20° & CLOUDY ON THURSDAY 30 MARCH IN AUCKLAND
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Doug, Barry, Pete and Phil: one of these is not like the others.

Like Doug, Barry or Pete, Phil is quite the unassuming name. Therefore when I say I recently visited Phil’s (the new Kingsland eatery) and it was bloody brilliant, I’ve probably raised a few eyebrows already.

With 17 years of experience working under some of the most reputable names in the business (including Anthony Demetre and Tom Aikens of Wild Honey and Michael Meredith of Meredith’s), Phil Clark has finally launched his own bistro restaurant that combines fresh local produce with classic techniques and makes it all look damn effortless.

Phil’s daily-changing menu is succinct and inventive, offering just two options for each lunch course. I should probably mention now that the menu is a set three-course affair, which may sound ostentatious for one’s humble lunchtime in Kingsland but at just $35 per person, its more than reasonable and is a great excuse to indulge in a long lunch and spend some quality time with your taste buds. It’s a rare thing to say we ordered every single dish from the menu, however that’s just what we did. Below are the details so I can revisit my culinary reverie and you can feel envious and / or become deeply inclined to visit Phil’s place as soon as humanly possible.

To begin with, we shared the Potato Veloute – a lush and creamy potato soup poured at the table and served with poached egg and toasted buckwheat – alongside the Tuna Ceviche, served wonderfully fresh with miso dressing and sesame. Moving on to mains town, the Confit Salmon was petite but perfectly complemented by caramelised cauliflower, grilled leek and crispy shallot, adding a nice texture to the dish. The real winner here though was the Crispy Chicken Breast – served with potato and parmesan gnocchi along with creamy mushrooms, it was rich and comforting marking the start of a true winter classic at Phil’s (we think so anyway).

Before I outline our desserts, I must first acknowledge our sublime waitress who – upon our ordering two of the same Chocolate McChoc dessert – insisted that we order three desserts just so we could trial the Passionfruit Meringue as well. Let’s be frank here people - when someone implores you to consume three desserts, you do not argue. Despite our initial tunnel vision, the Passionfruit Meringue was well worth the taste, deconstructed and combining a moreish array of crisp and creamy textures that offered the perfect fresh finish to our meal. That should have been the end, however, for the sake of the review we soldiered on through the Chocolate Parfait, which now holds a place forevermore in my heart. Once again playing with textures, the dish was centered around an impossibly smooth dark chocolate ganache and offset by salted caramel and crumbled hazelnuts. Bow down. It's perfection.

Dining at Phil’s feels accessible yet special; it’s a careful mix of laid-back charm and attention to detail that has us pegging Phil’s as the new sweetheart of Kingsland’s flourishing restaurant scene. Best book quickly folks – word is spreading fast.

 

Published on April 23, 2015 by Danielle Todd

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