Good Food Guide - - Auckland -

18/20 There is some­thing very ex­cit­ing about the jour­ney that Clooney owner Tony Ste­wart is tak­ing with his tal­ented young Amer­i­can-ja­panese chef Ja­cob Kear in tow. The starkly dark and in­dus­trial din­ing room is still one of the most im­pres­sive in the coun­try while the drinks list, now in­clud­ing a for­mi­da­ble line-up of sake, is also a strong point of dif­fer­ence. Ser­vice, as al­ways, is well-trained and pro­fes­sional. Where things have changed is in the di­rec­tion of the menu, which, draw­ing on Kear’s Ja­panese her­itage and ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing at Noma in Copen­hagen, is pro­gres­sive bor­der­ing on avant garde. The likes of kombu-cured beef tartare with smoked oys­ter cream fea­ture along­side seem­ingly more con­ven­tional dishes like Devon large black pork belly and car­rots. But there is noth­ing sim­ple about Kear’s treat­ment of his in­gre­di­ents. Ev­ery dish is com­plex, with myr­iad tastes and tex­tures. 33 Sale St, Free­mans Bay, 09 358 1702, Din­ner 7 days; two cour­ses $90, three cour­ses $120 IN BRIEF Food that chal­lenges with its com­plex­ity in a moody, grown-up set­ting

Hokey pokey with ca­jeta & bee pollen

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