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10° & PARTLY CLOUDY ON MONDAY 24 SEPTEMBER IN WELLINGTON
By Jonathan Brumley
March 12, 2018
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Two Grey Bar and Brasserie

Sophisticated fine dining without the pompousness.
By Jonathan Brumley
March 12, 2018
  shares

Two Grey Bar and Brasserie breathes relaxed sensitivity into the CBD atmosphere. Sophisticated fine dining without the pompousness, Two Grey aims to be an "inclusive" and accommodating establishment. Expect modern twists on classic dishes, a diverse menu and an evening of indulgence.

From our prime people watching spot, we were impressed with how spacious the restaurant was. Soft light created a warm atmosphere while chic black tiling contrasted the dark wooden tables and chairs. Tunes from the likes of Groove Armada helped kindle a casual vibe. Feel free to either cosy up in one of the elegant booths or perhaps watch the afternoon light fade to dark by the large windows.

Although the menu is select, coming to a decision may be a struggle. From small plates to the mains, fresh seafoods, vegetarian dishes and free-range New Zealand meats adorn the dishes. Streaks of French, Spanish and Southeast Asian flavours shine through, also.

To begin, we ordered two small plates to share: pork croquettes ($20) and courgette flowers ($18). Served as three croquettes, the pork was sensationally tender, savoury and salty. Encased in a crispy cocoon, they were paired with a creamy tarragon mayo and placed on a bed of smooth, tangy apple sauce. Next were the courgette flowers. Stuffed with ricotta and served tempura-like, they were crispy and creamy. A fresh drizzle of basil oil and pure tomato vinaigrette refreshed the palate.

Entreés soon followed. Steamed Cloudy Bay tuatuas ($24) and tempura soft shell crab ($23). The tuatuas were soft, delicate and tasted fresh caught. The garlic and herb broth was a definite highlight — creamy, rich, salty and addictive. Mop up every drop with the accompanying thick slices of bread. The crab was the ultimate marrying of crunch and juicy crab. The crab was lightly fried and served with accoutrements such as creamy avocado and shiso. Resting on a bed of greens and refreshing tomato and cucumber, there is a delicate blend of flavours.

After giving our stomachs time to settle, we moved into some serious eating territory — the mains. Canterbury lamb rump ($34) and curry roasted cauliflower ($27). The lamb cutlets were melt-in-your-mouth tender, infused with fabulous herby flavours. In addition to this, a spread of ricotta with classic peas added another dimension to the dish, as well as zingy roast tomatoes. The cauliflower was interesting and unique. Roasted gorgeously, the heavy taste of curry was moreish, as well as redolent. Pomegranate seeds provided a satisfying sharpness and fried halloumi (which was absolutely delectable) was meaty and salty. A generous drizzle of classic mint yoghurt was invigorating and tantalising.

Of course, the sweet tooth needs some loving, too. Ordering a classic vanilla crème brûlée ($15) and a dark chocolate mille-feuille, we couldn't wait to tuck in. The crème brûlée was comforting. Expertly done, the tough exterior gave way to a gooey sensation with a satisfying crunch. Unlike a lot of other crème brûlées, this one was not overpowering with vanilla (albeit being rich). Fresh fruit helped balance its decadence. The mille-feuille was phenomenal. Puff pastry layers glued together with rich spreads of dark chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

What I loved most about Two Grey is how the food, although delicious, isn't sickeningly rich. It's fresh, light and comes in great portion sizes. Also, each dish isn't dominated by one ingredient as everything had an intrinsic part to play. As a result, Two Grey provides a truly excellent experience.

Imgae: Hayley Benoit.

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