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8° & RAINY ON SUNDAY 21 JULY IN AUCKLAND
By Stephen Heard
June 09, 2015
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Le Chef

Seasonal European fare for the central city suits.
By Stephen Heard
June 09, 2015
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Baker Edouard Le Goff came to New Zealand with the idea of starting a French patisserie outside of his homeland. After settling in Auckland, he launched Le Rendez-Vous inside the historic Empire Tavern on Nelson Street - selling coffee, warm pastries and baguettes made out of the shared kitchen during the early hours of the day. Fast forward one year and the business has now expanded into a full blown cafe/restaurant on the opposite side of the multi-room building.

Dubbed Le Chef, the establishment takes its name from the open kitchen, which paves way to an immediate connection between the diner and chef. While it gives you the opportunity to watch your meal being cooked in full view, it also allows role reversal, putting the diner under the chef’s looming gaze upon every forkful. In front of the kitchen, the space is a cute DIY, with French wine crates turned into wall decal and light shades, and picnic benches so well crafted they could be sold at your local furniture store; and for some reason there are trouser suspenders hung up on the wall.

The menu is European with a French flair, and as their tagline ("Le Chef, a fresh seasonal european & french cuisine with a menu renewed every month.
Let yourself be surprised!") asserts, they utilise seasonal ingredients. Scheduled to change every month, the menu in this instance featured: risotto of the day (spinach and mushroom), a Lebanese fattoush salad, hazelnut and chocolate granola, and several variations of eggs on toast. The omelette - available with either cheese and mushrooms or feta, spinach and tomatoes - was incredibly light and fluffy, though left one yearning for the salt shaker. The Bavette du Jour (flank of the day) is a perfect hearty option to keep you humming for the afternoon. It comes with dauphinois potatoes and a well-dressed side salad.

Upon recommendation from Edouard, we could’t leave without trying ‘Le dessert du pirate’, which translates as ‘the dessert of pirate’. The work of art is more likely to be found in a fine dining restaurant than any treasure bound vessel. The dessert comes out as innocent looking three chocolate spheres that when doused with chocolate sauce unveil a fresh centre of rhubarb and raspberry.

Given its inner city location, Le Chef is set to become an everyday destination for office workers those looking to splash out on something more than the sandwich and coffee combo. If you have the patience to find a park, it will be worth the trip in as well.

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