When three-year-old Hazel named her father's new eatery after her favourite animal, I wonder if she knew just how accurate her childish musings would be.
Giraffe is the Viaduct's shiny new toy brought to us by Simon Gault as he whizzes back to the forefront of Auckland's fine dining scene. Elegant, poised, filled with both character and charisma, the animal and the restaurant have much in common leading us to believe Giraffe is perfect in both name and nature.
Despite taking a prolonged hiatus it is quite clear Gault's head stayed firmly in the kitchen, conceptualising a game-changing menu. He envisioned plates with purely the best, organic Kiwi produce, because 'why stray when everything is in your backyard?' Sourced by, made by, and cooked by Kiwis, with products boasting local suppliers' quality, passion and pride.
Any sitting at Giraffe would be incomplete without trying Gault's spectacular take on kahawai butter starring fresh turmeric and a bounty of garden crudites. May we also suggest you indulge in the intensely salted, melt-in-your-mouth, beef tendon crackers? Needless to say, the duck liver pâté is a tantalising must-do as well.
Navigating your way through the rest of Giraffe's offerings is done with ease as the menu is split into sections. After the snacks it rolls into cool, hot, social feasts, limited, and sharing dishes. Order with confidence the steak tartare with its bold rainbow radish and cured, smoked yolk. Or introduce yourself to the famed Waikanae crab — a gourmet delicacy loved by top Kiwi chefs that's served with tiger prawns, crème fraiche, jalapenos and a flurry of waving bonito dancing around the plate. You know you're eating ocean-to-table when the menu notes that availability is subject to fishing weather.
With the intent of making his guests feel as comfortable as possible, the fit out is friendly, open and relaxing. Alongside Blue Breeze Inn and Cassia the thoughtfully curated interior earns Paul Izzard yet another noteworthy notch on his belt. Think timber, tile and leather with funky yellows and greys scattered throughout. It's the coveted balance of a modern eatery with a warming glow that has been so perfectly executed.
Whether it be breakfast, brunch, drinks, a date-night or a work-day refuel, this is an all-day eatery that will take the Viaduct by storm. Pop down to welcome Simon back into the game, oh, and to get your mitts on the triple-cooked truffle-salted French fries wrapped in blankets of crispy bacon.
Don't mind if I blimmin' do, Giraffe.