Bay was a good start. The 2012 Domaine William Chablis went beautifully with the turbot and my 2013 St Hallett Faith Barossa Shiraz suited the lamb.
Verdict: Top end dining without being too formal, providing an experience to suit almost everybody and every occasion.