Imag­ine heaven on the sev­enth floor — or imag­ine a tent

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS - Kim Knight


On a sunny day, I imag­ine Seven is fab­u­lous. Late at night, I imag­ine Seven is fab­u­lous. At 6.30pm on an in­clement Tues­day, it was like eat­ing

in a tent.

When I say tent, I don’t mean one of those su­per-cute Lo­tus Belle things you might erect at a three-day yoga re­treat. I mean one of those green and white can­vas be­he­moths you might remember from pri­mary school camps, as­sum­ing you were born when kids had camps and not Learn­ing Ex­pe­ri­ences Out­side the Class­room.

The rooftop of the Sea­far­ers Club used to be a pri­vate mem­bers’ space. Now it’s home to Seven, which means any old critic can slide on in, past its can­vas-sailed en­trance­way. Okay, maybe it was more like eat­ing in a car­a­van than a tent.

When the club opened in 2014, this area — with its har­bour views and in­door-out­door flow — was billed as re­sort-like and “a bit more play­ful” than the lower levels. Seven’s menu main­tains that lively ethos, but the am­bi­ence is flat. Pink flu­oro light­ing and slat­ted pa­tio ta­bles say tired, not St Tropez.

Lift your spir­its with a cock­tail ($16) and ask your­self: does it get more Auck­land than a salted co­conut espresso mar­tini? “Co­conut-some­thing­some­thing-douche?” sug­gested Erica. But then she stopped talk­ing be­cause her tamarind whiskey was a sour-sweet breath­taker. The drinks are su­perbly mixed, and com­pletely mor­eish.

Our wait­per­son rec­om­mended the pop­corn shrimp ($16) and it was an ex­em­plar in its class — the ra­tio of meat to coat­ing favoured the meat, the coat­ing crunched and the basil leaves lent el­e­gance not nor­mally seen in a bat­tered bar snack.

Ac­cord­ing to the web­site, Fred Wong of Ebisu and Az­abu fame is “at the reins” here. Based on pre­vi­ously fab­u­lous ex­pe­ri­ences with his food, we were al­ways go­ing to or­der the dumplings ($18$20 a plate).

Tortellini-style pack­ages of spinach, tofu and oys­ter mush­room came with dabs of gin­ger­in­fused soy and spikes of fresh-cut gin­ger. They gleamed with good health — del­i­cate nour­ish­ment for the stom­ach and soul. The cu­cum­ber shi­itake pick­les ($8) were also very good — a sweetly lip-puck­er­ing foil to the fried shrimp. If you’re af­ter high-qual­ity drinks and snacks, Seven is up there. I’m just not con­vinced it goes the full din­ner dis­tance.

I re­ally wanted the tooth­fish cheek be­cause (a) I’ve never eaten tooth­fish be­fore and (b) I thought eat­ing it was eco-ter­ror­ism. For­est and Bird urges cau­tion, but across the Tas­man, as­sum­ing it has come from one of three mon­i­tored fish­eries, it’s listed as a “bet­ter choice”.

How did my guilt taste? Think ex­pen­sive monk­fish or cheap cray­fish. The meat was dense and sweet (and maybe didn’t need the miso glaze) and the $28 por­tion was size­able.

We’d eaten the pork belly duo ($30) be­fore it ar­rived, or­der­ing it purely on the strength of how it looked en route to an­other ta­ble. The crackle cracked and the meat melted, but prob­a­bly we should have saved some pick­les for ex­tra cut-through.

Seven does dessert, but we’d hit a sweete­nough spot, thanks, due to the lib­eral de­ploy­ment of miso-soy-hoisin.

I fin­ished with a re­fresh­ing Pe­nang punch. Across the ta­ble, an­other glass of wine — a large pour to make up for the mo­ment the wait­per­son had knocked over a glass that was still one-third full. She ran for a cloth and I didn’t un­der­stand her fran­tic haste, un­til I re­alised the wine was go­ing to start drip­ping be­tween those pic­nic ta­ble slats.

We were def­i­nitely not dressed for camp­ing.

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