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Clooney brings you breakfast

The day after dining on a seven-course degustation at the award winning Clooney restaurant, you will want to reflect on the experience. Restaurant owner, Tony Stewart, wants to help you do that by providing breakfast treats to jog your memory. "We just thought it was a nice thing for people to think about us in the morning in their environment and to remember what a nice night they had," Tony told us. Diners will take home a string-tied box containing a couple of brioche with seasonal spreads - we sampled the buttery beauties, lashed with chia jam with pomegranate and tamarillo. "We think when people make that effort [to enjoy a seven-course degustation] it's nice for us to reciprocate."

Mumm's the word at Soul

While some declared July 1 the start of a month of sobriety, the champagne was flowing down at harbourside stalwart, Soul Bar & Bistro. This month they are giving guests 400 reasons to sip a glass of Mumm champagne. With every glass of the high-class bubbly bought, diners are gifted a card in a small red velvet bag. Some contain on-the-spot goodies like Smashbox cosmetics, Zoe and Morgan jewellery and Tony & Guy blow wave vouchers. Those who don't snap up something on the spot can enter their name to go in the second-chance draw and win the most coveted prize of all. Mounted on the mantel above the roaring fireplace sits a Chanel, black lambskin leather flap handbag that stylish Soul owner herself, Judith Tabron, just carried all the way back from a recent trip to New York. Not that we needed any more reasons to sip Champagne by the fire.

Our favourites this week:

Beef tataki at Ebisu:


We headed down to sample the afternoon delights on Ebisu's brand new Kobachi menu this week. Our favourite, the beef tataki with spring onion, fried shallot and dressed in a light wafu sauce ($7). We must also give an honourable mention to the wagyu dumplings ($7 for 2) that swam in such a divine chilli, ginger and rice wine sauce we sheepishly asked for some steamed rice to soak it all up.

Home-cooked winter warmers: Eating out is out of our favourite things to do (obviously). However we also embrace the craft of cooking up a storm at home. This week we're obsessed with Brussels sprouts (sauteed with butter and garlic and crushed walnuts added at the end.) We were also delighted with how we jazzed up our pumpkin soup with Parmesan croutons and crispy sage.

Beef pho at Bolaven: Everyone's talking about the "Grandpa's recipe" pho ($19.50) being brewed up at the new Mt Eden eatery. It might have been brunch time when we visited, but that didn't stop us from ordering this Vietnamese noodle soup. The big bowl was filled with a perfect ratio of noodles, vegetables and sirloin dancing in a delicious broth. Alongside the order came a collection of condiments including chilli, dried shallots, crushed peanuts and pickled vegetables. Pho-tastic.

- www.nzherald.co.nz