Despite its many affluent residents, Remuera has long lacked a truly exceptional bar to call its local. That local is finally here in the form of The Corner - an unpretentious yet elegant establishment located on the thriving main street of Remuera. It's not just for the Remers residents though, this place is worth travelling across the city for.
Hospo's in the blood of proprietor Patrick Kean, who immediately resigned from his marketing job on the day the old Villager pub (which used to occupy the space) shut its doors, to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and transform the old pub into what it is today. Over the coming months inspiration from Patrick's time spent travelling the UK and the States was brought to life by the talented team at Paul Izzard design. The result is a restaurant-bar hybrid that looks bloody phenomenal - characterised by dark mahogany booths and chairs, royal blue carpets and upholsteries and a solid wooden bar packed with premium spirits. It's smartly separated into two sections so that even when the bar's kicking off, the restaurant will still offer a family-friendly and relaxing dining experience.
If you fancy a beverage the Corner is sure to have your tipple of choice. There's lavish cocktails, an extensive cellar-quality wine collection, a range of beers and even a homemade kombucha on tap for balming your wounds on dusty Sundays. The cocktails are what really impress though - these beauties hold their own with the best in Auckland. My favourite was Kam's Corner ($20), a boozey yet delicious mix of 1800 Ginger Reposado Tequila, Bowmore 12yr whisky, agave and fresh lemon all garnished with two sugary ginger cubes. It's the creation of Kam - a cheerful English fellow behind the bar who deserves a medal for being the mastermind behind this delight.
The food menu is perhaps even more impressive - featuring simple food executed brilliantly, courtesy of Head Chef Lou Adams of ex La Cigale acclaim. To start, don't go past the trevally ceviche ($18) with avocado, radish, cucumber, chilli & coriander. It's a fresh and incredibly flavoursome dish. When it comes to the main event you've got quite a decision on your hands - there's an impeccably cooked Wakanui sirloin ($38), an amazing grilled snapper dish ($36) with pistachio butter and several other gems to choose from. However, for me the standout has to be the grilled pork belly with kim chi slaw, pickled apples, chilli, crispy shallots & cashews ($34). It looks beautiful on the plate, plus it's perfectly cooked and alive with flavour. This is a restrained menu, populated by dishes that are endearing in their simplicity, yet irresistible in their masterful execution. It's also the best gastropub food I've ever tasted.
Hats off to Patrick for creating this outstanding experience with his very first hospitality venture. His efforts have already paid off and The Corner has been humming ever since its opening day last Tuesday. It's a near faultless local haunt that will be a distinguishing feature of Remuera for years to come - one that you can expect to see on most of the 'best of Auckland' lists very soon.