The inner-city bakery has been transformed into a full-fledged restaurant, offering quite possibly the freshest pasta experience in New Zealand.
Stylish, spacious and oozing industrial chic — these were the first things that came to mind when entering Italian eatery Amano. The sheer scale of the place is impressive and the restaurant has been sympathetically decorated in neutral tones which gives the place warmth and stops it from feeling too sparse.
Located on Tyler Street in the Britomart complex, Amano are passionate about their produce and food. Only seasonal and local New Zealand produce is used and they also have their own bakery attached. The menu is changed daily, reflecting which ingredients are readily available and in season.
They claim to offer the freshest pasta experience in New Zealand and with this in mind we munched on the crayfish tortello, the handkerchief pasta and the spaghetti with Little Neck clams. They certainly lived up to their claim and the pasta was delicate and silky smooth.
The crayfish was extremely fresh and had been cooked perfectly so it was still delicate but still retained the meaty texture the fish is known for. The pasta was indeed fresh and is served al dente so still has a little bit of bite, the traditional Italian way. The handkerchief pasta consisted of a long sheet of handmade egg pasta and was served with smashed basil and parmesan. A simple dish but one that worked extremely well.
The spaghetti with Little Neck clams was complemented by a rich tomato sauce studded with olives for a salty kick. The clams are from Golden Bay, proof that Amano are staying true to their ethos of using local New Zealand produce.
We also sampled the stracciatella bread and the Wagyu rump carpaccio with parmesan and cured egg yolk. The Wagyu was of the highest quality and melted in the mouth and the stracciatella bread was a very generous portion indeed. It consisted of torn mozzarella encased inside thin olive oil bread. Come with an appetite if you're going to tackle this by yourself — otherwise we recommend sharing this with a friend.
With floor to ceiling windows overlooking the port area, the view alone is worth coming to Amano for. However you'll want to stay for the food, it really is exceptional.