A degustation menu is a great option when everything appeals and you can’t make up your mind about what to order. It’s a tasting menu which allows you to try a little bit of everything and share the meal with your dining companions.
The concept of degustation originated in France and has been practised for at least a century. Its main purpose is to provid diners a taste of the whole range of a chef's signature dishes at a single sitting
The degustation option has become extremely popular in the past few years. We’ve got together a list of some of the best restaurants for degustation to help you decide where to go.
Cru at Sale Street chef Nick Honeyman has created two delectable degustation menus, a five course option and a seven course option. Nick combines cutting edge molecular cooking techniques with traditional French methods and unexpected combinations of ingredients to create his distinctive menu. Cru’s current dishes include quail wrapped in Serrano ham with sherry gel and quail eggnog; wild venison with liquorice soil and roasted eggplant and charcoal puree; carrot cake inspired snapper with soy ginger oil, carrot and cumin puree and hazelnut crust. Nick and his team will customise a degustation menu for your table.
The much awarded Meredith’s Restaurant offers up plate after plate of “food art” that captivates and delights with its clever flavours and elegant presentation. Chef/owner Michael Meredith uses quality local produce such as Akaroa salmon, paua and green-lipped mussel to create truly exquisite meals. Meredith’s offers six and eight course tasting menus with an optional wine match on Tuesday and Thursday nights and for Friday lunch. On Saturday nights the menu is a nine course degustation dinner with an optional wine match.
The French Café is well known for its unique New Zealand take on classical French cooking. Their degustation menus change frequently and showcase local seafood and produce in interesting and innovative ways. Sample dishes include line caught fish with cauliflower, scallops and nasturtium; crayfish cannelloni and quail ravioli with chestnut puree. Optional wine matches are also available.
Other Auckland Venues:
Auckland icon Vinnies offers an eight course menu with New Zealand fish and game as the centrepiece ($120 per person or $195 with wine match).
dine by Peter Gordon
dine's fantastic degustation menu showcases Peter Gordon's unique blend of Asian, Pacific and New Zealand influences to perfection. ($115 per person or $185 with wine match).
Cocoro’s $85 dinner degustation menu gives you a great snapshot of its innovative modern Japanese menu with creations like Teriyaki Canterbury quail and Tsukune free range chicken brochette with Japanese ratatouille (full wine and sake pairing at $65 and half pairing at $45).
The five course degustation menu at five-time Metro Top 50 nominee Number Five is just superb. It is an inspired blend of classical French cooking and high quality New Zealand produce.
The ever popular Matterhorn has come up with a degustation menu with a difference. The chef offers a matching cocktail for each course in addition to the more conventional wine match. “The Deg” as it is known is available every night from 5:30pm. It features kingfish cured in gin botanicals, crab and poached terakihi terrine and market fish with Cloudy Bay surf clams, mussels, rouille and bouillabaisse consommé, among other items. There is also a vegetarian version of The Deg.
$130 per person ($195 with cocktail or wine match)
Enjoy fine dining with stunning harbour views at the popular Whitehouse Restaurant. Choose from two fantastic degustation menus, each with the option of matching wines. These delectable dinner menus include such mouth watering creations as crab ravioli with paw paw salsa and roasted peanut salad, seared scallops with red pepper harissa and, for dessert, chocolate cannelloni.
St Germain brings the tastes of the Paris bistro to Christchurch. If you’re a newcomer to French cuisine or simply can’t decide what to order, try one of St. Germain’s fantastic degustation menus. The five and eight course “Surprise Menus” are something of a lucky dip, all you have do is choose a number and wait and see what arrives at your table! The six course “French Way” menu takes you on a gastronomic tour with dishes from different regions, such as the classic escargots, cassoulet and crepe suzette. Each of these menus have the option of a wine match.
Editorial by Nicholas Chidley
26 July 2012