Viaduct Yacht Club
This classy harbourside newcomer serves seafood with a South American slant.
The packed Viaduct bar and eatery scene has welcomed a classy newcomer with the Viaduct Yacht Club. Tucked just on the edge of the strip, VYC pays homage to its harbourside location with a South American-inspired (mostly) seafood menu and a tasteful ocean-inspired bar with plenty of seaside paraphernalia (think a model boat, black and white photography and decorative oars) dotted around the place.
Starting our VYC feast, we ordered the kingfish ceviche ($21), which isn't really anything like any traditional ceviche I've had, but I'm not mad about it either. Typically in a ceviche you'd find accompaniments like toasted corn, sweet potatoes, plantain chips, some onion and so on included (it's not a very aesthetically pretty dish, but it tastes insane), but VYC's chef has stripped all that back to lemon-cooked diced kingfish cubes with pomegranate. It's a nice, sharp opener and the pomegranate seeds were a bright counterpoint to the kingfish.
For our next dish, I was coaxed by my plus one to order the $25 heirloom tomato salad, which I normally wouldn't go for because I've been scarred by too many disappointing buffalo cheeses that chew like cheap tofu. But I've gone through some growth since then and I was ready to embrace the heirloom salad once again. It's not a main to have on its own, but it works really well as a nice, fresh addition to a shared menu with its sharp green, yellow and red tomatoes, and the gorgeously soft buffalo cheese. My only critique would be that it's a bit hefty on the wallet for what is oddly described as a 'bigger' dish alongside heavyweights like the lamb rump and beef lamito [sic] steak sandwich.
What I really want to spend time writing about is the Argentinian choripan ($18), which is a deceptively simple yet gorgeous sausage in a bun, and is so much more than the sum of its parts. For one, it is damn near authentic. When I lived in Buenos Aires I used hoon down choripan almost on a daily basis along the famous Puerto Madero choripan strip (taking this opportunity to make a belated apology to my arteries), so I feel like I qualify as a bit of a chori conniseur and can spot the contenders from the pretenders. The upmarket Viaduct Yacht Club's choripan would easily slot right in amongst the Puerto Madero stalls. The L'Authentique chorizo is stunning and complex, the chimichurri has that nice vinegar bite without being overwhelming and the slightly toasted bun just elevates the chori even further. 10/10 stunning, it would pair amazingly with a cold beer.
We also had a spaghetti nero ($35) and grilled fish tacos ($18). The spaghetti nero's Cloudy Bay clams were high quality (as per anything from Cloudy Bay), but the peppery aspect of the dish hit like a freight train. The fish tacos were pretty delicious and showed some true avocado generosity (a regrettable rarity in the restaurant scene) but would've loved to see a crunchy element in there to elevate it a bit further.
Drinks-wise, I think VYC may potentially just knock all their cocktails out of the park, but I'm currently on a detox so I had to practice some self-control. Instead, I started with the 'Kelpie' mocktail ($12), a really crisp apple, lemon and ginger honey mix that could've been complemented well with gin, but I didn't really miss it either. This was followed by a 'Packham Highball' ($12), a nice, warming pear, orgeat, lime and mint number. My plus one had the 'Bosun's Call' ($16), consisting of vodka, hibiscus, rosehip, pomegranate, pineapple, lemon, whey and rooibos tea. Our bartender excitedly explained that this was one of the first prohibition-era drinks and that it included a type of spiced and reduced milk (hence the rooibos) which was invented in that era.
VYC is a nice addition to the scene, I'm grateful to them for reinstating my trust in buffalo cheese, and I'd happily come back for their choripan on a semi-regular basis (sorry in advance, arteries) as well as to do a more thorough investigation of their intriguing cocktail menu, particularly the VYC espresso martini which comes with vodka, buttered cognac, coffee and Oreo crumb.
52 Tyler Street, Britomart