AT­MO­SPHERE:

Central Otago Mirror - - FOOD FOR THOUGHT -

The Left Bank is tucked away within the Sof­i­tel com­plex but ac­cessed ex­ter­nally near the Duke St stairs. Once you find it, walk­ing in­side is a bit of a rev­e­la­tion, with its rus­tic wooden and cast iron fit­tings, brightly coloured posters and seats. The maitre-d speaks with a thick French ac­cent and the over­rid­ing at­mo­sphere is de­light­ful and like be­ing trans­ported into an­other world - a piece of France even.

The only neg­a­tive was the lack of peo­ple. When we ar­rived shortly af­ter 12 for lunch we were the only ones there for some time.

Clas­sic Cae­sar salad ($23), though with no men­tion of an­chovies it was never go­ing to fea­ture on my radar.

In­stead I went for the creamy seafood chowder ($28). It was de­scribed as ar­riv­ing with French baguette, le­mon con­fit and herb but­ter. The menu didn’t men­tion the prawns, chunk of fish, lay­ers of shell fish and the cream... it was truly mag­nif­i­cent.

The ac­com­pa­ny­ing baguette was so fresh as to be bor­der­ing on di­vine. My only com­plaint would be that a fin­ger bowl would have been use­ful.

Niki or­dered the grilled chicken burger with brioche, pro­volone cheese, let­tuce, tomato, av­o­cado puree and chipo­tle ($20) and re­quested a side of ba­con. She had a choice of mixed greens and French fries as a side and chose the fries - which were a thicker, kiwi ver­sion. She also could have used a fin­ger bowl!

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