We are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out in Auckland, in particular the CBD. But I suppose there is one cuisine which is lacking – French. Thanks to Le Chef, that void has now been filled! At Le Chef, they are all about using fresh and seasonal produce and you can sample their delicious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
On Monday night, I dined at Le Chef, as part of Zomato’s Blogger Meetup. It was lovely being in the company of four other bloggers – Carli from The Enthusiastic Cook, Maddy from Madicatt, Genie from Bunny Eats Design, Laura from Laura Laura and a huge thank you to Chanelle from Zomato for organising the event.
We were there to sample dishes from Le Chef’s dinner menu, as well as a few preview dishes from their upcoming Friday event, La Longue Table Du Chef*. Translating to ‘The Chef’s Long Table’, 120 people will dine together at one big outdoor table, devouring three courses of French food and drinking French wine – to me that sounds like a fabulous night!
We all started with a glass of Verve du Vernay – a light French sparkling wine, while the owner, Édouard Le Goff, told us briefly about Le Chef – they opened their first restaurant on Victoria Street about a year ago, but after a space became available on Vulcan Lane, they seized the opportunity. Édouard says Vulcan Lane definitely gets more foot traffic and from my experience, the atmosphere is always buzzing, whether it is during the day or at night. They have only been open for six months, but no doubt they will continue to do well!
We were then introduced to the Head Chef, Grant Kitchen, who has had experience working in restaurants all over New Zealand and last November, he joined the Le Chef team. An amazing array of dishes subsequently followed…
– ‘Champignons a l’ail’ – Garlic mushrooms with truffle creme, pomme de terre (potato) and confit tomatoes
– ‘Saumon’ – Lightly cured salmon with caviar, edamame beans, lime and risotto puree
– ‘Tartare de boeuf’ – Beef tartare with mustard, truffle oil and charred egg yolk
– ‘Le cerf forestier’ – Venison with black forest mushrooms, crispy potato cakes, roasted carrots and… wait for it… a chocolate jus!
– ‘Boeuf nervure court’ – Beef short rib served with petit vegetables, truffled mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, perfectly cooked potatoes and a jus that could of well of been a drink!
– Last but not least, ‘Le Poulet supreme’ – Chicken filled with ratatouille, wrapped in bacon, then covered in pastry, and accompanied by a gooey Camembert croquette – ooh la la!
All the dishes were well presented and smelt heavenly, in particular the venison – my clear favourite of the night and cooked to perfection. Another great dish was the beef short rib, which fell off the bone and I loved its side accompaniments (in particular the roasted tomatoes and potatoes). The salmon was poached perfectly and despite the many elements on the plate, it came together well. I wasn’t too fussed about the steak tartare, however the chicken supreme was a surprise! Cutting through a layer of pastry, then bacon, then chicken with ratatouille reminded me of the young days playing pass the parcel – full of fun and excitement about who would get the last present. The Camembert croquette was the icing on the cake – gooey, cheesy goodness.
We then devoured two of their desserts. First up was the classic French dessert of Crème Brûlée, which was set perfectly. It was not too sweet, but still satisfying nonetheless. But the best part was when Édouard torched the caramel topping at our table! With a side of candied orange and fruity biscotti, it was the perfect end to our lovely meal.
The second dessert was something I was not expecting – Panacotta. Although it is not a typical French dessert, we still all thoroughly enjoyed Le Chef’s coconut panacotta with mango sorbet. I loved the idea of serving the panacotta in small jars – it made eating fun!
*The La Longue Table Du Chef event is sadly sold out… but Édouard mentioned that if the event goes well this Friday night, then they will hold another one in two months’ time. Here’s hoping, because the food, service and atmosphere at Le Chef is très bon!
13 O’Connell Street, Upper Vulcan Lane, Auckland CBD
Open Monday to Sunday, 7am till 12am
Recommended: Garlic mushrooms, venison or beef short rib and coconut panacotta and creme brulee to finish
(the more the merrier)