SidArt may be the most aptly named restaurant in Auckland. Firstly, the head chef and creator of the whole enterprise, is named Sid. Secondly, the food that he presents to diners could be described as nothing less than art.
Although SidArt is a self-confessed fine dining experience, do not expect the stuffy, pompous vibe that connotes fine dining, because SidArt is nothing if not unconventional. Situated upstairs in Three Lamps Plaza, where one would expect to find an accounting firm, the room's low lighting and gorgeous views immediately set diners up for a one-of-a-kind night. The staff are bubbly and happy to share a laugh, and there is none of the hushed conversation that accompanies fine dining. Diners go to SidArt for a fun time and a great dining experience, so no need to leave your voice box at the door.
There is no a-la-carte menu offered at SidArt, rather a five course ($95 per head) or 10 course ($140 per head) tasting menu. The degustation menu changes weekly, with Sid offering a discounted price for his test-kitchen Tuesday ($80 per head, with optional wine tasting of a further $80 per head) where he uses diners as guinea pigs for new dishes. There is also a Friday lunch menu ($50 per head), which is slightly different from the weekly dinner degustation.
Even though you can't order your favourites, you will not be disappointed. Sid is a degustation god. Every single plate has the perfect variety of textures, colours and flavours, combined into a piece of culinary art. The dishes look so good you won't want to eat them. Until you take a bite, that is.
The kingfish tartar with mango cream and celeriac, topped with spiced peanuts was an exquisite entrée. A dish mysteriously titled “mushrooms” was just that. A stack of shitake, oyster and enoki mushrooms paired with a mushroom puree and truffle foam and topped off with puffed sago to add a little texture. The dish was so amazing it gave a new meaning to magic mushrooms. The best dish of the night though, was presented by Sid himself, who often graces diners with his presence. A French-fry on steroids described by Sid as double-fried, polenta-crumbed polenta-cake tasted like deep fried clouds and sent me straight into the food coma heaven.
The desserts are just as amazing. A chocolate banana mousse served in a miniature jar and a passionfruit parfait with a sour pineapple bite finished off the meal perfectly.
The meal will take over an hour, in classic fine dining fashion, but each dish is spaced out to a tee, to ensure that you never feel uncomfortably full or as though you are waiting on more. And if you want entertainment between dishes, then book a spot at the chef's table where you can watch the creations taking place.
SidArt is a full-on foodie paradise. The restaurant always delivers an eclectic experience with amazing food, great wine and a good vibe, and if you're lucky, you might even get to meet the degustation god, Sid, himself.