Not heard of Dégustation dining? Don’t worry, you’re not the only ones. We hadn’t heard of the term either before we visited The Grove.
You might have guessed from the phrase “Dégustation dining” that this restaurant is probably somewhat fancy, and you’re not wrong.
What I want you to do, is to shift your focus from the price or fanciness of the restaurant to the food and the experience from the restaurant. This is the objective and focus of MisterBitterSweet on food like in our previous post, to help you Rediscover Your Love of Food. After all, how could you resist food presented in this manner?
Situated in the heart of Auckland’s beautiful yet busy Central Business District (CBD), The Grove opened its doors in 2004. It is found on the quiet Saint Patricks Square, you might just miss it if you were just walking by the area.
If you think its going to be empty just because its not prominent situated, you’ll be quite mistaken. Despite having only a short history, The Grove has secured itself as one of Auckland’s top restaurant. It is also no stranger to recognition and awards as you can see on their website. Let us bring you through our experience at The Grove and you can decide if this is somewhere you’ll be interested in trying.
What is Dégustation dining?
Dégustation dining in short refers to the act of sampling a wide variety of food and sometimes with wine. To elaborate, its the careful and appreciate tasting of various food typically involving sampling a chef’s signature dishes in one sitting. Don’t get us wrong, it doesn’t mean you’re going to walk away on an empty stomach. Dégustation dining is usually spread across several courses with a menu that’s frequently changing with seasons and market availability.
Experience at The Grove
What do we mean by experience at a restaurant? It is the feeling you get when you walk into a restaurant, to when you sit down, till when you leave.
Front of House (FoH) Staff
Some fancy restaurants have FoH staff who seem unapproachable or intimidating when you walk in, but not at The Grove. Their FoH staff are dressed to impress but not to the point where you’ll feel out of place so long as you don’t turn up in beachwear. Simply reach out to them whenever you have questions about your food or even their restaurant.
If you’re wondering just how cool the FoH staff are, we have an unplanned example to share with you. At the end of our satisfied meal, we went up to pay, and simply left. We forgot that we had left our umbrella behind at our seat. When we walked back for our umbrella, the FoH staff was panting and told us he ran out after us when they found the umbrella left behind. Not knowing which direction we walked, he thought its a better idea to return and wait for us.
With white table cloths, leather couches and seats, The Grove’s interior space gave us a pretty chic yet cozy feeling yet with a hint of simplicity that fits right in. The design is neither over-the-top nor is it too casual. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply to give yourself a treat after a tough week, you might find the space just about suitable for your mood.
If you’re looking for a detailed look of the restaurant, check out this virtual tour of the restaurant. In case you were wondering, we did not book the entire restaurant and neither is this a sponsored post. We were just earlier than the other patrons that day.
The Grove serves modern New Zealand food with a French twist, and is categorized as European cuisine. As you can probably tell from the first picture, plating is an important part of the food at The Grove. Plating refers to the way food is presented, and unsurprisingly, food that are nicely plated is not uncommon at fancier restaurants.
Of course plating doesn’t mean putting a bunch of stuff on the plate that are irrelevant to the dish . Plating involves using the dishes’ flavors, colors, ingredients or theme to invoke your visual sense when enjoying the dish. Here’s some examples from The Grove to let you know what we’re talking about.
We went with the 4 course dégustation menu as we were told by the FoH staff that we could add more courses if we felt it wasn’t enough. All menu at the The Grove comes inclusive with a selection of snacks, house breads and petit fours.
Perhaps we were small eaters, but we were pretty satisfied by the end of the 3rd course. The final course was of course dessert, without which, no meals will be complete. We were given small popsicles while our dessert was being prepared and even those were pretty exquisitely cute. The last course involves a “performance” where the dessert chef comes to your table side and prepare your dessert directly at your table.
The Grove focuses on fusing New Zealand’s fresh and seasonal produce with a French and European twist, giving it an interesting mix of flavors in all its dishes.
You are introduced to each dish with a description of each component and its flavors by the server upon serving. Although there’s a distinct flavor to each component, the flavors flow together just right leaving you wanting more.
Though portions of the food are relatively mid-sized, they’re just nice to make sure that your taste buds are not smothered with the flavors of each dish. The dishes also don’t have particularly overpowering flavors and each dish tastes quite fresh and different from each other. So you’re almost always able to experience a new taste with each dish.
You may not be able to head to The Grove on a daily basis, but it is definitely one of those place you’d want to go for special occasions. It is not one of those restaurants you go for the view. Its one of those you go for the food and the experience.
It focuses on the uniqueness and freshness of the ingredients to give you and your taste buds a great experience. The menu is also frequently changed according to seasonal and market availability, so each visit might bring you a different taste.
We recommend making an appointment especially if you’re planning to celebrate a special occasion at The Grove to avoid disappointments.
Where is it located?
Saint Patricks Square,
+64 9 368 4129