Contrary to what Instagram would have you believe, you don't actually have to be in Europe to indulge in the tastes of Italy or the delicacies of Greece. Taking cues from the world's best dining precincts, and fortunately in a location significantly closer, is Grace.
Convenience isn't Grace's only strong suit. Tucked behind neighbouring establishments, Grace resides in Auckland's latest laneway-styled destination: Queen's Rise. Sourcing inspiration from every corner of the globe, Grace presents a menu of worldly cuisine and succeeds in taking our tastebuds on a culinary tour like nothing else on offer in the city.
Waving in working folk, Grace is proving itself proficient in the art of international flavours. Grace's Turkish eggs journey along the cobbled streets of Turkey, whilst the soba noodle and kingfish tataki welcome us to the nightlife in Japan.
Here, the dishes take centre stage: they speak for themselves with little distraction. Expect an interior coloured by earthy beiges and luscious greens, complemented by an impressive foliage display. Occupying the main area is a polished granite bar which plays host to what they're calling a "theatre kitchen".
Patrons are encouraged to perch on a bar stool in observation, as the mixologist makes magic of bespoke gin — your preference sourced from the "make it your way" section of the drinks menu. Wonder in awe as the head chef delicately constructs your tuna poke, topping the bowl with fresh seaweed, sesame and spring onion. It's a personal and intimate experience, two characteristics of which most inner city establishments tend to struggle with.
Noteworthy is the roasted lamb loin. In an effort to celebrate local produce, Grace selects New Zealand lamb and marries it with spiced, roasted cauliflower, herb yoghurt and almond puffed quinoa. We couldn't think of a better dish to warm us on a cool spring night.
With a myriad of local and international wines, each visit encourages our experimentation with something new. Worth mentioning is their 2016 Bogle California Chenin Blanc. Justifiably popular, the Chenin Blanc is a crisp and refreshing, well-balanced drop. It boasts the perfect acidity to pair well with any of the oriental dishes on the menu. Choose not one, but every holiday destination, with a seat at Grace.