The dust has finally settled on the construction of the much anticipated No. 41 Shortland Street eatery Pilkingtons. Having watched it unfurl into an inner city oasis from a nearby office window, it took no time at all to find myself sitting on the terrace watching the evening go by.
The interior is stunning, no doubt about that. You should go if only just to soak in the lush surroundings. Like all the new eatery openings of late, the attention to detail at Pilkingtons is incredible - from its pristine decor, to the lighting, to the beautiful and perfectly set crockery. The menu variety was well thought out and creative with options for small or large plates depending on your appetite. The atmosphere was relaxing with the other diners having the same after work chill out vibe. Did I mention how attractive everything was?
My meal was good, although in all honesty it could have been better. With all the hype and blinding ceramic dining ware I was expecting more. The market fish prawn and octopus risotto ($34) was tasty but I have had better for a smaller price tag. The single prawn on the top was a little disappointing too. The manchego and Serrano ham croquettes ($12) were delicious however - after all how could deep fried cheesy bites not be delicious? I was recommended the Obsidian Syrah from Waiheke Island was worth every dollar of the slightly elevated $16.50 price tag. For someone who tends to sway to the beer page of the menu, I could quite happily sip on that Syrah all night. Speaking of beer, for an eatery in the middle of suit central, the beer selection was rather unimaginative. New Zealand is home to some wonderful breweries and it is a shame they could not have found themselves in the fridge here.
The staff were all very friendly and attentive but I was again a little disappointed about the gaps in their knowledge. When asked for preference they admitted they had not tried any of the large plates on offer. It is of course their first week so I imagine this will improve in weeks to come.
Having the final bill coming to $120, a better experience for less of a dent on the visa could have been found only a ten minute walk either up or down Queen Street. The pricing I imagine was heavily influenced by the high flying pay cheques of the patrons in the surrounding office buildings. When compared to their peers in the same niche (think Ortolana or Odettes) I would rate them a 7/10. When compared to the rest of the options on offer it could be stretched to a 8/10 mainly due to the perfect execution of the surroundings.